Re: Loosing my religion
Gina Gestautas (NORTH@DRYCAS.BITNET)
Thu, 25 Mar 1993 16:51:00 EST
In response to Don I went back to a cub scout application dated 7/92 (if
I read the side note properly) and tried to see what exactly *IS* on it.
It states on various parts of it: (excerpts)
Under the heading: BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
Scouting's Volunteers and You:
"... Scouting uses a fun program to promote character development, citizenship
training, and personal fitness for every member..."
"Chartered organizations agree to use the Scouting program in accordance
with their own policies as well as those of the BSA. The program is flexible,
but major departures from BSA methods and policies are not permitted. As a
parent, you should be aware that:
- Leadership is restricted to qualified adults who subscribe to the
Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law.
- Citizenship activities are encouraged, but partisan political
activities are prohibited.
- Military Training and drill are prohibited. Marksmanship and
elementary drill for ceremonies are permitted.
- The Boy Scouts of America recognizes the importance of religious
faith and duty; it leaves religious instruction to the member's
religious leaders and family. Members who do not belong to a unit's
religious chartered organization wshall not be required to participate
in its religious activities.
...... Other points follow..."
I won't brownbeat the religious declaration here, but its important to note
that the declaration does again reaffirm the fact the the BSA believes that
a belief in SOME being or force aids in the development of a boy and in his
respect and understanding of his world. Whether that is a religion per se
or a personal belief or code of conduct, I think in general it should not
be held against the boy. In a way, CODE OF CONDUCT, exemplefies in a more
concise way what I think Scouting strives to create. A PERSONAL affirmation
of a set of moral guidelines that the person will follow in his lifetime.
To simplify this, it really becomes a personal philosophy that the boy will
use to guide the rest of his life. Whether its directly associated with the
religion he is raised in, or ABSORBED from the leadership and boys that he
associated with during his time in scouting its STILL something that will be
with him through his life.
As you see above, MILITARY DRILLS and PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES are also
*NOT ALLOW#ED* as a normal part of Boy Scouting as stated above, yet I don't
believe that Boy Scouts is in any way opposed to either. Just against them
being used WITHIN the Boy Scouting program (since there are a FEW people in
leadership positions that would take advantage of their position and try
to use these in their programs).
My own personal opinion is that unless a belief is directly
DETRIMENTAL to the observance of the religious principle or against the law
(which would include satanism since in theory it can include sacrifices of
humans - i.e. murder, which is against the law), it should not be used to
keep a boy or leader out. If membership is used to FORCE or COERCE others
to have to DEFFEND their own beliefs, then the membership that is being
used to do so needs to be questioned. The wording would be more exact if
it read something like: As a member I agree to support the right of the
BSA to encourage a personal belief system. I also agree to respect the
right of any other member to have a personal belief system, and to allow
members that acknowledge a lack of a personal belief system, the right to
participate fully if they agree to respect the same rights of others and
try to do their best to live up to principles put forth by the Cub (or Scout)
I know its not polished, but maybe its a start?? I am not saying that the
BSA is incorrect in its affirmation. I think that they MEAN alot of the
same things, just that they wording that they use seems to alianate alot
of people. Even so called RELIGIOUS people who acknowledge that WESTERN
CHRISTIAN religions are not the ONLY religion!! I mean, what would we make
of the Japanese SAMURAI warrior who DEFINITELY had a very high and personal
code of honor, yet his code did not come directly from a RELIGION, but by
the strict and traditional training that he received and by the bonding that
took place between him and his samurai mates. I think that in THIS kind of
statement, it could include a broader spectrum of people who COULD truly say
that they had SOME personal set of rules to live by. Whether they came from
a belief in a monotheistic god, or a respect of nature.
Don't mean to keep stirring things up, but this has been on my mind for a
while... It makes me sad to think of the many boys who lose out on scouts
because they are not considered RELIGIOUS, yet they have very high personal
goals and conduct. *AGAIN* this would *NOT* include people who JOINED the
BSA *JUST* to stir stuff up. This is not the place.
I am willing to discuss this further with anyone publicly or privately.
For rebuttals, please use BSA literature where possible.
Gina Gestautas "Teach each child as if he is your own...
[Amateur Everything] He may influence yours when they are grown."
Bitnet: NORTH@DRYCAS Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City