From: user on
On 29 Oct 2007 06:02:44 -0700, Banty <Banty_member(a)newsguy.com> wrote:
> In article <6IKdnbDF3KgQTLjanZ2dnUVZ_j-dnZ2d(a)comcast.com>, Ericka Kammerer
> says...
>>
>>Banty wrote:
>>
>>> This stuff simply doesn't come up. The clauses you point to, once you look
>>> further, refer to a Scout's ability to define whay *he* means by God, and are
>>>backed by a rather broad acceptance of even non-theistic established religions.
>>
>> To be fair, whether or not "this stuff" comes up really is
>>dependent upon the location/troop/leaders/etc. I think it's a valid
>>point that when you're relying on local leadership not to put too
>>fine a point on national policy, there *is* the possibility that a
>>change in current leadership could result in a significant change
>>in what an individual scout might experience. There certainly exist
>>groups where the religious aspect is pushed harder than others.
>>If one wants a reasonable guarantee that the issue of religion won't
>>be pressed, it's perhaps not such a good idea to be involved with an
>>organization whose principles espouse religion as at least a technical
>>criteria for membership. It may not be the case in your neighborhood,
>>but I am certainly aware of groups where it's a bigger deal and
>>where someone would find religion more intrusive in the experience.
>> Will some people choose to value the other positive aspects
>>over the risk of potentially encountering an uncomfortable position
>>with religion? Sure, and that's also a valid choice. I just don't
>>think it's unreasonable to recognize the possibility of it happening
>>either.
>
> Everything is a "possibility". A rotten soccer coach can mess up a beloved
> activity, too! And like with the rotten soccer coach, the solution is to seek
> *another* Cub pack. There are no residency requirements, you know.
>
> Rich and his son weren't "kicked out". He searched out the policy and statemtns
> and found them not fitting his professed atheism, and decided they can't join.
> He had other options. If he were uncomfortable with the requirements of a Tiger
> leader, he can *not* be a den leader. He went TO THEM and stated his position,
> putting them in a spot where they pretty much had to do what they did.
>

Hmmm, I don't know, doesn't someone saying "We can't let you continue to be in the
pack" count as being "kicked out?" Or is it like "You can't fire me - I quit!" :-)

But see, that's the more general problem. In other posts, you, me, and
others have gone over the variations in local interpretation of the
national policies. That's pretty much the theme of this whole thread. ;-)
Like I said a few moments in another post, even if the locals had said "Hey,
we don't care what you do/don't believe, we'd rather have you stay", we probably
wouldn't have. But I'm confused about your statement "they pretty much had to do
what they did" - it seems to have the implication that there isn't local
flexibility. I mean, either there is, or there isn't. :-)


> Nothing wrong with a parent making a decision that certain groups are
> unappropriate for his family, however he may view it. My *point* about this is
> that, like Beth has noticed here, and I've noticed elsewhere, there's a problem
> with how this gets depicted, and it's in a direction to discourage Scout
> participation in general. Scout meetings and groups are being depicted as keen
> on ferreting out those godless heathens so we non-religious people had better
> not join.
>

The impression that any of that goes on in scout meetings is not something
I've seen. There definitely *are* points of overt religious symbolism in
at least some venues - the mess hall at Camp Cutler in Naples, NY, for example,
has a number of wall hangings with crosses and inspirational sayings that don't
leave much to the imagination as to their Christian origins. But no, there's nobody
running around with bibles and demanding that you be dunked in the local
pond so you can be baptised. ;-)


> If there are groups that *would* ferret out non-believers, I wouldn't be
> surprised. But frankly, I'm suspicious of those accounts, because this isnt'
> the first time, given more details after the first report, it's gotten down to
> someone actually going forward to test the policy, rather than any actual
> ferreting out of atheists.
>
> It's kinda parallel to the religious right's complaints about people "not being
> allowed to pray", but as it turns out people can pray all they want, they just
> can't take over public venues to lead *others* in prayer. But one has to get
> past the headline (informed by past similar incidents) to get to the facts.

That's a fair comparison, but I think it stems more from the fact that the
people doing the complaining are making the assumption that *all* space
belongs to god, by definition, and therefore any assertions to the contrary are
an affront to their deeply held beliefs.

