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Re: [Scouter_T] Re: Atheist Eagle Scout Gets Ultimatum

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  • Debbie Beer
    Amen. I think you have said it all in this letter. My hat is off to you! ... From: Bill Nelson To:
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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