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Re: [Scouter_T] Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum

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  • Debbie Beer
    I will have to agree that I agree with the Scouting director. The requirement of belief in a higher power and reverence are clearly stated. My only question
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 7, 2002
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      I will have to agree that I agree with the Scouting director. The
      requirement of belief in a higher power and reverence are clearly stated.
      My only question is how did this young man get so far in scouting and make
      these advancements if he was not reverent?

      At philmont I was told time and time again. Boy Scouting is what National
      says Boy Scouting is. Doing anything else is just doing things in a Boy
      Scout uniform. Someone along the way was doing just that - doing things in
      a Boy Scout uniform. Now look at the grief it has caused.

      There are other organizations that this young man can belong to. However,
      being Atheist, he believes in nothing, so many other organizations may ban
      his membership as well.

      Leaders, and all others involved in scouting. Please remember Scouting is
      what BSA says it is. Not want you say it is. Please stop trying to
      reinvent the wheel. Just follow the program the way it is designed. It is
      a wonderful program with wonderful outcomes if you follow it the way it is
      designed.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ida Lively" <glezen@...>
      To: "Scouter-T" <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>; "Scouter-T"
      <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 2:25 PM
      Subject: [Scouter_T] Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum


      > Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum
      > Tue Oct 29, 8:48 PM ET
      >
      >
      > PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) - Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert has earned 37 merit
      > badges, worked more than 1,000 hours of community service and helps lead a
      > Boy Scout troop in his hometown.
      >
      >
      > But the 19-year-old has another distinction that may lead to his removal
      > from the Boy Scouts: He's an atheist.
      >
      >
      > Last week, Lambert was given roughly a week by the Boy Scouts' regional
      > executive to declare belief in a supreme being and comply with Boy Scout
      > policy, or quit the Scouts. The official and Lambert were to talk again
      this
      > week regarding Lambert's answer, although a definite date hadn't been set
      by
      > Tuesday.
      >
      >
      > "We've asked him to search his heart, to confer with family members, to
      give
      > this great thought," Brad Farmer, the Scout executive of the Chief Seattle
      > Council of the Boy Scouts, told The Sun of Bremerton. "If he says he's an
      > avowed atheist, he does not meet the standards of membership."
      >
      >
      > On membership applications, Boy Scouts and adult leaders must say they
      > recognize some higher power, not necessarily religious. "Mother Nature
      would
      > be acceptable," Farmer said.
      >
      >
      > As a private organization, the Boy Scouts are permitted to exclude certain
      > people from membership. The organization bans gays and atheists.
      >
      >
      > Lambert, who has been a Scout since he was 9, said he won't profess a
      belief
      > he doesn't feel, saying it amounts to a lie. "I wouldn't be a good Scout
      > then, would I?"
      >
      >
      > The issue arose about three weeks ago when Lambert got into an argument
      with
      > a Scout leader at a Boy Scout leadership training seminar over whether
      > atheists should be expelled from the organization. Farmer's office soon
      > contacted him to talk about his nonbelief.
      >
      >
      > Lambert disclosed his atheism to Scout leaders overseeing his Eagle Scout
      > application last year, but still received the award.
      >
      >
      > The issue has surfaced before. In 1998, 16-year-old twins Michael and
      > William Randall, who refused to take an oath to God, were awarded Eagle
      > badges after a seven-year legal fight with the Orange County, Calif.,
      > council.
      >
      >
      > ___
      >
      > On the Net:
      >
      > Seattle Council, Boy Scouts of America: http://www.seattlebsa.org
      >
      >
      >
      > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
      > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
    • Michael Brown
      ... stated. ... and make ... It doesn t have to be that rigid. Read some of the documents at the WOSM website. Scouting is based on three fundamental
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 7, 2002
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        --- In scouter_t@y..., "Debbie Beer" <beer@c...> wrote:
        > I will have to agree that I agree with the Scouting director. The
        > requirement of belief in a higher power and reverence are clearly
        stated.
        > My only question is how did this young man get so far in scouting
        and make
        > these advancements if he was not reverent?
        >

        It doesn't have to be that rigid.

        Read some of the documents at the WOSM website.

