Re: Scouts and Religion
(no name) (michaelb@SUNRISE.CSE.FAU.EDU)
Tue, 20 Oct 1992 15:50:14 EDT
> Maybe I'm just way too liberal, but I don't see why this has to be
> such a fractious issue. I would hope that some day soon we could stop
> (over?) reacting to what we see as attacks on Scouting and see if
> some accommodation could be made for the boys. It's true that there
> are people out there that would love nothing better than to destroy
> BSA and we can't let that happen. It's how we prevent that from
> happening that is our task.
> OK -- take the scout who says he is an atheist. It's been my
> experience that most children say that their religion is what they've
> been TOLD it is. It will be some time before he discovers his "true"
> religion. Why should we deny a boy the benefits of scouting just
> because someone (a parent?) TOLD him he was an atheist, or he's just
> saying that for the shock value. Let him participate in the
> experience, fellowship, and (yes) religious aspects of scouting and
> let him decide. Denying an 11 year old the scouting experience will
> probably only serve to alienate him from the movement rather than
> causing some religious conversion.
> OK -- take the leader who is an atheist. We are forbidden to discuss
> religion (& sex & politics) -- correctly forbidden, I add -- so if the
> leader projects the proper moral and ethical image, how is a child to
> be harmed by his/her atheism? Yes, I would be upset for a leader to
> tell my son he was an atheist and that was the 'correct' thinking, but
> I'd be equally upset for a leader to tell my son he was a Baptist or
> (substitute any other religion) as well. Although I wear the adult
> religious knot, none of my leaders has a clue WHAT religion it is for,
> and they couldn't guess from my chapel services either. If an atheist
> can pull that off, show respect for other's religious traditions,
> and show reverence to a higher power (Life, the Cosmos, or whatever they
> call it instead of God), and show good scout leadership, more power
> to them.
> There is too much good in the movement to endanger everything over an
> issue that doesn't HAVE to be as divisive as this appears to be. "Where
> there's life, there's hope." While we have the boys, we can influence them.
> If we kick them out, we can't. I'd rather take a chance and keep them.
> (off the soapbox)
> Jim Holman
To add my $.02, I totally agree with this view. I think the BSA position being
'anti-atheist' does more harm then good. To me 'A Scout is Reverant' can
(and should) include respect for other's religious views, even if you don't have
Frankly I'm sick of the BSA spouting off about 'family values' as an excuse for
barring atheists (and others) from the BSA. They barred women from being
Scoutmasters claiming that have a male scoutmaster was part of the program,
then turned around and allowed women scoutmasters 'cause it was difficult to
find male scoutmasters. Wanting a family consisting of mom, dad, and 2.5 kids
is fine and dandy, but the reality is that this isn't always so. We've made
changes in the program for this situation, so why not the new ones?
<< Michael R. Brown CS Graduate Student-Florida Atlantic Univ >>
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