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walk in the woods

And so it begins

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

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. 

Isn't that like saying the Christian thing to do is hire an alcoholic cigarette smoking drug dealer for a baby sitter hoping the goodness of your children will rub off on him?

54 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

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?"

 

Actually, it would be like an atheist saying to a Catholic and Lutheran boy he doesn't believe there is a god.

Barry

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To the OP, this isn't a beginning. This is "here we go again."

In related news: down in FL for the week. My young relatives are having a great time in TL/USA. Their switch had nothing to do with any G's. It had to do with their various BSA SMs being unwilling to deliver on the promise of scouting. My mother-in-law seems more discouraged about this than I do. The kids are growing up strong and good. I like that.

Mrs. Q and I were very intentional about limiting our children's time around Christians. Maybe that's part of taking the "Go ye into all the world ..." directive quite literally.

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I see BSA and scouting at approaching the same cross roads the YMCA crossed.  Faith versus community.  When I was young, our local YMCA had a big cross at the entrance and crosses in meeting rooms and other significant places.  The YMCA was very very much a Christ based organization with strong ties to local churches.  Now, the crosses and ties to local churches are all but gone.  Still in the title, but the rest is mostly gone.   

Most customers of the YMCA saw the YMCA as a local organization for exercise and community.  It was created and supported by the churches for much of it's life, but the customers shifted to viewing it as a community organization and not a faith organization.  

Hospitals and school systems went through this too.  Our hospitals started as Catholic or protestant extensions to serve the community.  Now, most still have the name and often a cross, but the nuns and most of the religious aspects are gone.  

BSA is at the cross roads now.  Most customers see BSA as far more a community and civic organization.  Customers with religious values see BSA as compatible with their faith, but not a key faith building tool.  Likewise, most charter orgs view their BSA support as a part of their supporting the community.  Very few view it as a key part of faith development and even fewer have a "youth pastor" or similar running the troop.  Most view BSA as teaching outdoors, leadership, civics or just helping kids man-up.  Few really view it as a deep faith program. 

I pray BSA never loses the key tenants of "Duty to God"... , but I do believe the program should be truly open to all.   Too often we teach our scouts how to skirt the faith issue.  I think that's a poor civics lesson and a poor character trait.  I'd rather BSA have strong elements of faith; being a very visible aspect of scouting.  BUT, let's support those of no faith and teach each other how to respect each other.   

 

Edited by fred8033
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32 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Isn't that like saying the Christian thing to do is hire an alcoholic cigarette smoking drug dealer for a baby sitter hoping the goodness of your children will rub off on him?

I see the distinction.  You're thinking adults, I'm thinking youth.  If you view the BSA as a faith based organization, I can see why you wouldn't want an adult who does not believe in god to be a leader.  Makes sense.

I see youth members as being different.  I don't see a harm in having non-religious kids see people say grace or have a discussion on faith from time to time.  

35 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Actually, it would be like an atheist saying to a Catholic and Lutheran boy he doesn't believe there is a god.

I've run into enough devout people over the years who would look at someone of a different faith and say the same.  If you don't share "my faith" that you are not a believer.

I think in our area if the BSA were a strongly faith based group, there are lots of parents who would not send their children because they didn't want them to be proselytized to be someone of a different faith or even at all.  That it's only like 1% religious may actually be a good thing.  We say grace before meals - but that's about it.  

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30 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I see BSA and scouting at approaching the same cross roads the YMCA crossed.  Faith versus community.  When I was young, our local YMCA had a big cross at the entrance and crosses in meeting rooms and other significant places.  The YMCA was very very much a Christ based organization with strong ties to local churches.  Now, the crosses and ties to local churches are all but gone.  Still in the title, but the rest is mostly gone.   

Most customers of the YMCA saw the YMCA as a local organization for exercise and community.  It was created and supported by the churches for much of it's life, but the customers shifted to viewing it as a community organization and not a faith organization.  

Hospitals and school systems went through this too.  Our hospitals started as Catholic or protestant extensions to serve the community.  Now, most still have the name and often a cross, but the nuns and most of the religious aspects are gone.  

BSA is at the cross roads now.  Most customers see BSA as far more a community and civic organization.  Customers with religious values see BSA as compatible with their faith, but not a key faith building tool.  Likewise, most charter orgs view their BSA support as a part of their supporting the community.  Very few view it as a key part of faith development and even fewer have a "youth pastor" or similar running the troop.  Most view BSA as teaching outdoors, leadership, civics or just helping kids man-up.  Few really view it as a deep faith program. 

I pray BSA never loses the key tenants of "Duty to God"... , but I do believe the program should be truly open to all.   Too often we teach our scouts how to skirt the faith issue.  I think that's a poor civics lesson and a poor character trait.  I'd rather BSA have strong elements of faith; being a very visible aspect of scouting.  BUT, let's support those of no faith and teach each other how to respect each other.   

