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concerned_scout66

Anti-Atheist article at Jamboree PRAY exhibit

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Did anybody else see the "anti-atheist" newspaper article posted for several days on the left side wall of the PRAY exhibit in the Jamboree relationships tent?

 

I went to the booth one afternoon to get information about the Community of Christ religious medals and was directed, instead, to a newspaper article on the wall about an atheist Eagle Scout from the Seattle area who was dropped a couple of years ago. I was a bit shocked that PRAY and/or BSA would think it appropriate to attack anyone. The representative there, however, said that the article had been authorized by PRAY and that PRAY had actually called the Scout executive from Seattle (Brad Farmer) to verify the contents.

 

Am I the only one who saw this article and thought it was inappropriate for BSA to be attacking atheists in the name of promoting religion?

 

Did anybody else actually speak to the rep's there about the article?

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While I have not seen the article or talked with the representative I do have a couple questions about your post.

 

What does it mean to "authorize" a newspaper article and how does one do it?

 

Since PRAY Publishing is not a division of BSA, or controlled by the BSA, how is it that you connect PRAY posting an article with the BSA attacking someone?

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Fair questions both.

 

I'm not sure how one "authorizes" the posting of such article. My question to the representative was whether PRAY even knew the article was posted at all. His response was that it was "authorized" and that considerable thought had gone into posting it. I've sent the same request to PRAY. Their quick response was that the person who needed to investigate was currently at Philmont and will not return until 8/16.

 

In regards the connection to BSA, the PRAY representatives in the booth were both Scouters in uniform. The one who seemed to be running the booth was in his 60's or 70's and sported an Eagle knot in the battery of knots on his Class A.

 

A better question would have been to ask if any Scouter should be attacking anybody under the guise of promoting religion.

 

Sorry for any confusion.

 

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I did visit the area and didn't see the newspaper article.

So I can't say much about it.

Nearly all the people who maned the different areas in the relationships area were in uniform. Ed who was with me (He served as a ASM) is real big in the Elks. He is past whatever the top Elk is in our area. He was disappointed with the Elk exhibit. I thought it was fine. However Ed who isn't a member of the American really liked their exhibit.

Ed didn't blame the BSA for what he saw as a poor showing by his fellow Elks, nor did he think that the BSA has anything to do with the American Legion.

I was at the Jamboree and wore my uniform, if anyone had asked me I could have voiced my pet peeves about Scouting and the BSA, still I would only be speaking for myself, I in no way could say that the wise words I spoke represented anyone other than me. Of course no one was dumb enough to ask for wise words from me - I wonder why?

As too:

A better question would have been to ask if any Scouter should be attacking anybody under the guise of promoting religion.

As I say I didn't see the article, but being as you say it was a newspaper article, I'm guessing the guy who wrote it was writing it for the newspaper and not for the BSA, this being the case the guy who wrote it was just like me and my wise words, only he had got paid for his. The fact that a volunteer choose to display his words and choose not to tape mine, must have been a oversight!!

Of course because we have made an oath that states that we will help other people at all times, tends to make me think that we really ought not be attacking anyone.

I will try and remember those wise words the next time I have to deal with someone who is acting like a twit.

Eamonn.

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Eamonn sees the point I was raising as well, That PRAY authorized an article to be posted on the PRAY booth has nothing to do with the BSA a totally separate organization as far as administration.

 

That they wore the BSA uniform as BSA members at a BSA function does not make them spokespersons for the BSA. There were tens of thousands of people in a BSA uniform there none of whom are spokespersons or policy makers for the BSA.

 

I do not see how you connect an news article that an independent group displays with the opinion or policies of the BSA.

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I staffed the Episcopal Church booth in the Relationships Exhibits tent, and I briefly visited all of the booths, including the PRAY booth, but I did not see the newspaper article in question.

 

Yes, the various churches, Scouter associations and service clubs that sponsored booths are not part of BSA. But playing devil's advocate for a moment, one wonders if the Relationships Division would have allowed a BSA-bashing editorial to have been posted at the Unitarian booth, for example?

 

Does anyone here seriously believe that, had the Relationships Division become aware of such a posting, it would have allowed such an article to remain posted in a BSA tent at BSA's premiere event?

 

Of course not, so one must conclude that the Relationships Division *does* exercise some level of control over the content of the material distributed at or posted in the various booths.

 

I can say that when the Relationships Division became aware that our booth would be distributing playing cards, they became very concerned about it. But once our staff priest explained the nature of the cards (the four suits covered scoutcraft, the Scout Law, Episcopal Church trivia, and prayers / devotions, and back of the cards showed a stained-glass window of a Scout kneeling in prayer), they decided not to block its distribution.

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More information...

 

On this issue, I've received a very nice response from the Executive Director of PRAY. It seems that the volunteer in question had actually sent the article in question to him asking for permission to display it. According to the PRAY Director, the volunteer was told NOT to display the article and specifically to use only the items they would send him.

 

That's the end of it for me. PRAY does some awesome work and I trust that this one volunteer won't tarnish their reputation.

 

Not so concerned anymore...

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