        Scouting is based on three fundamental principles: duty to God, duty
        to others, and duty to self. Without these, you don't have Scouting.

        WOSM makes it clear that "Duty to God" mearly means doing your
        religious duties, whatever they may be. WOSM does not define what
        those duties are or what God is.

        BSA follows that policy (tho some don't seem to understand this).
        The BSA does NOT define what God is or have a list of acceptable
        religious, etc. The BSA is NOT a Christian or a Judeo-Christian
        organization. Nor do you even have to be a member of an organized
        religion. So long as YOU do not have a problem with "doing your duty
        to God" as YOU define it, there is no issue.

        In this case, this scouter intended to ignore a fundamental principle
        and now feels he should get it dropped. Its clear the scout council
        tried to work with him to accept some kind of 'higher power', no
        matter how vague. He wouldn't do that. So he's out.

        This is not just a "BSA issue", but a world scouting issue.

        That's all I have to say on the matter.

        Michael Brown
        SW Florida Council, BSA
      • Debbie Beer
        True I have personally told leaders that scouts can believe in whomever their God is. We are not to define what their higher power is. Atheist as you know
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 7, 2002
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          True I have personally told leaders that scouts can believe in whomever
          their God is. We are not to define what their higher power is.

          Atheist as you know means that they do not have belief in anything.
          Therefore, he did not do his duty to any God, because he does not have any
          belief in a higher power.

          However, I feel sorry for this young man that he was lead this far and then
          told oh sorry now we are going to enforce the rules. That in itself is a
          real shame.

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Michael Brown" <emb021@...>
          To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2002 2:56 PM
          Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum


          > --- In scouter_t@y..., "Debbie Beer" <beer@c...> wrote:
          > > I will have to agree that I agree with the Scouting director. The
          > > requirement of belief in a higher power and reverence are clearly
          > stated.
          > > My only question is how did this young man get so far in scouting
          > and make
          > > these advancements if he was not reverent?
          > >
          >
          > It doesn't have to be that rigid.
          >
          > Read some of the documents at the WOSM website.
          >
          > Scouting is based on three fundamental principles: duty to God, duty
          > to others, and duty to self. Without these, you don't have Scouting.
          >
          > WOSM makes it clear that "Duty to God" mearly means doing your
          > religious duties, whatever they may be. WOSM does not define what
          > those duties are or what God is.
          >
          > BSA follows that policy (tho some don't seem to understand this).
          > The BSA does NOT define what God is or have a list of acceptable
          > religious, etc. The BSA is NOT a Christian or a Judeo-Christian
          > organization. Nor do you even have to be a member of an organized
          > religion. So long as YOU do not have a problem with "doing your duty
          > to God" as YOU define it, there is no issue.
          >
          > In this case, this scouter intended to ignore a fundamental principle
          > and now feels he should get it dropped. Its clear the scout council
          > tried to work with him to accept some kind of 'higher power', no
          > matter how vague. He wouldn't do that. So he's out.
          >
          > This is not just a "BSA issue", but a world scouting issue.
          >
          > That's all I have to say on the matter.
          >
          > Michael Brown
          > SW Florida Council, BSA
          >
          >
          > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
          > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
        • Chris Jacobi
          Such stories make me sad. What is wrong with us that we can t survive a person with different religion? I have real qualms to entrust my children to people
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 10, 2002
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            Such stories make me sad. What is wrong with us that
            we can't survive a person with different religion?

            I have real qualms to entrust my children to people
            who take their religion as a reason to hurt others.

            If you would read the excerpt from the declaration
            of religious principle, you'd see that it requires
            recognition of the religious element in the training
            of the member...
            I fail to see a mandate to purge atheists from scouts
            in these words.

            As next, should we take away their money, because
            it has "in God we trust" printed on it?

