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walk in the woods

And so it begins

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"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

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Last weekend, as I spoke at the memorial service for a very influential Scouter from my teenage years, I was overcome with emotion, not just from the memories of a loved one taken at a young age. Unbeknownst to me, 3/4 of the attendees were Scouters and I was the only one wearing my uniform. I wore it because I think about my Scoutmaster and his late wife each time I put on my shirt. Underneath my shirt I wore a special t-shirt I received while working on staff of a district camporee in 1994. As I was sharing a second story with the assembled crowd, I unbuttoned my uniform shirt to show off that very same t-shirt I had received 24 years ago. You should have see the faces light up! I was immediately overcome with cries of "I have that shirt, too!" and "I can't believe that was so long ago!" I wear that shirt at least once a week and have done so since 1994; it's a wonder it's not full of holes by now!

Those Scouters had an indirect impact on my youth experience though I don't recall ever meeting them. I know they helped shape that same camporee in 1994 and trained the volunteers who mentored me throughout my youth experience in the Cataouatche District of the New Orleans Area Council. The stories we all shared last weekend illustrate the lasting impact Scouting has on so many young people. Scouting is so much more than an organization; it's a way of life.

I truly can't see the Boy Scouts of America going away. Sure, there may be some changes along the way, but I doubt we'll see the BSA fold. Scouting is woven into the fabric of so many lives.

Edited by LeCastor
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Gimme a break!  All this PC stuff is getting to be too much. We are all being told to focus on the hot news byte of the week, atheism, Christmas songs & tv specials....

whatever. Let the atheists and jehovah witnesses join - but remember part of being reverent is being tolerant and not judging how and what others believe. And that goes for ALL  - that means NO religion/lack of religion bashing as it would be unkind and discourteous. 

Betwteen this and the WSJ article and fallout, no communication has come from our council other than a regurgitation of CSE’s message. It’s been a rough week answering parent questions about the news. 

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First of all, I think it strange and perhaps somewhat insensitive to group atheists and Jehovah's Witness together; they are as utterly different in their beliefs (or lack thereof) as any two groups can be. Secondly, Duty to God is an integral, inherent part of Scouting - if you remove that element of its composition, in my book, it will cease to be Scouting, regardless of what organization (even the BSA if it comes to that) may claim to be running it. The Scouting program and its methods, as created by Baden-Powell and build up by the likes of Seton, Beard and Hillcourt, is a religious program, yet at the same time absolutely non-denominational. That's one of the wonders of its foundation, and it has worked beautifully for generations. But remove that central core of duty to God, and ... well, in my book, it's no longer Scouting, and it's no longer going to work. That's not being judgemental - that's integrity. But upholding a standard of membership is not discourteous. If you are looking for a totally non-religious organization to take you camping and teach you life-skills, Scouting isn't for you - but there are many other good and supportive organizations who can help. Look for one that already suits you rather than change the one that suits somebody else.

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The global progressive agenda is anti-god, so taking god out of the program is inevitable. Some of us have been warning that god will be removed from the program since homosexual behavior was allowed as normal in the program. You can’t accept immoral behavior as normal with god standing over the principles of the program, so the liberal culture removes god to give man authority over the principles. Changes to the Oath and Law are close. Once that happens, unit leaders values will dictate moral and ethical behavior. Morality will depend on the strongest outspoken adult. Scouts will not be allowed to use their personal principles to balance the leaders judgment. Morality will be dictated by the guy with the biggest stick.

Barry

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12 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

First of all, I think it strange and perhaps somewhat insensitive to group atheists and Jehovah's Witness together; they are as utterly different in their beliefs (or lack thereof) as any two groups can be. Secondly, Duty to God is an integral, inherent part of Scouting - if you remove that element of its composition, in my book, it will cease to be Scouting, regardless of what organization (even the BSA if it comes to that) may claim to be running it. The Scouting program and its methods, as created by Baden-Powell and build up by the likes of Seton, Beard and Hillcourt, is a religious program, yet at the same time absolutely non-denominational. That's one of the wonders of its foundation, and it has worked beautifully for generations. But remove that central core of duty to God, and ... well, in my book, it's no longer Scouting, and it's no longer going to work. That's not being judgemental - that's integrity. But upholding a standard of membership is not discourteous. If you are looking for a totally non-religious organization to take you camping and teach you life-skills, Scouting isn't for you - but there are many other good and supportive organizations who can help. Look for one that already suits you rather than change the one that suits somebody else.

