Wed, 27 Nov 1991 13:22:11 CST
Guido Witmond asks:
> Is a prayer really neccesary?
> There are people without any believe in a God.
> Do these have to listen to the prays said by a select group?
> Or do we respect each other and give people the opportunity to say
> a pray by himself. This shows respect from both believers and
> non-believers. No matter what believe people choose.
Paul Russel responds with some reasonable-sounding comments, saying in
essence that Scouting maintains a belief in a higher being as one of
its central tenets, that prayers at Scouting functions are therefore
appropriate, and that people who do not "believe" can reasonably be
expected to acquiesce silently to the prayer, much as "non-believers"
would politely and without noticeable dissent attend the religous
wedding ceremony of a friend.
If we were dealing with adults, Paul, I would agree with you. But
young people of scout age are probably not equipped to understand a
concept as subtle and elegant as "God," by whatever name we call
Her/Him/Them/It. At that age, they usually parrot the beliefs of their
parents and those of the dominant culture. Therefore, they are not
truly free to make up their minds on the questions of God and whether
or not they want to pray. They probably will pray, because of the
pressure exerted by the cultural hegemony of eurochristism. Thus, the
performance of prayers at Scouting functions becomes just another
conduit for the dominant culture to self-perpetuate, unquestioningly,
not a genuine expression of thanks or universal love, and these kinds
of prayers we can do without.
Moreover, there are people who genuinely, deeply believe in a value
system other than the dominant
eurochristic-heterosexual-patriarchal-capitalist system. Me, for
example. Asking them to accept a prayer in polite silence is asking
them to renounce their basic beliefs. Their beliefs are just as valid
as those of the dominant culture, and in America, we believe in the
right of individuals to hold minority opinions. Not only do we believe
in that, we have made it a Constitutionally protected right. Just as
most of us in this discussion will not silently give up our beliefs, so
would not people who reject eurochristism. Why should they remain
silent while others promulgate something they find repugnant? Out of
politeness? Not a realistic picture. It is another example of the
rude instrusiveness of eurochristism that it expects other folks to
accept its dominance silently. Thanks, but I'll remain a dissenter,
and I'll dissent as loudly as I can. I will not blindly follow the
leaders of the Scouting movement any more than I will follow anyone
blindly. I will not. I will not. I will not.
Thus, force-feeding eurochristic prayers to young people in Scouting is
distasteful to me and frankly unAmerican. I think a much better
display of the central tenets of Scouting is a non-denominational
statement of thanks for the joys of human experience, including respect
for all human life, sisterhood, and brotherhood, as Don Izard has
wisely politely suggested. Let individual families take care of
teaching what they wish vis a vis God or whatever they believe in.
Scouting does not require God, but rather brotherhood and universal
love and respect for all humanity, participation in an Emersonian
oversoul, perhaps, but not subjugation to any God. Frankly, any
Scouting that includes the hateful, punishing, murderous Jehovah I have
heard some "religious" folks talk about is not a Scouting that I want
to have anything to do with.
\Chuck McCaffrey firstname.lastname@example.org 217-384-8585 opinions=mine
\ For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale,
/\ And for each unharmful gentle soul misplaced inside a jail,
/ \ And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City