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wyomingi

Religious award

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We have a new scout in the troop who is very enthusiastic. He has been with us only a few weeks but has been to every meeting and earned his scout badge. When he asked me about religious awards I was delighted until I asked him what church he attended and he said Unitarian. Unitarian is not a BSA approved religion. The Religion in Life award cannot be worn on a uniform. I am uncertain as how to proceed. Should I tell him to get another religious award, let him get the Religion in Life award and tell him not wear it or let him wear it anyway? A

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I recommend you brief him on the facts of the matter and then let him decide if he wants to earn the award. Be clear that he will not receive a religious emblem square knot and that the award is not permitted on a BSA uniform. It's like earning a presidential fitness award (do they still have them?) - encourage it, but it's not permitted on the uniform.

 

PS BSA does not approve or disapprove of any religion. It does approve or disapprove of a religion's emblem program.(This message has been edited by CubsRgr8)

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I knew a Unitarian who earned one of the protestant religous awards. It was part of the series of somewhat generic protestant awards, though I can't remember the name. I thought that was a bit of an odd thing to do, but I guess if they can satisfy the requirements, there is no reason they could not earn the award. So, if he wants on award that fits with the BSA program, he could try for one of those.

 

I would, however, advise him that the Unitarian Universalist Association has its own award, but that BSA does not authorise its wear on the uniform. I wouldn't go into all the details about why, unless it is necessary. I certainly wouldn't use the wording that Unitarianism isn't an approved religion.

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Maybe it's just me, but I think this situation is "touchy" enough that before I gave this young man (and his parents, I agree with johndaigler) what I believed was the correct information, I think I'd want to check with my District Executive to verify the information, and see if he/she had any suggestions. It occurs to me that the vast majority of us (at least) "know" that the UUA religious emblem is not authorized for wear on the uniform solely because of what we have read on the Internet, either in this forum or elsewhere. I am not sure where you'd go to find a complete, official list of BSA-approved emblems. The handbooks have lists, but I recall seeing on those pages statements like, these are SOME of the emblems, or the emblems INCLUDE these.

 

I'm not suggesting that what we all "know" about this subject is incorrect, but I am saying that I'd be checking with someone in official authority before "enforcing" it. And as I said, there may be a "recommended" way of dealing with it that would produce an outcome that works for everybody. (Or in plain English, a way that doesn't get the parents upset enough that you may lose a good Scout over this.)

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The BSA does not approve or disapprove of ANY religion. The BSA approves what awards it recognizes for wear on the BSA uniform, and does so based on their requirements and how those requirements further the values and Aims of the BSA Program.

 

At the present time the BSA does not approve the requirements set forth by the Unitarian Church for their award. The Scout is welcome to pursue the recognition from his church, he simply may not wear the award on his Scout Uniform.

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Having the great big spine that I have, I'd refer the boy to the troop Chaplain. That committee position is reponsible for promoting regular participation of each member in the activities of the religious organization of the members choice.

 

Seriously, I'd just congratulate the boy on his interest in obtaining the religious award affiliated with his religion of choice.

 

The goal is not to recieve a "token" to wear on ones shirt. It is to further the Scouts knowledge about his religion.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Thank you all for the replies. I found the discussion helpful.

 

Unfortunately the boy's parents don't come to meetings. He walks to the meeting and gets a ride home. Apparently they are not very involved in any aspect of his life. I think discussing the fact with the boy and presenting the options to him is the best course. He is the one that will earn the award. I will also try to contact his minister to inform him or her.

 

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"Be clear that he will not receive a religious emblem square knot and that the award is not permitted on a BSA uniform."

 

Why can't his Troop present him the square knot? I understand that the Unitarian emblem itself can not be worn on the BSA uniform. However, nowhere that I can find, does it stipulate that the knot can be worn only for completing those religous emblem programs that BSA allows on it's uniform.

 

The wording that I find is:

 

"This knot may be worn by any Scout or Scouter that completed a religious emblem program as a youth member."

 

No mention of only BSA approved programs. The only stipulation is that a program is completed while a youth. Those former Girl Scouts, 4-H, Campfire, etc, who are now BSA Unit Leaders are entitled to wear the knot if they completed a religious emblem program while a youth. They can not wear the emblem itself on their uniform. BSA does not recognize it. They can wear the knot.

 

Give the young man the information on religious awards. If he decides to earn one of the Protestant awards, fine. He can wear both the medal and the knot. If he decides to earn his own organizations award, also fine. He can put it in a position of honor in his room and wear only the religious knot on his uniform.

 

 

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ScoutNut - Great info and view. I think that's a SUPERB understanding of the rules!!

 

wyomingi, the Scout is going to need his parents involvement to earn the Religious Award. Even after reading the other comments, IMHO, you should still be the one to contact the parents up front. I know, easier to say than to do, but . . .

 

jd

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BobWhite is correct. The scout may earn the religious award, but he just can't wear its symbol (the knot) on his uniform. However, if the Scout were in my troop, I would *strongly* encourage him to pursue the award. In addition to being a personal growth experience (that's the whole point of course), there may come a time in the very near future when UU scouts will again be able to proudly wear their religious emb

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Trevorum, I'm curious about your last sentence. Do know something, suspect something about this situation with the UUAs?

Bob White, Which requirement was it that BSA objected to, thereby disallowing wearing of the award on a BSA uniform?

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Trevorum - The boy may NOT wear his actual UU award on his uniform, but he MAY wear the silver square knot on purple background patch on his BSA uniform.

 

 

 

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