            Chris
          • Bill Nelson
            This, indeed, is an unfortunate occurrence. And seems to have happened because of a series of mistakes, or omissions by other adults and by the young man
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 10, 2002
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              This, indeed, is an unfortunate occurrence. And seems to have
              happened because of a series of mistakes, or omissions by other
              adults and by the young man himself. It is also a good news story.
              News stories are 'news' when the unusual occurs. When a young man
              who does not believe in one of the fundamental principles of
              Scouting wants to belong to Scouts that is unusual, so it is news.
              The fact that 4 million others do believe in the principles and want
              to belong is not news and so is not reported. It is the
              old 'dog bites man' vs. 'man bites dog' adage...

              First off, a Boy Scout is taught that the the Scout Oath, Law,
              Outdoor Code, slogan and motto are very serious guidelines for how
              to run his life. He is asked when he joins if he can abide by these
              principles. If he cannot or will not, he cannot join. It is
              explained to him that this is a matter of his personal honor and a
              very serious step. As he moves through the ranks
              of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle, he is
              reminded of this promise at his Scoutmaster conference (we call this
              the Scout Spirit requirement). At each troop meeting and major
              Scouting event, the Oath and Law are recited, solumely, by all
              Scouts present. If there is anything that is consistant in BSA
              Scouting, throughout the entire organization, it is the abiding of
              these basic principles. One can say, they are what makes a BSA
              Scout a Scout.

              It has been reported by the young man and a woman from his troop who
              also was present at his Eagle board of review (before he was 18)
              that he told the board that he did not believe in God, but they
              passed him anyway. Mrs. Lambert said several board members
              complimented her for having a son with courage and integrity. It is
              unclear exactly what transpired during that board to cause this
              effect. Normally, the board is asked to determine the
              Scout Spirit requirement, which for Eagle, like all other ranks in
              the Boy Scout program is defined as: Demonstrate Scout spirit by
              living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life.
              The 1st duty in the Scout Oath is a Scout's Duty to God, and the
              last point of the Scout Law is that a Scout is Reverent ("A Scout is
              reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He
              respects the beliefs of others.") On the face of it, the board
              should not have passed him, and the Scout Executive of his
              council said as much a few days ago. But once and Eagle award is
              given to a youth, it is rarely revoked.

              He said he was an atheist since 9th grade, it is interesting to note
              that his mother was his Scoutmaster from that time forward and that
              each rank does have a similar Scout Spirit requirement that should
              be signed off by the Scoutmaster.

              One wonders what was going through the young man's mind when he
              weekly recited an oath that said he would do his best to do his duty
              to God, when he didn't believe in God. In this day and age, maybe
              breaking oaths and telling an untruth is not that unusual. In
              Scouting, it is.

              If he does not believe in God, we respect his beliefs, we just ask
              him to respect the beliefs of the organization. The question is,
              can he put his fingers in the air and say: `On my honor I will do my
              best to do my duty to God?' For the Boy Scouts to insist on anything
              less would be unfair to the other five million members. It would be
              a disservice to all the other members to allow someone to
              selectively obey or ignore our rules.

              It should also be noted that he did have to sign an adult
              application to become an Assistant Scoutmaster, and in it he needs
              to sign a statement that he subscribes to the Declaration of
              Religious Principles (which is printed on the application). He said
              he 'glossed over' that when he signed the application. Well at age
              19, it is time to stop 'glossing over' what you sign.

              It is not unusual for young people to question faith and religion.
              In fact, the BSA processes allow us as Scoutmasters to refer youth
              who question their faith to their parents and religious leaders
              rather than removing them from the program (we probably should not
              be advancing them though if they don't say they do a duty to God).
              If they continue to reject the Scout Oath, they should be asked to
              leave. However at 19 he is no longer considered a youth in the Boy
              Scout program and he wanted to continue as a teacher in the program,
              in an adult position that we call an Assistant Scoutmaster. The
              process is not as flexible for adults as it is for youth. If an
              adult does not subscribe to a duty to God or the Declaration of
              Religious Principles, he cannot remain a teacher in the program.

              My 2-cents. I hope this is of some assistance.

