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Hawkwin

National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

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Ok then, I moved original topic content into the Open Discussion forum. Please stay on topic and observe the Scout Oath and Law. Make @The Latin Scot proud! Thank you for your patience.

These 24? pages :blink:  is  the off-topic content.  IMO, with some exceptions,  this collection of off-topic discussions was frank and professional.  Thank you.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

From the BSA website:
We work to ensure every youth and adult member has the opportunity to join a local unit that aligns with his or her beliefs and with the experience he or she wants within the Scouting community. 

BSA needs to try harder if they are serious in making that statement. Our troop desires the same boy-only Scouting experience that we have always known. On the local unit level only, that is still permitted, but at every other level of Scouting, events and programs will now be co-ed (including summer camps). For national, council, and district, co-ed is now the norm. Boy-only is a fringe option for local units only. Girls are now heavily featured in all BSA promotions. Boys are being left out in the cold, and that is very sad for me.

Edited by gblotter
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10 hours ago, gblotter said:

In my mind, it boils down to the declaration “a Scout is morally straight”.

In earlier days, it was clear that BSA placed gay/trans outside the boundaries of being morally straight. Now reversed, BSA has declared gay/trans as morally straight. It’s no more complicated than that.

 

 

22 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

No, removal of a specific ban is not the same thing as an affirmative statement that something is morally straight. There are many things we don't outright ban that many faiths would believe are immoral behaviors - like premarital activities and consumption of alcohol. BSA doesn't ban either of those - but then not every faith believes such behavior is immoral. Could toss in "swear words" in that bucket too - not a banned behavior.

Morally straight is and always should have been in line with your personal faith - which is why we don't have some long code of behavior that either bans various activities or states that others are allowed.

@Hawkwin This is a thoughtful argument that deserves further consideration. I'm not saying I necessarily agree, but I need to think more about what you have said.

But if morally straight is entirely dependent on personal faith and individual interpretation, does the term mean anything at all?

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11 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I'm Catholic and did a little searching for information on my church's take on this topic.  I found a very illustrative statement at:
http://www.nccs-bsa.org/pdf/letters/NCCS.20170208.Press.Release.pdf

Here they write:
The BSA has stipulated that religious partners will continue to have the right to make decisions for their units based on their religious beliefs. Scouting’s chartered organizations have the right to uphold their own moral standards within the units they charter. The teachings of the Catholic Church are upheld! Thus this change by the BSA has no impact on the operation and program delivery of scouting program in Catholic Chartered units.

Further down:
A Catholic parish can establish a membership guideline that follows Catholic teaching.

 

I'm curious to learn what the Catholic teaching is on homosexuality?

Barry

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1 hour ago, gblotter said:

But if morally straight is entirely dependent on personal faith and individual interpretation, does the term mean anything at all?

If it changes depending on what god(s) you believe exist, does the term mean anything at all?

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2 hours ago, gblotter said:

But if morally straight is entirely dependent on personal faith and individual interpretation, does the term mean anything at all?

As it pertains to morals, there are many defining entities. Each family creates their own definition. Each school, college, and workplace creates their own. Your local community has certain mores that it loosely follows, each faith (and you might even say each individual congregation) has their own - and of course BSA has one. In most cases, there is probably significant overlap - probably to the tune of 95% or better. Things like don't lie - it isn't against the law to lie (in general) but most people likely find it immoral to do with any frequency.

In my household, we don't have swear words. There is no such thing as a "bad word." While as parents we don't use such words in front of our kids, we also don't believe in giving words inappropriate power over us and others. If one of my kids where to use a so-called swear word (not happened yet), we would discuss the idea that it may not be appropriate to use in that setting - Words are not bad, just maybe not appropriate for the setting. Other households and faiths likely feel very differently. We may have different morals on that specific topic.

I think this issue and a few others are the 5% where there may be more disagreement - and just because I may not share 100% of the same morals as someone (heck, I don't even share 100% of the same morals as my wife), doesn't mean we can't both enjoy BSA together. Again, we have far more in common (the 95% noted above) than we differ.

