Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 10 , Nov 7, 2002
      --- 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 2 of 10 , Nov 7, 2002
        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 3 of 10 , Nov 10, 2002
          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 4 of 10 , Nov 10, 2002
            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 5 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
              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 6 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
                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 7 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
                  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 8 of 10 , Nov 11, 2002
                    --- 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
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.