Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Wed, 30 Nov 1994 01:20:08 -0500
Jerry Withers indicated that he was preparing a guide for his Troop's
Board of Review on "Duty to God" and "A Scout is Reverent".
I think it is a mistake for a Troop's Board of Review to examine a Scout's
concept of "Duty to God" or "Reverent". Are they going to pass judgment
on his answer? Really its not their place to do so. A Scout's religious
beliefs are properly determined between that Scout, his religious advisior
and/or parents and NOT the Troop BOR. If they aren't going to make
judgments, then what purpose is intended? Your folks may be well
intentioned, but I'd be concerned that any BOR questioning in this area
might run afowl of BSA's policies of not requiring membership in a
particular church or belief in a particular religion. Quoting those
policies in the guidance, but allowing the questions in my opinion misses
the point. We are not there to sit in judgment on a Scout's religious
beliefs. So long as a Scout is willing to give the Scout Oath and Law,
that should be enough, no more is required!
It seems to me that our purpose is to foster an environment conducive to
the goals of Scouting and also an environment that may encourage or
motivate spiritual growth. But this is best done indirectly. One of the
best ways is promoting participation in religious emblem programs, leaving
the decision to the Scout. Many will not participate and shouldn't be
treated differently. Remember, the thing is to create the opportunity for
growth in this area, but not sit in judgment.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F Bowman
Used to be a Beaver, National Capital Area Council, B.S.A.
mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG after 12/13/94)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City