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DonTom
10-21-2010, 10:00 PM
Story is here. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130682153&f=1001&sc=tw&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)


-Don-

Eric
10-22-2010, 06:48 AM
Story is here. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130682153&f=1001&sc=tw&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)


-Don-


I think I have mentioned before that I am an Eagle Scout, so I believe I have standing to comment intelligently on this question.

The BSA is not a Christian organization. It certainly isn't a specific Christian outfit (Baptist, Methodist, Anglican - or whatever).

There is no pledge to any particular sect or interpretation of the Bible - or even to Christianity. The BSA even welcomes (gasp!) Muslims and Buddhists. Jews, too.

Like the Masons, the only requirement is "reverence" toward the Creator - not specifically defined.

Mormons certainly qualify - both for membership as well as leadership within the organization.

The only thing you can't be (to be an Eagle Scout, at least - and possibly a troop leader/official) is an avowed atheist.

Or gay!

DonTom
10-22-2010, 07:13 AM
I think I have mentioned before that I am an Eagle Scout, so I believe I have standing to comment intelligently on this question.

The BSA is not a Christian organization. It certainly isn't a specific Christian outfit (Baptist, Methodist, Anglican - or whatever).

There is no pledge to any particular sect or interpretation of the Bible - or even to Christianity. The BSA even welcomes (gasp!) Muslims and Buddhists. Jews, too.

Like the Masons, the only requirement is "reverence" toward the Creator - not specifically defined.


Mormons certainly qualify - both for membership as well as leadership within the organization.


The only thing you can't be (to be an Eagle Scout, at least - and possibly a troop leader/official) is an avowed atheist.

Or gay!Yeah, but did you read this part?

"As long as groups that charter Scout units follow the guidelines set by the national organization, they can set their own additional policies,"

And it seems their own additional policy is to not allow Mormons, even if the rest of the BSA does. The Mormons can also charter scouts for the BSA, not allowing Presbyterians.



-Don-

Eric
10-22-2010, 07:27 AM
Yeah, but did you read this part?

"As long as groups that charter Scout units follow the guidelines set by the national organization, they can set their own additional policies,"

And it seems their own additional policy is to not allow Mormons, even if the rest of the BSA does. The Mormons can also charter scouts for the BSA, not allowing Presbyterians.



-Don-


Sure, but they can't set policies at odds with the overall tenets of the BSA - unless the BSA (national) is changing and becoming something it didn't used to be.

Maybe it has.

When I got my Eagle Scout (1982) the religious stuff was low-grade background noise. The emphasis was on outdoor skills, comradeship, learning to be respectful toward others, etc.

There was no interrogation as to my specific beliefs. God is mentioned in the Scout oath, but only generally. God could be anything, just about.

There was certainly no discussion (officially) of any one specific religion/sect of Christianity as being the correct/right one, to which you had to pledge allegiance or some such. We held our meetings in a Methodist Church, but only a few of us went to it (or any Methodist church). We had at least two Scouts who were Jews.

At the time, I was more or less of the same mind about religion as I am today. I say no one can know anything about God, or even whether such a being exists. I don't deny it as a possibility. But I reject any notion of certainty about any specific set of religious beliefs.

DonTom
10-22-2010, 07:41 AM
Sure, but they can't set policies at odds with the overall tenets of the BSA - unless the BSA (national) is changing and becoming something it didn't used to be.

Maybe it has.From the article, I would say they have changed. Perhaps a lot.

-Don-

Eric
10-22-2010, 07:51 AM
From the article, I would say they have changed. Perhaps a lot.

-Don-

If so, I'm sorry to hear it.

I had a great experience in the Boy Scouts. Our scoutmaster was an old Army veteran who taught us a lot about outdoorsmanship and survival. We went on fairly serious hikes every month. (I have hiked the entire length of the C&O Canal as a Scout and done hundreds of miles on the AT.)

No lectures about the Lord. Not much talk of religion at all.

If today's kids are being force-fed Jeebus (or whatever) and if Scouting is becoming a religious group of some kind, then I hope it goes the way of the Hitler Youth.

DonTom
10-22-2010, 08:51 AM
If so, I'm sorry to hear it.

I had a great experience in the Boy Scouts. Our scoutmaster was an old Army veteran who taught us a lot about outdoorsmanship and survival. We went on fairly serious hikes every month. (I have hiked the entire length of the C&O Canal as a Scout and done hundreds of miles on the AT.)

No lectures about the Lord. Not much talk of religion at all.