So in your opinion, Scouts Canada, and Scouts UK isn't "real" Scouting?  Getting so tired of hearing that atheists don't have a moral compass or that religious people have some moral superiority. 

It's possible to teach morals, values and duty to fellow man without believing in god.  I'd much rather teach my son to help others because it's the right thing to do instead of being good out of fear that an invisible sky man is going to smite him. 

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Yes, belief in God is a cornerstone of Scouting. As Scouters, we have a tremendous opportunity to reflect this core principle while helping teach respect for the beliefs of others in pursuit of doing our “duty to God.”

                                 Bryan Wendell ( Scouting Magazine )

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Sorry, my internet of saying to let aethists and Jehovah witnesses join scouts wasn’t to group them as the same. I know they are vastly different in their beliiefs. Just put them in the same sentance because they are both groups of people that don’t usually have their children join Scouting one because of the Duty to God and the other (as told to me by a JW - it’s the pledge of  allegiance more than anything) which honestly I thought was odd since that persons husband was also a member of that church and active career military at the time. But what ever career they chose thats Their business  

 

there are lots of very good people that are atheists and agnostics but it might be difficult for a youngster to understand what duty to god means if they don’t believe in a higher power  especially at the very young cub age  

 

 

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It is the responsibility of parents to give their progeny something to either accept or reject.  The parents have very little control over that decision.

I have known folks who grew up in purely atheistic/agnostic homes and became devout (something). I have known folks that were brought up in loyal, definitely (faith) and now espouse a godless world. 

I suggest one look to the wonder of the human eye, and convince themselves that it was created totally by an accident.  Evolution directed by a "designer"?   Unthinkable.

 

If one's "duty to God"  includes not believing in him/her, I can accept that as a definition.  It does leave everything up to the individual, and we can see where that has led to on occasion. A reliance on ""Something Greater Than Myself""  means not relying on oneself totally.  That can be a nice "out", and can lead to other possibilities.  Atheism leads to very few "other" possibilities. Are there any atheist Alcoholic Anonimous(s) ?  

I held my father's hand as he died.  All I can say is that something  left the room.   It was not just a cessation of the heartbeat. It was , to me,  experienced.  I cannot share it with you except by word. I cannot deny it or explain it away. I cannot point it out to you and say "look at this".  It happened to me . Like Paul, I have to say "come and see."  When I am in worship at Meeting, sometimes it is just quiet. Sometimes it works, sometimes it works really well and there is no denying it. Even the folks that come "for the meditative quality"  admit there is a difference at times. That difference is the quality that requires belief.

Yep, good to have a "Faith and Chaplaincy"  forum to fall back on (or into, I guess). Oh, wait....

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2 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

So in your opinion, Scouts Canada, and Scouts UK isn't "real" Scouting?  Getting so tired of hearing that atheists don't have a moral compass or that religious people have some moral superiority. 

It's possible to teach morals, values and duty to fellow man without believing in god.  I'd much rather teach my son to help others because it's the right thing to do instead of being good out of fear that an invisible sky man is going to smite him. 

Never at any point have I disagreed with you, nor with anything you say. I never said atheists don't have a moral compass. I would never believe that being religious gives one moral superiority.

You are confronting the wrong issue. 

My point was not about morality. It was not about right and wrong. It is about Scouting, and religion being a part of it. Scouting is NOT morality. It is a program designed to help build character in young people. It is a program that uses many different methods to accomplish this. Outdoor programs. Uniforms. Patrols. And yes, doing one's religious duty - implying that one must have a religion to make it work. If you choose not to believe in God, that is your choice, and nobody is in any position to judge you for that. However, Scouting is a program that incorporates and supports religious beliefs in its methods. If you don't like that, then find a program that better fits your beliefs (or lack thereof). But Scouting DOES inherently promulgate the importance of faith, and that is a core tenet of its constitution.

