From: Ericka Kammerer on
Sarah Vaughan wrote:
> user wrote:
> [...]
>> Page 4 on this version of the form:
>> http://www.scouting.org/forms/28-102.pdf
>>
>> "Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle
>> 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 it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that
>> religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization
>> or group with which the member is connected shall give definite
>> attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this
>> Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts
>> of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership."

<snip>

> Or... does it mean that you have to subscribe to the belief they state
> at the start of the paragraph that 'no member can grow into the best
> kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God'? Because if
> that's what they mean, then the hell with that - I would certainly *not*
> want my son subscribing to such a philosophy, or teach him that it was
> appropriate.

Regardless of whether he is required to believe that,
clearly that is what the BSA officially believes and what BSA
leaders are supposed to teach and embody. However, the first
two sentences *are* the Declaration, and that's what he's being
required to subscribe to, so it seems inescapable to me to
come to the conclusion that they're saying you are to affirm
both that home and organization must give attention *and*
that no one can be the best citizen without recognizing an
obligation to God. And, of course, the Scout Oath has them
pledge to "do my duty to God." One can wiggle around those
sorts of things, saying well, if I don't believe in God, I
can pledge to do my duty easily enough since I think my duty
amounts to nothing, but frankly, that's clearly contrary to
the intent. And, of course, when they say that the organization
must "give attention to religious life," they really don't
mean that each group should lay out for its members a survey
course in comparative religions (including atheism and agnosticism)
in a neutral fashion. They mean that the organization should
be actively promoting religion (if not a specific religion)
and encouraging kids to do their duty to God as part of their
regular activities.

In a clarification in 1991, they add:

"Scouting respects those who do not share its beliefs and it would not
ask others to alter their faith in any fashion in order to become
Scouts. They too are free to follow their own beliefs. Rather, the BSA
membership believes that the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and
Law are central to the BSA goal of teaching the values of self-reliance,
courage, integrity, and consideration to others. Scouting may not be
for everyone, but for eight decades, Scouting has provided meaningful
programs and adventure to more than eighty million young people in the
United States."

This seems to me to say that hey, we know some folks
aren't comfortable with this position, and we're not asking them
to change--BSA just isn't for them.

There are obviously BSA group that downplay this
aspect, and therefore different people can have different
experiences with Scouting, but that's the official line.

Personally, I don't have heartburn with the organization
taking that stance. I figure they have a right to, and there are
plenty of folks who are interested in having their children participate
in an organization promoting the value of religion along with many
other excellent things. When I get twitchy is when there's an
expectation of public (i.e., tax dollar, public schools, etc.)
support of an organization with a religious litmus test for
membership. (Well, and I get twitchy about their exclusion of
gays regardless of the public/private distinction.) Lots of
fine folks believe in Scouting and participate, and many of them
skirt the boundaries of official policy to do so, so I wouldn't
begin to tar all members or leaders with the same brush, but
I think the fundamentals are flawed.

Best wishes,
Ericka
From: user on
On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 06:50:44 +0100, Sarah Vaughan <nannyogg(a)samael.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> user wrote:
> [...]
>> Page 4 on this version of the form: http://www.scouting.org/forms/28-102.pdf
>>
>> "Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle
>> 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 it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership."
>
> (What is it with the formatting? This looked fine in the initial post,
> but now I'm replying to it and it just seems to be one long run-on line.
> My apologies if it's showing up like that in anyone else's posts.)
>
> Anyway. Hmmm. Awkwardly ambiguous.
>
> When they say 'subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Policy', do
> they only mean the bit in the immediately preceding sentence about the
> home giving 'definite attention to religious life'? If so, then that
> would be fine with me, as an atheist. It doesn't say that you have to
> *practice* the religious life. Given that religion is an important part
> of society and culture, I certainly think my son should grow up giving
> definite attention to religious life, even if it's only attention to the
> fact that some people have these beliefs that Mummy and Daddy don't and
> thought about how we can/should respect beliefs that aren't ours. (And
> I'd also like him to give some thought to *why* he believes whatever he
> ends up believing. I would not be too keen on him growing into the kind
> of person who doesn't give issues any consideration before assuming a side.)
>
> Or... does it mean that you have to subscribe to the belief they state
> at the start of the paragraph that 'no member can grow into the best
> kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God'? Because if
> that's what they mean, then the hell with that - I would certainly *not*
> want my son subscribing to such a philosophy, or teach him that it was
> appropriate.
>
>



Probably the most succinct position statement you'll find about the
official policy is the BSA board statement from June 12, 1991, found here:

http://usscouts.org/aboutbsa/rpa1991.asp

The statement:

"While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy
Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God."

is probably the clearest one you'll find that they intend the
requirements to include personal belief. In a lot of respects,
the BSA does consistently follow its own internal logic - they do, in
fact, seem to bend over backwards and allow members to profess belief
in any supernatural being or belief system. You could probably say
that you've sworn fealty to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and they'd
be perfectly happy with that. But the position that atheists are
not acceptable is clear by the numerous times they've expelled members
- up to and including their own Eagle scouts.

If nothing else, the personal religious component comes straight to
the forefront with the requirements for the Bear badge, one of the
first he'll receive. From http://www.boyscouttrail.com/cub-scouts/bear-scouts.asp :

------------
BEAR SCOUT ACHIEVEMENTS
GOD (Do ONE of the following)


1. WAYS WE WORSHIP
Complete both requirements.
1. Complete the Character Connection for Faith
* Know. Name some people in history who have shown great faith. Discuss with an adult how faith has been important at a particular point in his or her life.
* Commit. Discuss with an adult how having faith and hope will help you in your life, and also discuss some ways that you can strengthen your faith.
* Practice. Practice your faith as you are taught in your home, church, synagogue, mosque, or religious fellowship.
2. Make a list of things you can do this week to practice your religion as you are taught in your home, church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious community. Check them off your list as you complete them.

