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walk in the woods

And so it begins

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42 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

That's mans failure, not god, or God.

It isn't necessarily anybody's "failure."  It's just the way things are.

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9 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

As an aside, nice to see in that article the old trope that Baden Powell would be spinning in his grave. [eye roll]

I agree.  He was a person of his time.  If he were alive today he would be a person of our time, and his opinions would not necessarily be the same.

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23 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

How do you handle the case of boys that are not U.S. citizens?    Hardly seems appropiate to compel them to pledge allegience to the U.S.  

(The scout oath in BSA is no problem since the wording is "my country".   I found @Cambridgeskip's link interesting about the alternative Scout Promise in the UK for kids who are not British subjects are don't have a duty to the Queen)

We've had a number of scouts over the years who were not US citizens.  We generally left it up to them how to handle the Pledge.  Most of them just salute and say it in rote without thought just like the rest of the scouts.  A few would salute but stay silent because that called the least attention to themselves.  A couple more just stood respectfully.

Requiring the citizen of another country to pledge allegiance to the US seems silly at best.  Requiring a scout to enunciate an oath or prayer that is actually in violation of their religion seems like a compete break with the 12th point of the Scout law.  When I attend religious services other than my own I act respectfully, but I don't recite any prayers that are in contradiction with my own beliefs, and I can't imagine that anyone would expect me to.  

Jehovah Witnesses are no less American and no less patriotic just because they refrain from taking oaths.  

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18 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I think you would find the programs those of us who emphasize religion more in these discussion are about the same as those who emphasize it less. But the discussion is about the premise of the scouting program. Religion is the bases for the foundation of Scout Law and Oath, which are the values for preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime. As long as the values reflect back to god, then the scout leader can refer and balance his judgement to the family. And the scout can balance Scoutmaster's judgment with his god. God is single point quality assurance.

Barry 

I 100% support keeping a faith component of the program.  As someone who volunteers in a less faith based Scouting area, let me share what I see. 

I cannot ever remember a Cubmaster or Scoutmaster tying the oath & law or a discussion on values back to god.  What I see around here is that the Oath & Law are emphasized as a set of guidelines or rules by which people of good character live their lives.

So, that clause in the Oath (Do my duty to God) is something you do because you are a person of good character and people of good character do their duty to god.  However, the clause (Do my duty to God)  does not then become the foundation upon which we guide Scouts on everything else in the oath in law.  For example - a Scout is Trustworthy because a person of good character is trustworthy - not because God tells us to be trustworthy.

I would add - this is why I think may in my area would be fine to allow those without a belief in God to join.  Of course we'd want to see prayers at meals continues.  Of course we'd want to see discussion of how faith in the ranks continue.  Of course we'd want to see Sunday services continue to be available.  But, if a Scout wants to develop as a person of strong character and can internally reconcile the fact that Duty to God doesn't apply to him or her - then why not?

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1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

Does that mean he is required to salute the flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance even though his religion tells him not to?

Just out of curiosity, does he wear the American Flag patch on his uniform?

Yes he has the flag on his uniform.  We have required him to stand at attention during the pledge and the rest of our Troop opening along with everyone else at the meeting.  We have not told him that he has to say the pledge or salute during the pledge. 

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27 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

As long as the values reflect back to god, then the scout leader can refer and balance his judgement to the family. And the scout can balance Scoutmaster's judgment with his god. God is single point quality assurance.

(Ok, here I go anyway.)  But who is to decide which values "reflect back to god"?  You have made clear that in the teaching of your religion, homosexuality is immoral.  And yet there are other Christians who do not believe that way.  My son's wedding was officiated by an Episcopalian priest, a woman, who is married to another woman.  The same division exists within my own religion.  There are openly gay Reform rabbis and yet most Orthodox Jews regard homosexuality as a sin.  (Predictably, the "middle" movement, Conservative Judaism, is itself deeply divided on the subject.)  And every religious person with an opinion on this subject thinks that their viewpoint is consistent with what God wants.

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5 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

We have required him to stand at attention during the pledge and the rest of our Troop opening along with everyone else at the meeting.  We have not told him that he has to say the pledge or salute during the pledge. 

Ok, good.  I am pretty sure that is what the BSA's policy is.  I also believe that BSA does not require the wearing of the flag patch by a Scout whose religious beliefs forbid it.  Maybe his relative never noticed the flag patch.  (Or maybe Jehovah's Witnesses are ok with wearing the flag patch, but I am pretty sure they aren't.)

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10 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Ok, good.  I am pretty sure that is what the BSA's policy is.  I also believe that BSA does not require the wearing of the flag patch by a Scout whose religious beliefs forbid it.  Maybe his relative never noticed the flag patch.  (Or maybe Jehovah's Witnesses are ok with wearing the flag patch, but I am pretty sure they aren't.)