I don't know much about Scouts Canada, nor Scouts UK. But if they have rejected one's duty to God entirely, then no, I don't believe they are "real" Scouting, or certainly not the Scouting program that Baden-Powell was inspired to create anyway. One of the core, original purposes of Scouting was to support religious faith in young men. It gave the program power and meaning. Take it away and Scouting loses a part of its soul.

NOTE: this does NOT imply that other programs which do NOT stress religion are bad. It does NOT mean that Scouting is 'better' because it is inherently religious. It does NOT mean we claim that morals cannot be taught without faith. It does NOT mean we feel God would "smite" those who think differently. Those are your conclusions, but not our beliefs. To slap religionists in the face because you feel their ideas are misguided is EXACTLY the thing you seem to despise, so be careful. Compassion and understanding are essential to true moral uprightness, and your son will learn from your example and treatment of others as much as from your teachings.

Scouting teaches that in part through religion. You have other methods. That's wonderful, but just because you have chosen to do so without God does not give you the right to insist that Scouting do the same. It's in the program. If you don't like it, find another program and leave this one alone.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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27 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

 

I don't know much about Scouts Canada, nor Scouts UK. But if they have rejected one's duty to God entirely, then no, I don't believe they are "real" Scouting, or certainly not the Scouting program that Baden-Powell was inspired to create anyway. One of the core, original purposes of Scouting was to support religious faith in young men. It gave the program power and meaning. Take it away and Scouting loses a part of its soul.
 

I can't speak for Canada but in the UK the position is that atheists are entirely welcome. There is an atheist version of the promise but it is just one of 4 different versions which reflect different religious beliefs. You can read them all here.

That does not mean duty to God has been dropped entirely. Exploration of your own beliefs is still part of the program but they do not have to be religious.

I don't know what other groups are like but probably around 60-70% of my new scouts choose one the of the faith based version of the promise with 30-40% making the no faith version

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1 hour ago, Cambridgeskip said:

I can't speak for Canada but in the UK the position is that atheists are entirely welcome. There is an atheist version of the promise but it is just one of 4 different versions which reflect different religious beliefs. You can read them all here.

That does not mean duty to God has been dropped entirely. Exploration of your own beliefs is still part of the program but they do not have to be religious.

I don't know what other groups are like but probably around 60-70% of my new scouts choose one the of the faith based version of the promise with 30-40% making the no faith version

In your opinion, is the Scouting experience diminished for those who choose the "no faith" version?

Edited by Pale Horse

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1 minute ago, Pale Horse said:

In your opinion, is the Scouting experience diminished for those whom choose the "no faith" version?

Not at all. 

I think though it's worth expanding though.

First of all the UK is not as religious a country as the USA. The rate of religious belief has been falling steadily for many years. While at the last national census a small majority had some form of religious belief it is not out the question that it will have fallen below 50% by the time of the next one. 

Second even for those of us (which includes me) with a religious belief we have never as a nation been all that comfortable talking about religion and faith. It's the kind of thng we might only discuss with our very closest friends. It's just not what we do. Evangelists of any faith are typically viewed with suspicion.

Third we don't have the chartering system. While some groups are sponsored by churches, mosques etc typically all they do is provide somewhere to meet and possibly have someone from the church on the exec committee but they certainly don't "own" the group the same way your churches do.

Interestingly my group is not attached to a church at all. We own our own HQ. And yet we seem to have a higher rate of christians in the group then our neighbouring group who are attached to a church who in turn seem to have an above average number of muslims. I don't understand either!

So in that context religion and faith has never been a huge part of the scout program. There has always been bits and pieces of it in the program but it's never been dominant. And for all the parts of the award scheme where faith could be used they have the otion of using another element of their beliefs such as politics, morals etc. 

So over all no, they don't really miss out at all.

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