              Bill Nelson
            • Debbie Beer
              Amen. I think you have said it all in this letter. My hat is off to you! ... From: Bill Nelson To:
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
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                Amen. I think you have said it all in this letter. My hat is off to you!
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Bill Nelson" <bnelson45@...>
                To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:48 PM
                Subject: [Scouter_T] Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum


                > This, indeed, is an unfortunate occurrence. And seems to have
                > happened because of a series of mistakes, or omissions by other
                > adults and by the young man himself. It is also a good news story.
                > News stories are 'news' when the unusual occurs. When a young man
                > who does not believe in one of the fundamental principles of
                > Scouting wants to belong to Scouts that is unusual, so it is news.
                > The fact that 4 million others do believe in the principles and want
                > to belong is not news and so is not reported. It is the
                > old 'dog bites man' vs. 'man bites dog' adage...
                >
                > First off, a Boy Scout is taught that the the Scout Oath, Law,
                > Outdoor Code, slogan and motto are very serious guidelines for how
                > to run his life. He is asked when he joins if he can abide by these
                > principles. If he cannot or will not, he cannot join. It is
                > explained to him that this is a matter of his personal honor and a
                > very serious step. As he moves through the ranks
                > of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle, he is
                > reminded of this promise at his Scoutmaster conference (we call this
                > the Scout Spirit requirement). At each troop meeting and major
                > Scouting event, the Oath and Law are recited, solumely, by all
                > Scouts present. If there is anything that is consistant in BSA
                > Scouting, throughout the entire organization, it is the abiding of
                > these basic principles. One can say, they are what makes a BSA
                > Scout a Scout.
                >
                > It has been reported by the young man and a woman from his troop who
                > also was present at his Eagle board of review (before he was 18)
                > that he told the board that he did not believe in God, but they
                > passed him anyway. Mrs. Lambert said several board members
                > complimented her for having a son with courage and integrity. It is
                > unclear exactly what transpired during that board to cause this
                > effect. Normally, the board is asked to determine the
                > Scout Spirit requirement, which for Eagle, like all other ranks in
                > the Boy Scout program is defined as: Demonstrate Scout spirit by
                > living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life.
                > The 1st duty in the Scout Oath is a Scout's Duty to God, and the
                > last point of the Scout Law is that a Scout is Reverent ("A Scout is
                > reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He
                > respects the beliefs of others.") On the face of it, the board
                > should not have passed him, and the Scout Executive of his
                > council said as much a few days ago. But once and Eagle award is
                > given to a youth, it is rarely revoked.
                >
                > He said he was an atheist since 9th grade, it is interesting to note
                > that his mother was his Scoutmaster from that time forward and that
                > each rank does have a similar Scout Spirit requirement that should
                > be signed off by the Scoutmaster.
                >
                > One wonders what was going through the young man's mind when he
                > weekly recited an oath that said he would do his best to do his duty
                > to God, when he didn't believe in God. In this day and age, maybe
                > breaking oaths and telling an untruth is not that unusual. In
                > Scouting, it is.
                >
                > If he does not believe in God, we respect his beliefs, we just ask
                > him to respect the beliefs of the organization. The question is,
                > can he put his fingers in the air and say: `On my honor I will do my
                > best to do my duty to God?' For the Boy Scouts to insist on anything
                > less would be unfair to the other five million members. It would be
                > a disservice to all the other members to allow someone to
                > selectively obey or ignore our rules.
                >
                > It should also be noted that he did have to sign an adult
                > application to become an Assistant Scoutmaster, and in it he needs
                > to sign a statement that he subscribes to the Declaration of
                > Religious Principles (which is printed on the application). He said
                > he 'glossed over' that when he signed the application. Well at age
                > 19, it is time to stop 'glossing over' what you sign.
                >
                > It is not unusual for young people to question faith and religion.
                > In fact, the BSA processes allow us as Scoutmasters to refer youth
                > who question their faith to their parents and religious leaders
                > rather than removing them from the program (we probably should not
                > be advancing them though if they don't say they do a duty to God).
                > If they continue to reject the Scout Oath, they should be asked to
                > leave. However at 19 he is no longer considered a youth in the Boy
                > Scout program and he wanted to continue as a teacher in the program,
                > in an adult position that we call an Assistant Scoutmaster. The
                > process is not as flexible for adults as it is for youth. If an
                > adult does not subscribe to a duty to God or the Declaration of
                > Religious Principles, he cannot remain a teacher in the program.
                >
                > My 2-cents. I hope this is of some assistance.
                >
                > Bill Nelson
                >
                >
                > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
                > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
              • Debbie Beer
                Remember! This young man said he was an Atheist. He has no religion. This is not about tolerance of another religion. It is about this young man having no
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
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                  Remember! This young man said he was an Atheist. He has no religion. This
                  is not about tolerance of another religion. It is about this young man
                  having no religion and taking an oath that says Duty to God. He has no
                  respect for that oath or anything it stands for.

