Re: It's a religious thing.
Mon, 9 Dec 1991 14:14:47 CST
> From: "SETTUMMANQUE' or 'BLACKEAGLE'...it's still me!!!"
> Subject: Re: It's a religious thing.
> Thanks for your inquiry about the religious emblems program. That is the
> official name for a set of medals and pendant awards recognized by the BSA
> as well as nine other youth-serving agencies in the United States.
> One of the biggest deals with these awards is what you are thinking. THESE
> ARE NOT BSA AWARDS!!!!
> Again, for emphasis, Chuck: These are NOT BSA awards. That is why the
> requirements are available in separate booklets paid for with monies from
> the sales of the awards, lapel pins, etc. as well as from funding and special
> collections in many churches during Scout Sunday.
> As I stated, there are 20 faiths that have at least one religious award
> available for youth to earn and wear: Armenian, Baptists, Buddhist, Eastern
> Rite Catholic, Episcopal, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Lutheran, Moravian,
> the "traditional" and the Reorganized Churches of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
> Saints, Polish National Catholic, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army,
> the Association of Unity Churches, Unitarian Universalists, and Zorostrians.
> Mike Walton
> Richmond, Kentucky
Thanks for the info, Mike. I was awarded the God and Country Award in
1967, when I was a Life Scout. I'm somewhat familiar with that award,
though I suspect that it has changed in the intervening 24 years.
I wasn't trying to be contentious. I realized that the awards are
separate from the BSA, but recognized by the BSA. My problem is with
the idea of "God" being a part of the BSA at all.
I am uncomfortable that an authority (scouting, individual scouters)
recognizes any finite list of religions. God qua God is a subtle
concept, perhaps too much so for young folks. Moreover, the "God" that
I have seen bandied about in this mailing list is very much a product
of Western Thinking, despite the appearance of Buddhism, Hinduism, and
Zoroastrianism in the list you cite.** Surely God is greater than this
list of religions makes a pretense of.
Kids wanting to appease authority figures, wanting to curry favor might
reasonably think, "Gee, I should get the GOD AS X award. That will
make me a better scout in the eyes of the powers-that-be." A dangerous
thought, especially coming from one so young. It is so limiting, so
non-investigative, so traditional, so establishment, so bourgeois, so
capitalist, so heterosexist, so patriarchal, and so on down the list of
offensive strictures running through Western Thinking. I cringe at the
thought of young folks seeking God as a means to further their status
in the troop, in the eyes of the scout leaders, in the eyes of their
parents. I should think that God cringes, as well, although being God,
He forgives. Kind of goes with His job.
There is too much traditionalism in the current thinking. Where are
the Druids? The theists? The pantheists? The deists? The animists?
The Earth Worshippers? The Wiccans? The Native American
Spiritualists? The Marxists? The Maoists? The secular humanists?
(Perhaps the Unitarians fulfill that role.) Not there. Not in THE
list. Yet, any scout who legitimately questions the dominance of the
"recognized" religions will likely be ostracized and marginalized. The
oft-repeated thoughts of this group are indicative of the
traditionalism that dominates Scouting.
If there is truly a God, then He/She/It/They/Whatever/Pronoun-of-Choice
cannot be limited by the feeble attempts of human beings to confine God
within a single religion's ritual and doctrine, or even within a list
of such religions, no matter how long the list. No list holds God.
Lists make me uncomfortable. Thoughts and feelings are much larger
than any list can ever be. Dump the list or add a category for "Free
Thinking." I would much rather have a scout come up to me and say,
"Hey, Chuck, I think I've mastered this Hegelian dialectics thing!" or
ask "Why do the banks and the industrialists get richer while the
workers are getting poorer?" than have a scout toady, no matter how
innocently, "I've earned the "GOD AS X" award because I've learned the
doctrine [no matter how antique and obsolete] of my church and I was a
good boy and I performed [some meaningless task masquerading as] a
service project at my church."
Take God out of Scouting, or make the God that Scouting recognizes as
large as the Universe and not as small as a single human mind, even
minds as beautiful and subtle as Buddha's, Christ's, Moses', and so on.
**--One wonders how many practicing Zoroastrians there are in the U.S.
The mind boggles! I hope that none of those Zoroastrians practice
immolation of the widow on the funeral pyre of her husband. Not
required any longer, but still practiced as late as early in this
century. Again, the mind boggles!
Chuck McCaffrey firstname.lastname@example.org 217-384-8500 opinions=mine
Music never comes unbidden to the mind.
It is a beautiful private language, independent of words,
made up of association and memory. And no one listens to it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City