- Rich

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

From: Banty on
In article <slrnfibu0q.ab4.Rich(a)zippy.mulveyfamily.com>, user says...
>
>On 29 Oct 2007 06:02:44 -0700, Banty <Banty_member(a)newsguy.com> wrote:
>> In article <6IKdnbDF3KgQTLjanZ2dnUVZ_j-dnZ2d(a)comcast.com>, Ericka Kammerer
>> says...
>>>
>>>Banty wrote:
>>>
>>>> This stuff simply doesn't come up. The clauses you point to, once you look
>>>>further, refer to a Scout's ability to define whay *he* means by God, and are
>>>>backed by a rather broad acceptance of even non-theistic established religions.
>>>
>>> To be fair, whether or not "this stuff" comes up really is
>>>dependent upon the location/troop/leaders/etc. I think it's a valid
>>>point that when you're relying on local leadership not to put too
>>>fine a point on national policy, there *is* the possibility that a
>>>change in current leadership could result in a significant change
>>>in what an individual scout might experience. There certainly exist
>>>groups where the religious aspect is pushed harder than others.
>>>If one wants a reasonable guarantee that the issue of religion won't
>>>be pressed, it's perhaps not such a good idea to be involved with an
>>>organization whose principles espouse religion as at least a technical
>>>criteria for membership. It may not be the case in your neighborhood,
>>>but I am certainly aware of groups where it's a bigger deal and
>>>where someone would find religion more intrusive in the experience.
>>> Will some people choose to value the other positive aspects
>>>over the risk of potentially encountering an uncomfortable position
>>>with religion? Sure, and that's also a valid choice. I just don't
>>>think it's unreasonable to recognize the possibility of it happening
>>>either.
>>
>> Everything is a "possibility". A rotten soccer coach can mess up a beloved
>>activity, too! And like with the rotten soccer coach, the solution is to seek
>> *another* Cub pack. There are no residency requirements, you know.
>>
>>Rich and his son weren't "kicked out". He searched out the policy and statemtns
>>and found them not fitting his professed atheism, and decided they can't join.
>>He had other options. If he were uncomfortable with the requirements of a Tiger
>>leader, he can *not* be a den leader. He went TO THEM and stated his position,
>> putting them in a spot where they pretty much had to do what they did.
>>
>
>Hmmm, I don't know, doesn't someone saying "We can't let you continue to be in
>the
>pack" count as being "kicked out?" Or is it like "You can't fire me - I quit!"
>:-)

I'm wondering though - truly you mean that you're completely unaware of the
national policies? Including ones that have had decisions made on the US
Supreme Court?

>
> But see, that's the more general problem. In other posts, you, me, and
>others have gone over the variations in local interpretation of the
>national policies. That's pretty much the theme of this whole thread. ;-)
>Like I said a few moments in another post, even if the locals had said "Hey,
>we don't care what you do/don't believe, we'd rather have you stay", we probably
>wouldn't have. But I'm confused about your statement "they pretty much had to
>do
>what they did" - it seems to have the implication that there isn't local
>flexibility. I mean, either there is, or there isn't. :-)

There *is* a lot of local willingness to let the *official* rule slide. When
someone walks up to them, and *states* "we are avowed athesists", they're in a
spot where they either have to ouwardly and officialy go against the offical
policy, or do what they did. Do I recall correctly that you actually proposed
that they draw up a *different* contract for you do sign? They have to turn in
those materials to Council - what would you have them do?

So, no, there's no other clause stating "Never mind about that clause we dont'
mean it you can do different locally." in the policy. Would there be? I mean,
I and others are telling you that these are *largely ignored* policies, and
you're coming back to say "but you said there was flexibility and see what
happened they weren't flexible when we told them to have us is agaisnt their
policy". Even, if I recall correctly, you even proposed they amend their
materials for you to sign. C'mon, Rich.