 

The main reason I am involved in the scouting program is the values taught within the scouting program which I see as falling inline with my own religious beliefs.  Within the scouting program I do not hide my religious beliefs but I also  do not push them onto anyone else that is a member of the scouting movement.   If a scout asks me about my beliefs I will share my beliefs with them, then let them make there own decision.

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4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I see the distinction.  You're thinking adults, I'm thinking youth.  If you view the BSA as a faith based organization, I can see why you wouldn't want an adult who does not believe in god to be a leader.  Makes sense.

Yes, but I wouldn't call it a faith based organization as much as a religious values organization. Probably splitting hairs. 

6 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I see youth members as being different.  I don't see a harm in having non-religious kids see people say grace or have a discussion on faith from time to time.  

Yes, we agree. In fact, I believe the same of youth who struggle with homosexuality, transgenderism, and other struggles. The issue is adults. Pragmatically, an organization should be allowed to one without the other. Realistically , that is impossible in this culture. 

 

11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I think in our area if the BSA were a strongly faith based group, there are lots of parents who would not send their children because they didn't want them to be proselytized to be someone of a different faith or even at all.  

There is extremism everywhere. We had a troop that only recruited home schooled scouts. They didn't last very long, but it's an example of adults blinded by their passion  

Barry

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3 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Yes, but I wouldn't call it a faith based organization as much as a religious values organization. Probably splitting hairs. 

Yes, we agree. In fact, I believe the same of youth who struggle with homosexuality, transgenderism, and other struggles. The issue is adults. Pragmatically, an organization should be allowed to one without the other. Realistically , that is impossible in this culture. 

 

There is extremism everywhere. We had a troop that only recruited home schooled scouts. They didn't last very long, but it's an example of adults blinded by their passion  

Barry

i think we're generally on the same page then.  I'd have no problem if a troop said we'd like our leaders to be people of faith.  

Me I'd probably go with a local option approach - allow the CO to decide if faith is required.

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2 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

i think we're generally on the same page then.  I'd have no problem if a troop said we'd like our leaders to be people of faith.  

Me I'd probably go with a local option approach - allow the CO to decide if faith is required.

I'm fine with the present application. I'd even be satisfied with NJ's sort-of religious qualifications. It's his occupation of law that comes into question. :D

Barry

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33 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

The main reason I am involved in the scouting program is the values taught within the scouting program which I see as falling inline with my own religious beliefs.  Within the scouting program I do not hide my religious beliefs but I also  do not push them onto anyone else that is a member of the scouting movement.   If a scout asks me about my beliefs I will share my beliefs with them, then let them make there own decision.

Your comments are aligned with my experience.  People want "values taught" that

are "inline with" their own faith.  It's not that scouts is a key factor in teaching faith.  It's more about scouts being compatible with their faith.  

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51 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

... There is extremism everywhere. We had a troop that only recruited home schooled scouts. They didn't last very long, but it's an example of adults blinded by their passion  ...

Wait, how is home-schooling "extremism" or being "blinded by their passion?" There are thousands of places where public schools are failing our nation's children, and home-schooling can be an extremely effective and positive alternative. I was home-schooled for many years as a kid, and I when I applied to college I was accepted at two Ivy League schools and most campuses of the University of California. Part of what made home-schooling work for my family was that I was involved in Scouting, which gave me strong connections to the community and invaluable social skills (just like I received from my religious community). So let's not knock on home-schooling as though it was some radical idea out of the fringes of society. ;)

This does, however, illustrate the point. Extremism is not only defined by how people express their beliefs, but also by how others perceive them. You can be extreme in what you believe, and you can be extreme in how you treat or talk about the beliefs of others. There are extreme believers. There are those who are extremely opposed to religion. And there are those who are extreme in other facets of their worldview. It's everywhere, and in all cases, it harms us. So, we protect ourselves and our children from this by practicing tolerance and compassion, and finding others with similar desires to help us strengthen and unite our society. Empathy is our strongest shield. Understanding is our mightiest armor.

When Baden-Powell created Scouting, he understood that those ideals can be taught in a more lasting and meaningful way through religion (just which religion was, and is, unimportant). So he crafted this program to work with, support, and encourage religious faith, in order to give his creation that foundation of belief that would in turn uphold and constitute the core ideals of Scouting. I believe that were he alive now, he would still feel that way.

Somebody earlier suggested that he was a "man of his time," and that if he were living now he would feel differently. But let's look at that ideal realistically. I am a "man of my time" - that being the present. And being younger than many of you, I chronologically am more distant from B.P. than the majority of the voices in this conversation, yet my convictions about religion in Scouting are the same as Baden-Powell's were over 100 years ago. One might say "well then, you are an anomaly amongst your generation." But so was Baden-Powell, far more so than I! Surely the unimaginably wonderful results of his creation testify of this. So this wasn't a matter of antiquated ideals or out-dated ideologies. Centering Scouting on one's duty to God was a matter of personal conviction, and I think Baden-Powell's mature and broad-minded ability to work with various religious beliefs within one harmonious program was inspired and made possible by his profound desire to help young people around the world. And as he brought together the most potent tools he could think of to create his program, he wisely included faith as a central pillar of its composition. We would do well to look back at his words and his example, and come back to ourselves as a program, with our Duty to God being the first and foremost of our responsibilities.

