Reply to Don's comments
Michael Halla (MHALLA@IUBVM.BITNET)
Mon, 11 May 1992 09:42:46 EST
>Date: Mon, 11 May 1992 09:57:52 EDT
>Sender: SCOUTS-L Youth Groups Discussion List <SCOUTS-L@TCUBVM.BINET>
>From: Don Izard <IZARD@UBVM.BITNET>
>Subject: Re: Boy Scout GOD ruling
>AND, make no mistake, I do not think we should change the scout law or the
>scout oath, or the pledge to the flag!! ...
My question is how can the oath remain unchanged if a scout can choose to
omit reciting part of the oath? For all practical purposes that changes
the oath. What other parts of the oath might scouts begin to choose to
ignore as soon as the precedent is set by making the duty to God clause
optional? How soon before any oath is acceptable or even not subscribing
to any part of the oath? For the "me" generation I could see an oath like
"On my honor I will do my best to help myself and cheat the rest." How
about some fundamental discussion on the value and purposes of the scout
>I strongly stand behind the religious connections with scouting!
>But if our program is Strong and morally correct, it will not be
>damaged by allowing GIRLS or GAYS or GODless to be members.
In my opinion the danger of damage to the program does exist. Staying with
the duty to God theme as the basis for my reply, it is reasonable today for
a parent to assume that under current scout policy, their son's belief in
God will not be threatened by being a scout. Parents have recourse today
by which to challenge the preaching of atheism or godlessness. These parents
will loose this right if the appeal of the California judge's ruling is lost.
Will we end up with Boy Scouts being like Baskin Robbins only with 31 flavors
of scouting instead of ice cream? Will religious parents need to check out
a pack or den first to determine whether it has a non-religious orientation
and if so search further for a pack for their boy to join? When I go to the
store to buy a carton of vanilla ice cream, the label on the outside is all I
need to be guaranteed that the contents consists not of chocolate or strawberry
but is in fact vanilla. If such is not the case upon opening the carton,
I can return the ice cream for a refund or replacement. The scout oath strikes
me as a label on the outside letting me know the contents of scouting on the
>It would seem to me that most religious organizations have some missionary
>component, and if being religious is really better than the alternative,
>those that join BSA without a belief in God, should the positive aspects of
>religion, and consider a belief.
My concern here is that what you say can work in just the opposite direction
as well! What about the boy who already believes in God but finds himself
in a pack or troop dominated by non-believers? The possibility exists for
the this boy to be persuaded to consider non-belief. When scouting is limited
to believers, you don't have this problem.
>Maybe we can all learn from each other, and make the world a little better
>place for everyone.
Sure Don, who can argue against wanting to make the word a better place.
However isn't this best done by accepting sacrifices on the part of
individuals for the greater good? We all cannot have it our way. What
is wrong for an organization to set some membership standards? Gee
this gets me to thinking. Can I join the League of Women Voters or how
about the Daughters of the American Revolution. Could someone join
the United Methodist Church without agreeing to support the church with
their prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Gee maybe those who join the
U.S. military shouldn't be required to pledge to defend their country in
times of war but could return to civilian life as soon as the bullets and
bombs start flying. It seems to me that oaths along with membership
restrictions can be positve. Is our society going to far in sniffing
out "discrimination" in the way it sniffed out communists during the early
Michael Halla, Webelos Den Leader Pack 196, Roundtable Staff Member -
Valley Trails District, Hoosier Trails Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City