If today's kids are being force-fed Jeebus (or whatever) and if Scouting is becoming a religious group of some kind, then I hope it goes the way of the Hitler Youth.I really don't know for myself, but I do know that some other people now consider the BSA to be a religious organization. And if they now join from various church groups, I can see how that can happen.

I was in the cub scouts when I was around 9 years old. Then, I didn't see any religious nonsense.


-Don-

Eric
10-22-2010, 09:08 AM
I really don't know for myself, but I do know that some other people now consider the BSA to be a religious organization. And if they now join from various church groups, I can see how that can happen.

I was in the cub scouts when I was around 9 years old. Then, I didn't see any religious nonsense.


-Don-


One of the Great Changes I have seen during my lifetime is that loud, public religiosity - especially of the belligerent evangelical "Do you know The Lord?" sort - has gone from being an embarrassment and the mark of the trailer park - to socially acceptable, even among (ostensibly) educated/professional middle class people.

So, I'm not really surprised to learn such is infiltrating the BSA.

We're entering a new dark age; reason - and reasonableness - are dying before our eyes.

eesquared
03-25-2011, 11:43 PM
DonTom and Eric,

The story is gone - I could not access it through the link provided.

I just wanted to chime in on the present-day BSA. Just so you'll know: even though I am female, my husband is an Assistant Scoutmaster, my middle son is an Eagle Scout, and my youngest son is a Life Scout and Chaplain Aide for his troop, and working toward Eagle. As a family, we are heavily invested in the Scouting program.

The religion rules are generally the same as you remember, Eric. The boys are supposed to hold a belief in the Creator, but Scouts who claim to be atheists or agnostics are not excluded from being Scouts - at least not in any of the Troops we have been associated with. The sponsor for our current Troop is the Methodist church, and some, but not all, of the boys attend that church. Some of the boys attend other churches: Baptist, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and some Non-denominationals. Some of the boys attend no church at all.

When the boys have their religious services on Sunday mornings at campouts, they say a prayer and have a short (15 minutes) lesson. The lessons are generally about being and becoming the kind of men that the Scout Oath states: honest, courageous, thrifty, etc. Even the prayers are multi-encompassing prayers. For instance, the Chaplain (adult) or Chaplain Aide (scout) are not to close a prayer by saying "In Jesus' name". So, they just close all the prayers with "Amen".

They do not teach about Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or Confucius.

Just fyi~

Eric
03-26-2011, 06:53 AM
That's what I assumed - and a glad to have confirmed!

I don't get my panties in a bunch over religion/religious ideas being discussed; or even prayers as such - provided they're fairly generic and there's no heavy pressure to "believe" in (for example) evangelical notions of being "born again."

We had Vespers and such when I was in. Never bothered me then and I don't object to it now.

It was - and hopefully still is - incidental to the program.

I think, frankly, that the root of the problem is the rise of evangelical Christianity - which just won't shut up and leave others alone. They just have to spread the word - it is the core tenet of their faith.

When I was in Scouts (late '70s/early '80s) evangelical Christianity was still the religious backwater; people didn't bray their beliefs in pubic and pressure others to "believe." That was trailer park/white trash stuff.

Unfortunately, along with the general dumbing down of American society, that kind of belligerent, public faith is now much more common.

I would not want my kids harassed by it, either.

Religion, in my opinion, should be a private and personal thing that you don't bother other people about.

















DonTom and Eric,

The story is gone - I could not access it through the link provided.

I just wanted to chime in on the present-day BSA. Just so you'll know: even though I am female, my husband is an Assistant Scoutmaster, my middle son is an Eagle Scout, and my youngest son is a Life Scout and Chaplain Aide for his troop, and working toward Eagle. As a family, we are heavily invested in the Scouting program.

The religion rules are generally the same as you remember, Eric. The boys are supposed to hold a belief in the Creator, but Scouts who claim to be atheists or agnostics are not excluded from being Scouts - at least not in any of the Troops we have been associated with. The sponsor for our current Troop is the Methodist church, and some, but not all, of the boys attend that church. Some of the boys attend other churches: Baptist, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and some Non-denominationals. Some of the boys attend no church at all.

When the boys have their religious services on Sunday mornings at campouts, they say a prayer and have a short (15 minutes) lesson. The lessons are generally about being and becoming the kind of men that the Scout Oath states: honest, courageous, thrifty, etc. Even the prayers are multi-encompassing prayers. For instance, the Chaplain (adult) or Chaplain Aide (scout) are not to close a prayer by saying "In Jesus' name". So, they just close all the prayers with "Amen".

They do not teach about Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or Confucius.

Just fyi~