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I'm not at all familiar with the Jehovah's Witness program, but if they don't celebrate birthdays, it is proper for the child to have a cupcake or cookie in his buddy's honor? Is participating in one's own birthday forbidden or is it for all birthdays? I would think it very appropriate for this boy's mom to instruct his school teacher, that when birthdays are celebrated with treats from the birthday-boy's home that her son not be tempted by receiving a treat.... Yeah, like that's ever going to happen!


Your mileage may vary,



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A very long time ago, I was doing a service project for my Queen's Scout Award, working at was back in the day called a Center for Spastic Children.

Christmas came and Father Christmas (Santa) came and handed out gifts to all the kids.

The next day the parent of a little girl (Lydia. I'll never forget her name, she was 4 years old. arrived bringing back all the gifts that were given.

I was deeply upset, I couldn't and still can't understand how someone could do this to a kid so young.

Parents are free to make choices.

But "When in Rome.." If you are unable to live in Rome, then maybe you made the wrong choice of trying to live there.

I'm happy to accommodate the wishes of others, but I'm not going to go to a Jewish wedding and expect them to feed me roast pork, just because I only eat pork.


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Well, it IS interesting, because I think (I'm not 100% familiar) that it's an issue of drawing attention to oneself and/or elevating oneself instead of God.


In that case, though... what about the Pledge of Allegiance?


Does that violate that belief system, to PLEDGE oneself to an entity that is not God? In that case, as someone mentioned, it's a bigger deal than cupcakes!


If you won't do the Pledge, you don't need to be in Cub Scouts.

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My religion tells me I should celebrate, because God has given me great things that are worth being happy about. So, whose religion wins?


We have had lots of Catholics in our troop and they have never told the Protestants that they should not eat meat during lent. Why does this JW think she is so special?


I would say don't change anything. I read about a Jamboree in England in 2007 where they forced everybody to eat vegetarian because they have become so PC. It's a slippery slope. Pretty soon you cannot do anything because everything violates somebody's religion.

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Had somewhat a similar issue a few years ago. The Blue and Gold was to be planned by the W II families. They never got around to it, so 3-4 weeks in advance, pack leadership took over and planned it out. We gave notice of the date and time. A week or so before the event, one of the crossover families told us they were going to be at another family event, implying that we should change the date for the other 20 families.


Sice we had already boked and paid for the hall and catering, that wasn't going to be happening. I spend a lot of time on the phone with them trying to massage the schedule so their son could be there to crossover. Finally realizing that they weren't going to budge, I gave up. Sorry to say he missed crossover. We even offered to set the bridge up at the next Pack meeting, which IIRC, he never showed up for.


You do what you can do, but their comes a point where the needs of the majority prevail.

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Offhand, I would have no objection to BSA adult leaders or Scouts quietly abstaining from the Pledge for religious reasons.



There have certainly been plenty of Jehova's Witnesses martyred over their religion. I mean with REAL blood flowing.



I don't feel a need to try to make a point at their expense.




Seattle Pioneer

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Does that violate that belief system, to PLEDGE oneself to an entity that is not God?


Yes. It definitely violates their belief.


That's not to say that they won't do it. Or, he might say it for rank and then just abstain quietly. We've had citizens from other countries in our units and it has always seemed odd to require them to say the pledge - we may have just quietly skipped that requirement for them, and I know we certainly let them abstain on a regular basis.

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Interesting; thanks for the discussion points!


With regard to the Pledge thing... I would certainly *not* take such a hardline approach that it would deter a Cub from participating.


But... just my *opinion*, here, is that it's called Boy Scouts of AMERICA. And yes, we're a melting pot, but the Promise says that I'll do my duty to MY country. I would (*personally*) say that whatever country in which a person lives (and participates in youth programs therein) ... THAT'S THEIR country.


I'm not going to pay stable fees if I don't own a horse. I'm not going to pay for a satellite dish if I don't believe in t.v. Why would you join an organization that holds "duty to country" so dear, if you didn't intend to do your duty to THAT country, and that might include pledging your allegiance to it.


Not that you CAN'T join that organization (because, as has been pointed out, people DO), and not that you HAVE to embrace EVERY line of the Promise, but... why would you bother, if you weren't going to?


To me (read: me), that would be like me attending a Mormon church, even though I don't hold with their belief system, just because they throw good potlucks.


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To put the same thing another way, I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene. At that time, in addition to of course being teatotalling folk, the denomination also taught their members to eschew all forms of social dancing.


