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I've never run into this as a problem before. One of our international schools, run like a public, non-sectarian school, has been a Chartered Org in the past and was asked to become one again. They seem to be stuck on the Statement of Religious Principle, that if the IH and COR sign it, they are committing the school to the exclusion of atheists in a school sponsored program. I've never had a problem with a public school or an international school before. Usually they 'get' that Scouting is nonsectarian, and that the chartered org gets to decide how much if any religiosity is part of the program. 

Has anyone faced similar challenges and how were they dealt with? 

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Yes. This was an issue that my church brought up when deciding if it should sponsor a pack. Atheists often visit for extended periods, and their their kids would no doubt participate in this activity. As much as they would want folks to convert, they utterly despise the notion of bestowing membership, honors, and awards for such conversion.

This wasn't necessarily the deciding factor why they did not become a CO. But it was part of the discussion. And they take zero public funds. The school in your situation does and is rightly concerned.

The CO's decision is not to the final one in determining who should be a leader or who gets awarded Eagle. BSA has revoked membership of atheists in spite of the CO's wishes. Some of the members of this forum have been directly or indirectly affected by those decisions. On account of BSA's stance, some of them have taken part in suing public organizations for sponsoring troops.

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Yes, the BSA can deny membership to atheist and the government can deny public funds to schools as a result. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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We haven’t had that but until last February our school district didn’t allow the BSA units to use school property for meetings or events because of the single gender issue & before that it was because of the homosexual leaders and scouts membership issues so it’s just par for the course in my part of the country. All the local units gave up trying - and found other places for meetings and events. Wonder if this has changed. 
 

lucky for us the United Church of Christ (congregational) & catholic churches are pretty open to any youth organization. 

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Similar conflicts date back a couple of decades.  One of the larger ones was the long drawn out case in San Diego over the use of Balboa Park and later Fiesta Island for camps.  The ACLU took up the case and dragged on for a very long time.  The City of San Diego paid the ACLU a large sum to be removed from the suit.  But, after ten years or more the case was thrown out.  It started with just Balboa, and then had the other camp added when it was developed, with the request of the county, city and other youth groups.  The ACLU as far a I know never was asked to return the money either.  Another was the infamous Randall Twins who were cubs.  Their father claimed he was atheist and so they too were.  He was also a lawyer.  It went round and round, but they eventurally were allowed to actually go all the way through the scouting ranks.  Have to check, but I think it became a news bit years later when they reached Eagle.  The crazy thing, at least for me, in the very early stages was when a reporter asked the boys, when they were still young Cubs, how they understood natural things such as the forest, or the stars and such.  The boys responded that that was just Mother Nature.  I could not help but wonder how come nobody at the time pointed out that Mother Nature is just another Godess, which in my mind contradicted their position.  Reality is that most of these young people are still trying to reconcile their beliefs and understanding, and when they make such claims, it is a result of that searching within.  Ultimately then, they are still trying to deal with their own spirituality, or at least so I feel.  And that is what we ask, that they recognize something beyond themselves or at least see that there is that unanswered question.  I am still searching within, even though I consider myself a Christian.  We will not likely know until the time arrives; and even then, we may not encounter what we may hope or think.  Way too out there I guess.

 

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On 1/30/2020 at 2:09 PM, skeptic said:

The boys responded that that was just Mother Nature. 

Interesting.   Was it ever asked of them, what or who "Mother Nature " Is/was?   

 

Edited by MattR
videos or media not pertaining to topic not allowed

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I do not recall actually seeing or hearing  of them being so challenged, or the father, who, let's face it, was the instigator.  That was a long time ago now, which is a comment in itself.  

 

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We had several atheist parents in our troop. One was an Eagle Scout and only one parent was atheist in each family. When we pointed out the religious requirements for Eagle the parents said the choice was up to their son.

Barry

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I continue to believe that that atheism, or Atheism, is not possible.  It is defined as the disbelief or denial of God or a higher power.  But that is contradictory, as you cannot deny or disbelive in something that does not exist.  So, I suggest that they are  of course agnostics, those that have yet to figure it out to their own acceptance or understanding.

 

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If any public body, such as a school, were to allow some groups to use public property but deny that use to another group because of  that groups religious belief,  that would violate Article I of the Bill of Rights. That has been the law for decades.

 

Even the [Some] American Civil Liberties Union agrees:

 

"Student-organized Bible clubs are OK [on public school property]  as long as three conditions are met: 

(1) the activity must take place during non-school hours; (2) school officials can't be involved in organizing or running the club, and (3) the school must make its facilities available to all student groups on an equal basis. So your Bible club couldn't be the only group allowed access to the school grounds. Neither could your school let other student groups use the building for meetings and events and deny your Bible club the same opportunity.

The organized distribution of Bibles or any other holy book during the school day is unconstitutional, even if teachers aren't the ones actually handing out the Bibles, and even if they're not used as a part of the school's educational program. That's because the school building or grounds are still being used to spread a religious doctrine at a time when students are required to be there.

That's what religious freedom is all about -- you are free to worship as you choose -- even if that means not at all."

Edited by TAHAWK

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21 minutes ago, skeptic said:

I continue to believe that that atheism, or Atheism, is not possible.  ...

I find that if I'm offering up what I believe to someone, asserting that they can't  believe what they claim they believe undermines that dialogue.

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15 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I find that if I'm offering up what I believe to someone, asserting that they can't  believe what they claim they believe undermines that dialogue.

Semantics I suppose.  They can believe whatever they wish.  If I believe it is contradictory, and that is my right.  They can continue to be contradictory.  None of us are likely to know the final answer in the incarnation in which we currently dwell, or at least not without a major change in our understanding.

Meanwhile, I will continue to drift in my own mental state(s).😳

 

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On 1/30/2020 at 11:11 AM, qwazse said:

Yes. This was an issue that my church brought up when deciding if it should sponsor a pack.

Yup. My local religious group that I asked to sponsor our girl's troop ultimately got hung up on the atheism thing. Although it's not an atheist group of people, several members had friends or family members who were atheist and would not stand for the organization sponsoring anything that might even have the appearance of excluding them. 

I thought the agreement that was reached between the BSA and the Universalist Unitarians might be enough to convince them that they need not worry about the semantics of "what exactly do you believe constitutes 'god'" but it didn't go far. We ended up getting chartered by an entirely secular organization that was ONLY concerned that we wouldn't exclude LGBTQ youth, and we meet after hours in a public school building. 

https://www.uua.org/children/scouting/memorandum-understanding 

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At some point unbelief will push its way into taking god out of the program completely and debating values into nonexistence. Freedom of speech also means owning a stand on values and principles.

I’ve always been amazed at the hypocrisy of friendly, courteous, and kind requiring one to be inclusive. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 1

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38 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

At some point unbelief will push its way into taking god out of the program completely and debating values into nonexistence. Freedom of speech also means owning a stand on values and principles.

I’ve always been amazed at the hypocrisy of friendly, courteous, and kind requiring one to be inclusive

Barry

Barry;  Not quite getting the comment on the three points of Law and requiring.  Certainly it is much more difficult to do your best to adhere to those points if you refuse to be inclusive, but again it becomes semantics.  Inclusive to me is as simple as allowing something to be in the sphere; but it does not include requiring anyone to accept those life styles or beliefs as their own.  It is harder of course to be civil if something grates on your deepest beliefs.  Then you decide that you politely disengage as most as you are able without conflict, if possible.  That narrow ledge of overlapping emotion and perspective, often based on personal definitions.  What is even harder though is trying to listen and actually hear.  

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