Jump to content
robert12

Update On Adult Leadership Standards

Recommended Posts

Everyone discriminates.  It's just that some are more selective than others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Until the BSA issues a policy statement requiring units to specifically ask about the faith of the Scouts, it's hard to know if you're violating the charter if you don't ask and they don't declare.  I know there are Scouts that make it a point to go to the Catholic services at camporees and Scouts that make it a point to go to the non-demoninational (read as Protestant) services at camporees but we also have Scouts that do neither - have no idea if it's because they don't believe in God, don't normally go to church, are neither Catholic or Protestant, or just don't feel like going.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's nice to pick and choose what policies we want to follow, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

As I've said before, we don't ask anyone about their faith, or lack thereof - and when we discuss the Scout Oath and Scout Law in these matters, we make clear that it is up to the Boys to determine what God is to them, what their duty to God is, what is meant by doing THEIR best and what how they maintain reverence.  As one of our Scoutmasters once said - we don't care if you believe God is real, if God is a rock, if God is a concept, if God doesn't exist, as long as you respect the beliefs of others on the matter.  If we ask you to tell us how you have done your duty to God, we're not asking you to define God, we're asking how you do your duty to your belief.

 

That seems to run contrary to BSA membership policies on atheists. So you don't seem to be following BSA policy as required by your charter.

 

Actually, that pretty much follows the BSA policy on belief in God. From the Guide to Advancement (Section 5.0.5.0):

The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or practice of religion. Neither does the BSA require membership in a religious organization or association for membership in the movement.

As it was explained to me by someone from National: as long as someone doesn't call themselves an Atheist, they are acceptable. It doesn't matter what they believe. It's the label that is the problem.

Edited by Rick_in_CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, that pretty much follows the BSA policy on belief in God. From the Guide to Advancement (Section 5.0.5.0):

As it was explained to me by someone from National: as long as someone doesn't call themselves an Atheist, they are acceptable. It doesn't matter what they believe. It's the label that is the problem.

 

The word God means God, not a rock. If the someone does not believe in God (big G) then they cannot fulfill their duty as a Scout. The policy is pretty clear on that. To interpret God = rock is obviously not what is meant or intended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again with the rock. That was a hypothetical used by a BSA spokesman who was apparently trying to articulate the furthest possible boundary of what might "qualify" as a belief in "God," and didn't articulate it very well. It does sound kind of ridiculous to say that a particular rock is God, and I don't know that anyone really believes that. But it begins to sound less ridiculous to say that someone believes that "God" is IN the rocks, that is, all the rocks, and all the trees, and the air, the earth (small e - and large E too, I guess), the water, etc. I'm fairly sure that there are Native American beliefs that are exactly that. And I would add that God is to be found everywhere else in the Universe as well. So can a rock be God? More accurately, it's one of the infinite manifestations of God. If that's what you believe.

 

We also need to remember that although the BSA uses the word "God", in practice any higher power(s) or supreme being(s) will qualify. There may be some exceptions, for example, "Satan." But the real issue there (in my opinion) is that if you worship "Satan", you probably believe in a philosophy that is contrary to all or part of the Scout Oath and Law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've said before, we don't ask anyone about their faith, or lack thereof - and when we discuss the Scout Oath and Scout Law in these matters, we make clear that it is up to the Boys to determine what God is to them, what their duty to God is, what is meant by doing THEIR best and what how they maintain reverence.  As one of our Scoutmasters once said - we don't care if you believe God is real, if God is a rock, if God is a concept, if God doesn't exist, as long as you respect the beliefs of others on the matter.  If we ask you to tell us how you have done your duty to God, we're not asking you to define God, we're asking how you do your duty to your belief.

While this does push the line of the BSA's policy.  It is not up to us to critique how a Scout represents their spirituality or faith.  Havey they embodied the Oath and Law in their actions.  Have they been Reverent, and they done their Duty to God as they understand it as given to them by their Spiritual Leaders (parents, Church leaders, etc.).

 

That said, it is probably wise to ensure that the Scouts undersand that when going for an Eagle BOR, those members, rightly or wrongly, may not interpret their doing their duty as boadly as you do.  The BOR may ask how you can you fulfil a duty if you do not believe there is a duty to fulfil.  That is a harder question.

 

As others have said, having some belief structure other than being an explicit Athiest, and doing something to support that belief, is usually enough to satisfy the spirit of the requirement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not bragging, just stating the position of our CO - and in exactly the way the Pastor expressed it.  The message is pretty unambiguous, and if we do end up discriminating against someone, then shame on us.