That meant no proms, no square dancing, no ballroom hobby, no dance floors at weddings, etc... It was hard as a teenager growing up in that church, knowing that if I attended a school dance, I was "violating" the edicts of the church to which I had made a profession of alliance.


The Nazarenes ALSO held as a policy that they did NOT attend movies, nor (after the advent of the VCR) did they view anything over the rating of "G". This was also difficult as a teenager and a young adult.


Did I throw those precepts out the window just because I didn't LIKE them, or think they were archaic? Nope. As a 13-year-old having reached the age of accountability, I stood up and professed that I accepted as my own the lifestyle represented BY the Church of the Nazarene.


And I lived by them. Period. Even though it was hard. My friends were all going to the school dances. I did not. My friends all went to PG (and later R) movies; I did not. SIMPLY BECAUSE it went against what I KNEW to be the doctrine of the organization to which I had pledged faithfulness.


Now, as an adult, as I have mentioned, I chose to change my alliance, and chose a church with a doctrine somewhat more relaxed in it's world view, because it SUITS ME BETTER.


But while I was a Nazarene, I upheld THEIR precepts, on principle.

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I will apologize in advance for some disjointed rambling...


Ann, it seems to me that your idea of celebrating the birthdays at the end of the event, so that families can opt out if they choose, is the correct course. It sounds like the parent who spoke with you was not asking for special consideration, but just wanted to know what the plan was so that she could handle it appropriately for her son.


In my work life, I have seen that the Jehovah's Witnesses in the office did not participate in birthday celebrations in any manner; they not only excluded themselves on their own birthdays, but did not share in any cake for others and continued to work at their desks while everyone else was gathering in the breakroom. Of course, these were adults, so I don't know if they would have the same expectations of a child.


It is due to dealing with situations like this (along with food allergy issues and concerns about childhood obesity) that our school simply doesn't allow birthday celebrations. Of course, they also make the case that these celebrations don't contribute to the instructional mission of the school, which I can't argue with. They also do not allow celebration of Halloween or any of the winter holidays. Years ago when my mom taught school, they actually taught the kids something about Christmas, Hannukkah, and Kwanzaa, and families were invited to make a presentation if they celebrated something else. These days, it seems like PC'ness dictates that we pretend it all doesn't exist for fear of offending anyone. (Our school has also "banned" the BSA because of its discriminatory practices, but that's a different story.)


I have just returned from spending the day at school listening to student presentations at "Simulated Congressional Hearings" where they discussed various Constitutional issues. A number of the questions centered on the notion of "the common good" vs. individual rights. In all of the cases, the students made the assumption that the common good is the same as the majority opinion. Now, the distinction between those ideas might be a bit sophisticated for 5th graders, but it was definitely something that made me go "Hmmmm...."

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Right, it wasn't the Promise that caused any issue because all it refers to is "my country", so people can say it while meaning whatever country works for them. It was the pledge that was questionable.


The Tiger rank says: Practice the Pledge of Allegiance with your den

The Wolf rank says: Give the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

The Webelos Badge requires a Webelos Scout to "Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance from memory," which I guess you could do without technically giving the pledge.

The Scout Badge says "Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance."


This requirement would technically disqualify non-citizens from earning First Class, I'd think: Visit and discuss with a selected individual approved by your leader (elected official, judge, attorney, civil servant, principal, teacher) your constitutional rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen.


But the national web site definitely indicates citizenship is not required: Must I be a U.S. citizen to join Cub Scouting?Citizenship is not required of youth or adult members.


I'd presume they recognize that citizens of other countries may not be willing to take the pledge.

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I'm not an American.

While I have never made a fuss and am willing to show America and the Americans the same respect I'm sure that they would show if they were in England and God Save The Queen the national anthem was played (No not the version by the Sex Pistols!)

As I rule I stand for the pledge and don't say anything.

My son is an American, I didn't have a problem teaching him and the other little guys the pledge or when I was CM starting the Pack meeting with the pledge.

I was placed in a situation one night at an Executive Board meeting, the Council Commish stood up and without any notice said "Eamonn please lead us in the pledge". I didn't want to cause a fuss so I started and once everyone got going I just shut up.

While I love America and Americans (Heck I'm married to one!)

I can't in good faith make the pledge.

I don't have any problem singing the Star Spangled Banner, God Save The Queen or The Soldiers Song as long as they sing it in English.


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