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TAHAWK

Faith and Chaplaincy Issues

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"A National Guard facility in Pennsylvania refused to allow a Trail Life USA scouting troop to tour their facility because of the group’s religious affiliation.

The Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard facility regularly hosts tours for Boy Scout troops and other organizations, but the Trailmen were told they could not participate because they belonged to a Christian scouting organization.

. . .

The National Guard’s public affairs office did not return multiple inquiries seeking comment.

. . .

The ordeal began in February when Troop PA-2717 were initially told they could tour the facility. In April, a staff sergeant called the troop master and said the tour had been denied because of the group’s religious affiliation.

The idea that Christian boys would be banned strictly because of their religious beliefs is not only ludicrous, but it’s also illegal.

And that’s why the Trail Life troop got in touch with First Liberty Institute and the Independence Law Center, two organizations that specialize in religious liberty cases.

“Fort Indiantown Gap’s denial of access to the base facilities, which are open to other civic, fraternal, and youth organizations and for youth activities, constitutes viewpoint discrimination,” the law firms wrote in a letter to the National Guard.

The attorneys said the National Guard’s decision to ban the Christian scouting group is “discriminatory and unconstitutional.”

John Stemberger, the chairman of the Trail Life USA board, said told the "Todd Starnes Radio Show" that it’s disheartening that a “federal institution like the Army is buying into this leftist idea that faith has to be excluded from the public square.”

“It’s sad that an institution of our society is treating faith like it is some kind of bacteria or virus that needs to be exterminated from secular society,” Stemberger told me. “We need faith integrated with society.”

The good news is that once First Liberty Institute and the Independence Law Center got involved, the National Guard quickly backed down and rescinded the ban on the Trailmen.

“We are grateful that the Guard has chosen to open its doors to the Trail Life troop,” ILC attorney Jeremy Samek said in a statement. “The boys from Trail Life USA’s troop deserve to be treated fairly and equally. I know they are excited to get the opportunity to interact with those who defend our freedom.”

 
Edited by John-in-KC
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While some kind of misunderstanding happened, I am suspicious of the story's direction.  I suspect that legal threat was not necessary, but it plays into the larger "anti-Christian" persecution storyline.  Surely the decision at the base was a poor misinterpretation or possibly a personal decision without proper vetting.  JMO of course.

 

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PA National Guard Allows Scout Troop Tour After Letter From Legal Groups

/ WDAC
June 20, 2019 05:32 am

"ANNVILLE – Lebanon County’s Fort Indiantown Gap has agreed to allow a Pennsylvania-based Trail Life USA scouting troop to tour the facility after the Independence Law Center and First Liberty Institute sent a letter urging that the tour be allowed. Recently, the National Guard denied a request by the troop to tour the facility because the group is “a Christian scouting organization,” even though other scouting, civic, and youth groups have been allowed to tour and use the facilities. In a response to the letter, the Guard agreed that religious groups should be treated the same as any other civic organization. Independence Law Center Senior Counsel Jeremy Samek said they are grateful that the Guard has chosen to open its doors to the Trail Life troop.".

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Always good to see questions concerning  religious bias here in the Faith and Chaplaincy forum.   Oh, wait... 

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Good point.  If First Amendment issues belong in forum other than "Issue and Politics, I'm sure our faithful mods can and will move it.    

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9 hours ago, SSScout said:

Always good to see questions concerning  religious bias here in the Faith and Chaplaincy forum.   Oh, wait... 

Mods, please tag this topic "Faith & Chaplaincy" in deference to @SSScout.

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Mod Note

This will be an ongoing thread for faith and chaplaincy matters. We will cut it off at 25 pages, and open/pin a second thread. 

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Thank you.  I appreciate the effort and dedication you and Terri exhibit for all things Scouty 

And now, inspired by Groucho Marx,   let me say,,,,   and now, on with the forum. Let joy be unconfined, let there be  Faith in the streets,  Chaplaincy in the camps, and hiking on the trails.  Play Don.....

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22 minutes ago, SSScout said:

And now, inspired by Groucho Marx,   let me say,,,,   and now, on with the forum. Let joy be unconfined, let there be  Faith in the streets,  Chaplaincy in the camps, and hiking on the trails.  Play Don.....

All we need now is a rubber chicken. Or does the dining hall already have that in abundant supply?

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4 hours ago, David CO said:

All we need now is a rubber chicken. Or does the dining hall already have that in abundant supply?

You’re lucky I’d it’s only rubber. My last chicken dinner at camp, it was stone. 

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Rubber chicken is a great wilderness survival asset.    Stone chicken not so much.

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I don't think I had seen this thread before, or at least in my semi-active status here recently, I did not notice it enough to respond to it.  Obviously if they give tours to, specifically, BSA units, they also must give tours to Trail Life units.  Both organizations discriminate on the basis of religion:  The BSA against non-believers, and Trail Life against all non-Christians.  But it seems to me that the First Liberty Institute and Independence Law Center (neither of which I have ever heard of) are somewhat selective in their battle against discrimination on the basis of religion.  For example, I don't see them fighting against the BSA's ban on non-believers.  Of course they have the right to fight or not fight as they choose, but they should be seen for what they are.

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And BSA is selective in its "religious" discrimination, accepting some religious atheists for generations and rejecting religious "pagans" who are emphatically believers.  

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49 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Both organizations discriminate on the basis of religion:  The BSA against non-believers, and Trail Life against all non-Christians.

Not exactly true.  BSA specifically requires some sort of religious belief of all members.  Trail Life USA specfically does not require religious belief of its youth members.  They do however require the leaders to be Christian and are unapologetic about the program being faith-based.  From their Membership FAQ

Quote

All boys, ages 5 through 17, are welcome irrespective of religion, race, national origin, or socio-economic status. We welcome boys whose parents are seeking a faith-based outdoor adventure program that places an emphasis on character development, leadership, and moral purity, and who aspire to live in accordance with the values expressed in the Motto and Oath.

 

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1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

And BSA is selective in its "religious" discrimination, accepting some religious atheists for generations and rejecting religious "pagans" who are emphatically believers.  

Hehehe....I wonder how I'd respond if a scout came in and told me how he did his "Duty to God" by praising the mighty Zeus who rules from the heights of Mt Olympus...

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