Also I do know that he has completed Scout requirement 1f. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.  I do not believe he was required to stand at attention and salute while repeating the pledge.

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2 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

Also I do know that he has completed Scout requirement 1f. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.  I do not believe he was required to stand at attention and salute while repeating the pledge.

That makes sense. He was reciting words and explaining what they mean, rather than actually "taking a pledge."

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14 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

(Ok, here I go anyway.)  But who is to decide which values "reflect back to god"?  You have made clear that in the teaching of your religion, homosexuality is immoral.  And yet there are other Christians who do not believe that way.  My son's wedding was officiated by an Episcopalian priest, a woman, who is married to another woman.  The same division exists within my own religion.  There are openly gay Reform rabbis and yet most Orthodox Jews regard homosexuality as a sin.  (Predictably, the "middle" movement, Conservative Judaism, is itself deeply divided on the subject.)  And every religious person with an opinion on this subject thinks that their viewpoint is consistent with what God wants.

Shesh, not only are you going anyway, you opened it up to several discussions over the years. :laugh:

Let's start with this and see where it leads; God teaches Christians to love all, starting first with God. Just like the Scout Oath guides the scout to do his best and his duty to all, starting first with god. Maybe what is missing today with a lot of Christians is they aren't starting first with God. 

Barry

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9 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Shesh, not only are you going anyway, you opened it up to several discussions over the years. :laugh:

Let's start with this and see where it leads; God teaches Christians to love all, starting first with God. Just like the Scout Oath guides the scout to do his best and his duty to all, starting first with god. Maybe what is missing today with a lot of Christians is they aren't starting first with God. 

Barry

I'm thinking the Christian thing to do would be to encourage everyone to join (regardless of whether they believe in God or not), keep the religious requirements, and have a way for those who do not believe to complete the requirements without having to profess faith.  That way you at least expose everyone to the ideas of a life with faith and allow them to decide if they want to develop their own faith further or not. 

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41 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

So, that clause in the Oath (Do my duty to God) is something you do because you are a person of good character and people of good character do their duty to god.  However, the clause (Do my duty to God)  does not then become the foundation upon which we guide Scouts on everything else in the oath in law.  For example - a Scout is Trustworthy because a person of good character is trustworthy - not because God tells us to be trustworthy.

What I'm saying is "Religion is the bases for the foundation of Scout Law and Oath", not the foundation of the Oath and Law. The Oath and Law are character values that have to come from somewhere. If that source is the SM, then the Oath and Law change depending on the character of the Scoutmaster from day to day. But the sources is god, so it doesn't change from SM to SM or from unit to unit. God is a single source that never changes. Now you may disagree because there are several different religions with several different interpretations, but for each family, the holy god is personal and above all.

53 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I would add - this is why I think may in my area would be fine to allow those without a belief in God to join.  Of course we'd want to see prayers at meals continues.  Of course we'd want to see discussion of how faith in the ranks continue.  Of course we'd want to see Sunday services continue to be available.  But, if a Scout wants to develop as a person of strong character and can internally reconcile the fact that Duty to God doesn't apply to him or her - then why not?

And what example does a godless SM set for the scouts? The values of scouting are supported by god, so how does that make sense?

Barry

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There are quotations from Baden-Powell that suggest that was his approach as well.  He saw religion as important, but apparently did not see it as a bar to membership.

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3 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

What I'm saying is "Religion is the bases for the foundation of Scout Law and Oath", not the foundation of the Oath and Law. The Oath and Law are character values that have to come from somewhere. If that source is the SM, then the Oath and Law change depending on the character of the Scoutmaster from day to day. But the sources is god, so it doesn't change from SM to SM or from unit to unit. God is a single source that never changes. Now you may disagree because there are several different religions with several different interpretations, but for each family, the holy god is personal and above all.

And what example does a godless SM set for the scouts? The values of scouting are supported by god, so how does that make sense?

Barry

I think at some levels it comes down to questions of "good and evil" or "right and wrong".  There's probably also a societal influence about what makes someone a good member of society.  Those of us with faith would probably say that questions like this, and even the evolution of society is guided by a higher power - God to be specific.   Those of us without faith would attribute notions of "good and evil" or "right and wrong" to something else.  I'm a fairly religious person and I try to be a good person because it's the right thing to do - not because it's somehow rooted in a religious direction from God.  Without having the 10 commandments, I'd like to imagine that I'd still make the same choices I do today.

A Scoutmaster without God would be fine as long as he respected the fact that some do believe and encouraged them to do so.  It's not all the different from the way we distinguish different faiths today.  I grew up Catholic.  It would be like a Lutheran Scout looking at me and saying "he doesn't see God as I do, so how can I listen to any guidance from him?"

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