Re: It's a religious thing.
(no name) ((no email))
Mon, 9 Dec 1991 20:41:00 EDT
The BSA does NOT "recognize" any ONE religion. They (as well as the eight
other youth0-service agencies in the USA) DO recognize a series of
religious awards that ARE NOT MADE BY THE BSA!!
Why do they have them in the Handbook and why is there a square knot for
both youth and adult awards, then?? Why is there a "push" to get those
The answer to all three of those questions are in the text before, but maybe
my several pages kinda went over your (and Chuck's) heads. Let me briefly
The awards are AUTHORIZED in a same manner as trail and activity medals are
authorized...as "awards to be worn in harmony with national or local policies
(BSA Bylaws)". They are the property of the various religious bodies who
make them available to Scouts and Explorers to earn and wear. So Chuck, you
are correct in your statement that "if I wanted to create a award for Scouts
believing in Druidism, then I can get BSA to use it." All that is needed is
for your religious body to create the award, requirements and to inform the
national relationships committee that the award exists for Scouts to wear.
That is how the Baptists got a special version of the God and Country Award
in 1977 and how the Association of Baptists for Scouting got the new God and
Life award made for them in 1980.
The ONLY reason why those awards are in the handbook and publized in Scouting
and Boys' Life is to verify their existance...I stated that Councils are NOT
going to place in their offices booklets on each religious award if only X
number, however small, is there earning the award. They are also shown in the
Insignia Control Guide as well for the same reason. You have to know what it
looks like before you seek it, in many cases. Scouts are not going to spend time
earning a medal if they don't know what it looks like.
DEs and other Professionals use the Religious Emblems Program as a critical
achievement goal in the program area. Stating something like "32% of all of
the eligible Boy Scouts in my District will earn the religious award of their
faith during my tenure as District Executive" (yeah..32 percent is a big number.
I use that as an example only!) That is why they are so hot about it. There
is NO pressure from anyone downward about the awards...the BSA really wants the
awards to reflect the religious nature of the person involved and not his or
her (female Explorers can and have earned the Pope Pius XII award!) Scouting
ability. As a matter of fact (trival trivia....), the national BSA office does
NOT keep stats AT ALL about how many youth have earned a religious award or
have received one for service. On ALL of the award certificates, not a single
Scout Executive signs it....so it keeps the "get get get" part out of it!
Again, as I stated in a previous posting, the ONLY reason why we have those
square knots is for the convience of the wearer. It serves as "substitute" for
the wearing of the actual medal in non-formal occasions. Since there were so
many awards being created, the BSA created the two knot patches for the
many people who have earned one or both awards.
Chuck, I cannot answer your questions. I am a Scouter and Scouting historian of
sorts, and am not a philosopher (even thought I have been told that I can
b.s. a lot!) nor a theologican. All I can tell you is that I do not agree with
all elements of the BSA's religious policies...I think that there is enough
space in the BSA for all faiths, even those that don't readily have one or
are confused between faiths. I do agree with the BSA's statement that in order
to be a "coping person" , one needs to have some sort of "coping mechanism".
That "coping mechanism" can be a faith, a set of principles, a code, whatever.
I don't care what your "coping mechanism" is...I *do* know what my coping
mechanism is, and I share elements of my mechanism as part of my living.
Adrian, I can answer yours by stating that Scouting has always recognized the
importance of religion...ALL religions. "A Scout is faithful in his religious
beliefs and respects the rights and beliefs of others." (Scout Law) While
Scouting has no "recognized awards" in the area of religion, it does allow for
twenty separate organizations to share their awards with Scouts and Scouters
to receive. The BSA created special devices (the knots and local patches in many
Councils) for its members to wear certifying award receipt. In that way, the
BSA upholds its responsibility to insure that all members grow in the area
of religious education.
I hope that I have clarified this a little. If not, we can continue to talk
onward. If so, can we *please* switch to another subject. I think that we have
driven this one in the wall so far its starting to come out the other side!!!
Settummanque!@HEY! What an analogy!!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City