 

Refuse an adult with a felony record for violence?  You have discriminated.

 

Refuse a pedophile?  You have not only discriminated, you have done so on the basis of sexual orientation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The word God means God, not a rock. If the someone does not believe in God (big G) then they cannot fulfill their duty as a Scout. The policy is pretty clear on that. To interpret God = rock is obviously not what is meant or intended.

 

Buddhists.just knock that argument into a cocked hat.  The policy is as clear as mud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I've said before, we don't ask anyone about their faith, or lack thereof - and when we discuss the Scout Oath and Scout Law in these matters, we make clear that it is up to the Boys to determine what God is to them, what their duty to God is, what is meant by doing THEIR best and what how they maintain reverence.  As one of our Scoutmasters once said - we don't care if you believe God is real, if God is a rock, if God is a concept, if God doesn't exist, as long as you respect the beliefs of others on the matter.  If we ask you to tell us how you have done your duty to God, we're not asking you to define God, we're asking how you do your duty to your belief.

 

Ah... an Introduction to Moral Relativism.  Very nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That seems to run contrary to BSA membership policies on atheists. So you don't seem to be following BSA policy as required by your charter.

Actually, the BSA policy is that people must sign the membership application, and the membership application clearly states the excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle. The Scout Oath and Scout Law are also clearly stated there. If a person is willing to sign this application, I don't believe that we have any further obligation to inquire into their faith. And the actual statement quoted was pretty much exactly BSA policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again with the rock. That was a hypothetical used by a BSA spokesman who was apparently trying to articulate the furthest possible boundary of what might "qualify" as a belief in "God," and didn't articulate it very well. It does sound kind of ridiculous to say that a particular rock is God, and I don't know that anyone really believes that. But it begins to sound less ridiculous to say that someone believes that "God" is IN the rocks, that is, all the rocks, and all the trees, and the air, the earth (small e - and large E too, I guess), the water, etc. I'm fairly sure that there are Native American beliefs that are exactly that. And I would add that God is to be found everywhere else in the Universe as well. So can a rock be God? More accurately, it's one of the infinite manifestations of God. If that's what you believe.

 

We also need to remember that although the BSA uses the word "God", in practice any higher power(s) or supreme being(s) will qualify. There may be some exceptions, for example, "Satan." But the real issue there (in my opinion) is that if you worship "Satan", you probably believe in a philosophy that is contrary to all or part of the Scout Oath and Law.

 

BSA can explain away their use of the word God all they want. The known world describes God as this.

 

So if BSA is going to interpret known, accepted words differently to do their moral gymnastics so they don't tick off the minority interest du jour, then I guess my unit can interpret various words they way we want to too. On that basis then @@CalicoPenn *is* allowed to do what he wants within his unit.

 

This is fun. I'm going to make up all sorts of new definitions to fit my point of view. ;)

Edited by Bad Wolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BSA can explain away their use of the word God all they want. The known world describes God as this.

 

 

No, merriam-webster.com describes the word "god" as that, and it's a particularly terrible one, since "gods" simply redirects to the singular definition, which doesn't even make sense for the first definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The word God means God, not a rock. If the someone does not believe in God (big G) then they cannot fulfill their duty as a Scout. The policy is pretty clear on that. To interpret God = rock is obviously not what is meant or intended.

 

Websters defines the word God thusly:

 

1)  The supreme or ultimate reality as:

   a) the being perfect in power, wisdom and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

   b) the incorporeal divine principle ruling over all as eternal spirit : infinite mind  (Christian Science)

 

2)  a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically: one controlling a particular aspect or part of realty

 

3)  a person or thing of supreme value

 

4) a powerful ruler

 

Since a rock can be considered both and object and a thing, it can meet at least two of the definitions of the word God.

 

Now I understand if folks want to express that it's not what is meant but my sense of the word and concept of reverent in the Scout Law not only allows but requires us to respect someone's beliefs that an object like a rock is God, even if that's not our understanding of the word.  If I ever had a Scout come to me and say he worships a rock he carries around in his pocket as God, and not just as a representation of God but as a God itself, then I will respect his beliefs.  If he's sincere in this belief, I won't be the one to mock him.  If he's playing it for a goof, I won't give him the satisfaction of falling victim to his prank (and will have a nice little conversation with him about the meaning of reverent).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×