>
>
>> Nothing wrong with a parent making a decision that certain groups are
>>unappropriate for his family, however he may view it. My *point* about this is
>>that, like Beth has noticed here, and I've noticed elsewhere, there's a problem
>> with how this gets depicted, and it's in a direction to discourage Scout
>>participation in general. Scout meetings and groups are being depicted as keen
>> on ferreting out those godless heathens so we non-religious people had better
>> not join.
>>
>
> The impression that any of that goes on in scout meetings is not something
>I've seen. There definitely *are* points of overt religious symbolism in
>at least some venues - the mess hall at Camp Cutler in Naples, NY, for example,
>has a number of wall hangings with crosses and inspirational sayings that don't
>leave much to the imagination as to their Christian origins. But no, there's
>nobody
>running around with bibles and demanding that you be dunked in the local
>pond so you can be baptised. ;-)

Well, theyr'e not a public school; they're a private organization. You'd have
to deal with that the same way Hindu or Jewish or Muslim or Bhuddist Scouts do.

So - you went to camp already with your son at Camp Cutler?

>
>
>> If there are groups that *would* ferret out non-believers, I wouldn't be
>> surprised. But frankly, I'm suspicious of those accounts, because this isnt'
>>the first time, given more details after the first report, it's gotten down to
>> someone actually going forward to test the policy, rather than any actual
>> ferreting out of atheists.
>>
>>It's kinda parallel to the religious right's complaints about people "not being
>>allowed to pray", but as it turns out people can pray all they want, they just
>> can't take over public venues to lead *others* in prayer. But one has to get
>> past the headline (informed by past similar incidents) to get to the facts.
>
> That's a fair comparison, but I think it stems more from the fact that the
>people doing the complaining are making the assumption that *all* space
>belongs to god, by definition, and therefore any assertions to the contrary are
>an affront to their deeply held beliefs.
>

It's not the case either that *all* space has to be such that people of all
faiths, or no faith, would not see evidences of other faiths. And not just
places of worship.

Banty

From: Ericka Kammerer on
Banty wrote:

> Nothing wrong with a parent making a decision that certain groups are
> unappropriate for his family, however he may view it. My *point* about this is
> that, like Beth has noticed here, and I've noticed elsewhere, there's a problem
> with how this gets depicted, and it's in a direction to discourage Scout
> participation in general. Scout meetings and groups are being depicted as keen
> on ferreting out those godless heathens so we non-religious people had better
> not join.

I agree that there is misinformation all over the place, and
I'm not condoning it on either side.

> If there are groups that *would* ferret out non-believers, I wouldn't be
> surprised. But frankly, I'm suspicious of those accounts, because this isnt'
> the first time, given more details after the first report, it's gotten down to
> someone actually going forward to test the policy, rather than any actual
> ferreting out of atheists.

Personally, I do know of groups that do stress the
religious component. They don't necessarily go so far as to kick
non-religious kids out and make a huge media-worthy fight out of
it, but they would be rather uncomfortable for someone who was
not religious, and their practice *is* in line with national
policies. And while you can find another group, that can be
easier to do in some regions than in others, where the number of
nearby groups may be limited or where the prevailing culture is
religious enough that many of the local BSA groups reflect that.
Even if other groups are a dime a dozen, there can be fallout from
leaving a group of friends (do you explain why?) and joining another
group. At least around here, most kids are in the group they're in
because that's where their friends and neighbors are. So, I can
understand being a bit hesitant, particularly if you don't know
the group well enough initially to know what you're getting into
before you get started. Perhaps I've just spent more time in the
Bible Belt, and thus have seen a different set of groups than the
ones you've experienced. I wouldn't say that all, or even most,
of the groups I've known anything about had such strong religious
overtones, but it's been enough that I don't really see it as a
rare occurrence (even though I'd agree that the big media stink
occasions are rare).
Again, I get your point that issues are not a guaranteed
outcome. My only point is that it's fair for people to understand
what the official position is, what the local interpretation is,
and that local interpretation can change (to be more *or* less in
line with national policy) if and when local leadership changes.
Some will find that's a worthwhile risk to take, and others won't.
And it's fair for people to know national policy, even if it isn't
implemented locally, because some may choose to be purists in the
matter, even if that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater in
your opinion.

