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New Committee Chair - with a issue

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The Scout Oath contains the phrase;

On my honor I will do my best

to do my duty to *God* and my country.


The Scout Law states that a scout is *Reverent*.


What, exactly, does that mean? That a scout that has completed all of the requirements for Eagle cannot obtain that recognition because he simply does not view "God" and "religion" through the same narrow tube as do you and I? I don't think so. To do that would be a travesty. If you want to jade this young man forever, then by all means continue on that path. The Board of Review is exactly that. A *review*. It is not an inquisition. It is not a tool by which to ensure that these young men believe in exactly what *you* want them to believe in.


I have always viewed Boy Scouts not as a religious based organization, but a *service* based organization. We, as adult leaders, do everything within our power to ensure that these young men are given the skills to succeed in the world. We intill not only a valuable skill set, but also a sense of values. What they carry away from that is up to each and every individual. Personally, I know several self proclaimed "athiests" that lead more moral and values based lives than some of the deacons in my own church, that come in every Sunday still hungover from the night before.


Frankly, if this young man has the courage, and the honesty, to stand up for what he really and truly believes...then his leaders have done thier jobs well and he should be advanced.



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What does reverent mean? It's right there in the book for you and this Scout to read: A Scout is reverent toward God. Hs is faithful in his religious duties.


I think that is pretty clear. I would be interested to hear how this Scout believes he is being reverent.


I believe Scouting is a service organization as well, with Service to God being the most important service of all. Do you feel a Scout should give service to his community, but not to God?


So, you think he has courage to give the Scout sign and recite the Oath and Law, but yet not really mean it? Doesn't seem brave or honorable to me. Sounds like they are just words to some. Yep, don't let the *inconvenient* parts of the requirements stop this young man from earning this prestigious award.


"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training."

BSA Youth Application

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So Brent, what would be a satisfactory answer for you to pass a boy thru in his EBOR? I know a good number of scouts who come from "Christian" families. Kind of like how the US is a "Christian" nation. Many of these "Christians" never darken the door of a church, but are raised with "Christian" values at home. What are the buzz words you want to here from a boy to give you a warm fuzzy for earning Eagle?


Does he need to be president of the youth council of his church? Does he need go on mission trips? Is having attended at least one church summer camp enough to get a pass? Is saying I bow my head when we say grace before a meal enough?


I'm not trying to be critical or facetious. I'm not a "Godless liberal". I have a degree in religion from a Southern Baptist University and am a life long evangelical Christian. I know what I believe and I know where and why my denomination differs with all the other Christian denominations and varying varieties of Catholicism. Why I even know some fine fellow Christians that would say an LDS Scout shouldn't be able to earn Eagle because they worship a false religion. I haven't even mentioned Islam, Judaism, Buddhism that we all know are going to hell anyway.


Scouts come from every walk of life. How does a local EBOR make a decision on whether a boy is reverent and does his duty to God? We tend to think inside our little boxes. I'm reminded of when I went to the Southern Region Wood Badge Course Director Development Conference last year. Let's face it, most of us in the Southern Region are white Christians. We had a fellow (from California) from the Western Region attend our conference because he couldn't make any of the dates in his region. He got tickled at all the discussions and difficulty expressed at understanding and accommodating diversity in our region. Being from California, he said diversity in scouting is easily understood and practiced because it is just an everyday part of their culture.


Don't get me wrong. If a boy truly understands WHAT an atheist is and totally identifies with it and strongly believes that is what he is, then he indeed does have some problems in earning Eagle. But so many kids at that age are in formative years and exploring what they believe, I feel we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and have some discussions with them about it. But even if the boy is willing to allow that there is a power greater than himself and he tries to be a good and moral person who does service to others......is that good enough for folks with preconceived notions sitting on his board?

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Congratulations on your resume.


In our Troop, we have a variety of religions represented - varieties of Christian, along with Jewish and Hindu. The SM should determine whether a Scout is being reverent before he ever reaches his BOR. The SM asks some very simple questions:


How are you reverent toward God?

How are you faithful in your religious duties?


The EBOR should be able to make a determination with the same simple questions.


I don't need to hear any "buzz words" or see any specific action "missions, etc." I need to see that the Scout recognizes that he serves a higher authority, and that he is fulfilling his obligation of faithful service. I would like to hear that they feel they have a relationship with God, depending on their religion, and get an understanding of what that relationship is like, or how strong it is. Is God and/or religion just something they think about once a week, or something more? What does faith mean to them.


As leaders, we are supposed to communicate our acceptance of the boys by taking a real interest in each and every one of them. I find this hard to do if we ignore religion. As B-P said, "There is no religious SIDE to the Movement. The WHOLE of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God."


Along with this comes respect for other's religion.

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I like what Brent, Barry, and Lisa all said.


Lisa...I think the best solution for the young man you describe is to have folks invite him to church. I can see the confusion... high liturgy appeals to my sense of awe, but not everyone's. Christianity (which I presume the Scout is talking of) is a pretty big tent in worship styles ... he needs to go someplace enough that he understands the externals, and then he needs to look into internals.


That last can apply to any faith grouping Scouting supports.

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First of all, thanks for the advice!


Our COR is VERY ACTIVE in the troop. He's Wood Badge Trained, goes on hikes and other activities with the troop. He'll care.


I'll have my sit down with the SM tonight. This is the first meeting as the chair. We'll go over some things and talk about the scout in questions and see where it goes.


Thanks again.

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