One of the things I was taught in church as a kid is that all sin is equal. If that is true, then all sins of the flesh are the same. My sin is not better or worse than anyone else's. That view has allowed me to not judge those that may view some sexual behaviors differently than I might. Heck, how many divorced Scouters do we have in BSA? In how many faiths is that a moral violation and a sin? We don't ban Scouters based on that sexual behavior. For those that profess to follow the Gospel, there is more than one reference against such.

 I would personally focus more on what brings us together, the 95% of things we have in common, than the 5% that might make us differ. I think BSA will be much more successful if it does the same.

 

Edited by Hawkwin
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47 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

 I would personally focus more on what brings us together, the 95% of things we have in common, than the 5% that might make us differ. I think BSA will be much more successful if it does the same.

Good post. I think a coexist bumper sticker on the bus of the BSA 30 years ago would have been great marketing. Sadly, political activism has driven passionate divisions  through the American population to the point of discarding anything that represents the other side. Hey, the Coexist bumper sticker was created to be politically divisive.

I believe the BSA membership would have been better off if National hadn't done anything the last 10 years because there are other reasons besides morality to resist gays, transexuals and girls. However, we are witnessing that without any internal resistance, traditional conservative outdoor youth organizations in North American can be changed by just a few assertive adults. I would have never thought we would go through the same experience of the Canadian Scouts. But that was silly of me, the Canadian Scouts had the largest membership in the world in 1990. If the giant of scouting could be brought to it's knees, why not the BSA.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

 I would personally focus more on what brings us together, the 95% of things we have in common, than the 5% that might make us differ. I think BSA will be much more successful if it does the same.

Many kids get sound moral teaching at home, or at a religious institution.  For them, the scout law is merely re-inforcing what they should already be learning, and applying it in practical situations.

It is for the minority of kids that don't get sound moral teaching at home or church (or synagogue or temple or school or . . .)  that even the "95% of things we have in common" that they can get through scouting is much much better than nothing.  These kids can benefit from learning "I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring . . ." (current GSUSA law) even if the scout law does not touch on sexual morality.

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I'd welcome us to focus on the 95% we have in common.  I think that would be wonderful.  

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 “No justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite skeptical about ethics, but bred to believe that ‘a gentleman does not cheat’, than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers.”   ― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

We, as scout leaders / scouters can help out with the practical training,   even if we need to leave the philosophical foundations of morality to the families and religious institutions.

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33 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I believe the BSA membership would have been better off if National hadn't done anything the last 10 years because there are other reasons besides morality to resist gays, transexuals and girls. However, we are witnessing that without any internal resistance, traditional conservative outdoor youth organizations in North American can be changed by just a few assertive adults.

What about the girls who want a chance to join a "traditional conservative outdoor youth organization"?   BSA, even now,  fits that definition better than other options.

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45 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I believe the BSA membership would have been better off if National hadn't done anything the last 10 years

Absolutely agree.  There were (and are) things in place to handle most if not all of the various membership issues as the local CO has the say as to who can and cannot be a member.  National BSA sort of muddied the waters, kind of like they are doing now.  With the addition of girls, and there will not be enough units or units will go COED or something in the middle.   BSA National hopes to be all things to all people but also falls back when convenient on "local unit control".

I have never seen a company, organization, or group that spends as much time and energy hoping to placate and appease those that are not even members, would likely not be members, and have no idea what the organization does.  While at the same time discounting and kind of ignoring those that are in fact members and participating.

Edited by Jameson76
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10 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

We, as scout leaders / scouters can help out with the practical training, even if we need to leave the philosophical foundations of morality to the families and religious institutions.

That was the beauty of LDS Scouting. There was no firewall with church teachings. Sunday School lessons flowed seamlessly into Scoutmaster minutes and campfire programs.

In my experience with non-LDS Scouters, any mention of Duty To God would inevitably cause awkward silence and staring at the floor - some even bristled with resentment. I was considered out of line for even raising such a personal topic. No such awkwardness existed in LDS Scouting.

A quote I mentioned elsewhere ...

“There is no religious side to the Movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.” Lord Robert Baden-Powell, November 1920

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