Best wishes,
Ericka
From: user on
On 29 Oct 2007 08:51:17 -0700, Banty <Banty_member(a)newsguy.com> wrote:

( Much deletion as we seem to be interleaving questions and responses )

>
> There *is* a lot of local willingness to let the *official* rule slide. When
> someone walks up to them, and *states* "we are avowed athesists", they're in a
> spot where they either have to ouwardly and officialy go against the offical
> policy, or do what they did. Do I recall correctly that you actually proposed
> that they draw up a *different* contract for you do sign? They have to turn in
> those materials to Council - what would you have them do?
>

No, I hadn't proposed asking them to change any of the contracts, etc. - I
think someone else in the thread had proposed doing it, but my response
was basically, "Their ball, their rules, not my place to ask for change."


> ... Even, if I recall correctly, you even proposed they amend their
> materials for you to sign. C'mon, Rich.
>

See above. :-)



> Well, theyr'e not a public school; they're a private organization. You'd have
> to deal with that the same way Hindu or Jewish or Muslim or Bhuddist Scouts do.
>
> So - you went to camp already with your son at Camp Cutler?
>

It was one of several unofficial get-togethers over the summer back in
July. There were "real" scouts there at the time, and they had all of the
incoming ones come up for a day to check things out and do a bunch of
activities. Ever been there? The facilities are *incredible*. I was amused
that they even had a building for parents who hated camping to sleep in. ;-)


- Rich

--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
From: Banty on
In article <sNydnVVNAfr6nrvanZ2dnUVZ_gydnZ2d(a)comcast.com>, Ericka Kammerer
says...
>
>Banty wrote:
>
>> Nothing wrong with a parent making a decision that certain groups are
>>unappropriate for his family, however he may view it. My *point* about this is
>>that, like Beth has noticed here, and I've noticed elsewhere, there's a problem
>> with how this gets depicted, and it's in a direction to discourage Scout
>>participation in general. Scout meetings and groups are being depicted as keen
>> on ferreting out those godless heathens so we non-religious people had better
>> not join.
>
> I agree that there is misinformation all over the place, and
>I'm not condoning it on either side.
>
>> If there are groups that *would* ferret out non-believers, I wouldn't be
>> surprised. But frankly, I'm suspicious of those accounts, because this isnt'
>>the first time, given more details after the first report, it's gotten down to
>> someone actually going forward to test the policy, rather than any actual
>> ferreting out of atheists.
>
> Personally, I do know of groups that do stress the
>religious component. They don't necessarily go so far as to kick
>non-religious kids out and make a huge media-worthy fight out of
>it, but they would be rather uncomfortable for someone who was
>not religious, and their practice *is* in line with national
>policies. And while you can find another group, that can be
>easier to do in some regions than in others, where the number of
>nearby groups may be limited or where the prevailing culture is
>religious enough that many of the local BSA groups reflect that.
>Even if other groups are a dime a dozen, there can be fallout from
>leaving a group of friends (do you explain why?) and joining another
>group. At least around here, most kids are in the group they're in
>because that's where their friends and neighbors are. So, I can
>understand being a bit hesitant, particularly if you don't know
>the group well enough initially to know what you're getting into
>before you get started. Perhaps I've just spent more time in the
>Bible Belt, and thus have seen a different set of groups than the
>ones you've experienced. I wouldn't say that all, or even most,
>of the groups I've known anything about had such strong religious
>overtones, but it's been enough that I don't really see it as a
>rare occurrence (even though I'd agree that the big media stink
>occasions are rare).

Well, sure, there are those things to consider.

I could also bet that, in bible belt areas, a lot of the Scout groups are
religious in nature. But having grown up in the bible belt, I can attest that
it can be pervasive enough that *any* group (even the public schools!), get
affected, and it's a problem no matter what one does, whether one is atheist,
agnostic, or a member of a 'different' religion. (Even Catholic!)

Maybe it's that very experience of walking these lines that lead me to this kind
of conclusion.

> Again, I get your point that issues are not a guaranteed
>outcome. My only point is that it's fair for people to understand
>what the official position is, what the local interpretation is,
>and that local interpretation can change (to be more *or* less in
>line with national policy) if and when local leadership changes.
>Some will find that's a worthwhile risk to take, and others won't.
>And it's fair for people to know national policy, even if it isn't
>implemented locally, because some may choose to be purists in the
>matter, even if that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater in
>your opinion.
>

Sure.

Banty