If you don't want your child to be religious, that is your right and privilege as a parent. So find a program that better fits your convictions. But it isn't Scouting. And in my opinion, if the Boy Scouts of America ever reached the point where it didn't require an acknowledgement of one's duty to God, it wouldn't be Scouting either. Mere sleeping in tents and pinewood derbies do not true Scouting make. 

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On ‎12‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 11:32 PM, The Latin Scot said:

 if you remove that element of its composition, in my book, it will cease to be Scouting,

I agree.  I have been tolerant of the past couple of decision, I 100% with the addition of girls but if we were to take away the religious element I believe I would hang it up for good.

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I suspect this issue won't get the same support for change as other recent ones. It certainly won't from me, and I supported the changes to allow gay scouts, transgender scouts, and girls. I know there are many in my Pack who feel the same, having supported the previous changes but not willing to budge on the faith component. 

Personally I don't see the issues as the same. I believe people can choose faith, but not gender or sexual orientation. And I include transgenderism in that, I don't think it's a choice, and sometimes what's between the ears and what's between the legs aren't aligned in the traditional sense. So I wouldn't kick a kid out for something that they can't choose to be differently. 

I also don't think the BSA religious requirements are all that much of a burden. Just believe in something bigger than yourself. That's it. Specifics don't really matter, to fulfill the requirement just believe in something. 

There is something deeply spiritual about Scouting, even without explicitly saying it. I had spiritual moments as a Boy Scout that were not part of any effort to be reverent. I remember being out at Resica Falls, sitting out in the woods alone quietly observing my surroundings (something to do with Envi Sci, not sure if that requirement is still in there), and there was a very real sense of something spiritual in that. I had found a comfortable boulder to perch on, lay back and stare up into the trees, listening to the sounds around me. It wasn't just nature. Maybe it was the combination of being in a Scouting environment, being a recent OA inductee, and being someone who believes in God, it all combined into something that felt like a lot more than just observing nature in the scientific sense. And it was an experience that obviously made a lasting impact on me. 

It was something that I think would be very different in a setting that stripped out any sense of spirituality. Not to say it couldn't happen, but I'm glad it happened the way that it did, and I'm glad that we still strive to keep spirituality in the mix. We're not just a camping club, and this is something that ensures we remain more than just a camping club. 

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12 hours ago, ValleyBoy said:

We have a Jehovah Witness that joined our troop several months ago.  His grandmother informed us that he does not say the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag since in there Church they see it as Idol worship.  She has been told that in our Troop we will salute the flag while saying  the Pledge of Allegiance,  This is one point in the scouting program that we will not change as a unit.  Also as adult leaders of the unit we have informed the unit committee that as leaders of the unit  we will hold this youth to the same requirements for advancement  as the other scouts when it comes to the subject  of the Pledge of Allegiance and any Flag ceremony that the Troop takes part in.     

Well, I think the fact that you have a Scout from the Jehovah's Witnesses is rare and wonderful.  Learn from their view of the Sacred.

As a Quaker, I reminded  my Scoutson and other  Quaker Scouts that the Scout Promise is NOT an "oath", that it does not swear BY anything (see Mathew 5:33 or John 5:12) and is therefore OK to promise to do. The so-called Pledge of Allegiance borders on idolatry (promising to be loyal to a piece of cloth?) and also (altho it is not officially so) could be considered a "loyalty Oath" which is also not in accordance with what Quakers call our Truth Testimony, as it implies a gradation of truth.  I would suggest that standing respectfully might be sufficient.  This is why we are willing to "affirm" our telling the truth in a court of law rather than "swearing to".  One's words are important. 
Valleyboy, I would urge you to suggest to your Scout Leaders to consider the "Reverent" part of their Scout Law.  There is no requirement in any rank for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, only to "know it".  see#1F  :   https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/524-012_BS_Requirements_WEB.pdf 

And may I say, I teach Flag Etiquette and History at Cub Scout Day Camp?  I do not object when others recite the poem, and I have had no one complain to me when I do not.  I have had folks ask me about it, and I sit down and explain my action. 

See you on the trail.

 

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13 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

It was evolution, no designer. It took all the time in the world.

Current science says earth is 4.51 Billion years old, and life first started about 3.8 BILLION years ago. The first fossils with eyes date from about 540 million years ago...so that's 3.3 billion years to evolve the eye...seems eminently feasible to me.

 

Friend Ian:    Yep, some developmental programs take time to get it right.   With an unlimited research budget and lots of low paid staff grad student interns, it can be done. 

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