2. EMBLEMS OF FAITH
Complete the requirement.
Earn the Religious Emblem of your faith.

----------

So if don't personally practice the religious requirement, you can't get
one of the badges required for further advancement.


- Rich

--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

From: Knit Chic on

"Kristina" <reddhotty69(a)gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1193089893.204436.280990(a)k35g2000prh.googlegroups.com...
> On Oct 21, 8:27 am, enigma <eni...(a)evil.net> wrote:
>> Kristina <reddhott...(a)gmail.com> wrote
>> innews:1192957082.509523.172350(a)q5g2000prf.googlegroups.com:
>>
>> > I have a 6yr old son who when he's in school has the
>> > behavior of his criminal biological father. My son is a
>> > great kid (normally) but recently he has started to lie and
>> > be disobedient.
>>
>> what does his teacher say?
>> from what you say he sounds like a perfectly normal 6 year
>> old boy. if you hate his dad so much (he acts like his
>> criminal father), maybe you're extrapolating it to the boy?
>> boys mature socially a bit slower than girls usually, so
>> don't compare him to any girls you know. if you *must* compare
>> his behavior with another child, use a 6 year old boy.
>> 6 year old boys are fidgety, flighty, stubborn, *love* making
>> rude noises & bathroom jokes, have the attention span of gnats
>> when a subject doesn't interest them, tend to struggle with
>> writing & fine motor skills (sissors, etc), and need *lots* of
>> running around time (and very little sit still & be quiet
>> time).
>> if he's only having problems at school, you need to work with
>> the teacher or get him into a different classroom or school.
>> it may just be a poor match for his learning style, or he may
>> have learning disabilities (non-verbal learning disability,
>> central processing disorder,etc)
>> my son is 7. he's highly energetic, & has poor but slowly
>> improving fine motor skills. he would be in constant trouble
>> if he were in public school, so i don't subject him to that
>> torture. i send him to a Montessori school, where he can
>> choose what work he wants to do within guidelines, he can work
>> on his own level & not have to wait for the whole class to be
>> on the same page (he's reading at 4th grade level & doing 3-
>> 4th grade math. he's doing robotics, & natural science is his
>> favorite subject, except when it's math<g>). his class is 18
>> kids & 2 teachers, plus music, movement, art, language,
>> cooking & 'guest' teachers. Montessori kids don't usually sit
>> at desks. they move around the room, sit on the floor or
>> chairs. they talk to & help each other. if they get above
>> grade level in a subject, they can go to the next level
>> classroom for part of the day (so he can go to upper el for
>> reading & math).
>> i'm sure if he went to public school he & i would be at the
>> principal's office almost constantly. but he's just a normal,
>> high-spirited boy. i encourage that. i don't want my kid being
>> an automaton.
>>
>> the only other thing i suggest is maybe you should seek
>> councelling to lose that chip on your shoulder about the boy's
>> father. if you start thinking the poor kid is "criminal" at 6
>> years old, you *will* develop a self-fufilling prophecy.
>> oh, and talk to your current husband about disipline. give
>> him guidelines about what you think he should & should not do
>> to help you.
>> lee
>
> I AT NO TIME HAVE EVER SAID THAT MY CHILD WAS A CRIMINAL OR WILL BE A
> CRIMINAL!!!!!! NOR DID I SAY THAT I HATED HIS FATHER--AS A MATTER OF
> FACT HIS FATHER IS ONE OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS AND HE WILL TELL YOU
> HIMSELF THAT HE IS A CRIMINAL AND HAS SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE IN AND
> OUT OF JAILS AND HE DOESN'T KNOW ANYTHING ELSE!!!!!

You said "So I welcome ANY and ALL suggestions you
may have on how to get through this and deal with it so that his
behavior improves. JUST THINK ABOUT IT, HE'S ONLY 6, WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN HE'S A TEEN? OMG!"

ANY and ALL.


From: toto on
On 24 Oct 2007 12:22:01 GMT, user <Rich(a)iwantnospam.com> wrote:

>There's no possible way to interpret that as anything other
>than "I believe in god", unless you contend that you can have an obligation to
>god without actually believing in it. ;-)

Maybe they can profess belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster

http://www.venganza.org/

or the Invisible Pink Unicorn

http://www.geocities.com/ipu_temple/




--
Dorothy

There is no sound, no cry in all the world
that can be heard unless someone listens ..

The Outer Limits
From: Sarah Vaughan on
user wrote:

> As I mentioned in another post, my son ( age 6 ) and I just had to
> leave the BSA because of the religious issue. My recollection from
> 30 years ago was that religion wasn't an issue at all. Now, the scout and
> parent ( for Tigers, at least ) have to sign a statement agreeing that
> only people with religious beliefs and who formally practice them
> are allowed to participate - their "Declaration of Religious Principals".

I'm curious - what did the leaders say when you tried discussing this
clause with them? I mean, were they not even willing to give you the
option of crossing that bit out and signing the rest (which is what I'd
have asked for in that situation), or what?


All the best,

Sarah
--
http://www.goodenoughmummy.typepad.com

"That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be" - P. C. Hodgell