                  Scouting teaches values. One of the most sacred values is to be a man of
                  your word.



                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Chris Jacobi" <jacobi@...>
                  To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:30 PM
                  Subject: Re: [Scouter_T] Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum


                  > Such stories make me sad. What is wrong with us that
                  > we can't survive a person with different religion?
                  >
                  > I have real qualms to entrust my children to people
                  > who take their religion as a reason to hurt others.
                  >
                  > If you would read the excerpt from the declaration
                  > of religious principle, you'd see that it requires
                  > recognition of the religious element in the training
                  > of the member...
                  > I fail to see a mandate to purge atheists from scouts
                  > in these words.
                  >
                  > As next, should we take away their money, because
                  > it has "in God we trust" printed on it?
                  >
                  > Chris
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
                  > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                • Debbie Beer
                  Maybe it is just that you do not know the meaning of the word atheist. Note you refer to religious element. Atheist - no belief - therefore, no religion. If
                  Message 8 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
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                    Maybe it is just that you do not know the meaning of the word atheist. Note
                    you refer to religious element. Atheist - no belief - therefore, no
                    religion.

                    If you would read the excerpt from the declaration
                    of religious principle, you'd see that it requires
                    recognition of the religious element in the training
                    of the member...

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Chris Jacobi" <jacobi@...>
                    To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:30 PM
                    Subject: Re: [Scouter_T] Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum


                    > Such stories make me sad. What is wrong with us that
                    > we can't survive a person with different religion?
                    >
                    > I have real qualms to entrust my children to people
                    > who take their religion as a reason to hurt others.
                    >
                    > If you would read the excerpt from the declaration
                    > of religious principle, you'd see that it requires
                    > recognition of the religious element in the training
                    > of the member...
                    > I fail to see a mandate to purge atheists from scouts
                    > in these words.
                    >
                    > As next, should we take away their money, because
                    > it has "in God we trust" printed on it?
                    >
                    > Chris
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
                    > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
                    >
                    > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                  • Michael Brown
                    ... We don t have an issue with different religions. One can believe any religion and be involved in scouting. The person in question is an atheist. That
                    Message 9 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
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                      --- In scouter_t@y..., Chris Jacobi <jacobi@a...> wrote:
                      > Such stories make me sad. What is wrong with us that
                      > we can't survive a person with different religion?
                      >

                      We don't have an issue with different religions. One can believe any
                      religion and be involved in scouting.

                      The person in question is an atheist. That means is he 'has no
                      religion'.

                      Also, HE made an issue of it. The council tried to be resonable,
                      even telling him to say he 'believed in mother nature' or the like
                      and it would be ok. Further, he wants to eliminate 'duty to God'
                      from Scouting. Sorry, but that's a fundamental principle of
                      Scouting. Without it, it isn't scouting.

                      To try to tie it back with the topic of this group: Training, let me
                      add this.

                      This issue shows two issues that can be addressed by training:

                      * What is Scouting? Too many people don't understand this. Its
                      clearly covered in training, but how many take it, or take it and not
                      pay attention to it.

                      * What do we mean by "Duty to God"? Too many take the attitude that
                      you have to be a member of a church/etc., be Christian/Jewish, etc.
                      which causes problems for youth. Boys going for Eagle are NOT
                      required to have a letter from a religious leader if they aren't a
                      member of a formal religious group. I read that one council turned
                      away a muslim boy because "Scoutings only for Christians and Jews".
                      And some 'new age spiritual types' have formed a rival 'scouting
                      group' because they have been made unwelcome in the BSA. I think a
                      lot of this could be solved by better training in this area.

                      Michael Brown
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