Olan Watkins (o.watkins@GENIE.GEIS.COM)
Wed, 8 Sep 1993 03:32:00 BST
> Now, on to recent local events. First, I m interested in feedback on
> the following incident. Our troop is sponsored by St. Euphrasia
> Catholic Church. I have no problem with religious institutions
> sponsoring scouting units; the pack I helped start was chartered by
> Temple Ahavat Shalom! In my five years with the pack, though, we took
> pains to make certain the pack and all its activities were non-
> denominational. At a recent Eagle Court of Honor, the priest delivering
> the invocation ended his prayer with, "In Jesus Christ s name we
> We have several Jewish boys in the pack, including my own son. I
> remember being disturbed by these denominational prayers when *I* was a
> scout. At a parent s meeting, some of us brought the issue up. The
> scoutmaster flatly said, "I m not going to tell Father how he can pray
> in his own church." He also suggested that "A scout is reverent"
> justifies such prayers, and that he would welcome Jewish, Baptist and
> other prayers at scout meetings in order to expose the boys in the troop
> to other religions.
For the most part I believe things of this nature happen because a slip of
the tonge, rather than any thing to try to put any religion down, and in
most cases the best thing to do is to view it in that light and forget it.
Very likely the priest does public prayers several times a day and unless he
was reading from a prepared text, very likely it was an automatic thing that
he may have not been aware of exactly what he said.
At one time I was the Scoutmaster of a Troop sponsored by a Baptist Church
that was close by a university, so we had a lot of kids of a wide range of
religious beliefs. I always was very happy that I had patrols with Jewish
kids and Arabic kids working together together for the common goal of their
patrols, and pretty much the full spectum of religion. The church pastor
was a big supporter of Scouting and understood the non-denominational nature
of Scouting, but still at those things where he took part, he would
sometimes get carried away and let slip the sort of thing you mention. If
reminded of it, he would be embarrassed by it. However, all of the kids
understood that the pastor was a Baptist and sometimes that would slip out
no matter what, so they did not let it bother them.
I guess it is another story, but I had one kid from Turkey that belonged to
a real obscure Eastern Religion that wanted to work on the Religion Award.
The nearest church that we could find was in New York City (I live in Texas),
after several phone calls and letters back and forth, the priest at the
church approved me (I am a Methodist Scoutmaster of a Baptist Troop) to be
the instructor for the kid on his religious award. I am not sure if the kid
learned anything, but I sure did <G>.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City