Re: Religious Toleration ?
James H. McCullars (mccullarsj@EMAIL.UAH.EDU)
Fri, 14 Jul 1995 09:31:26 -0500
Charles Robinson writes:
--> About a year ago our troop transferred from a public
--> school to a Protestant church for our meetings and
--> chartering organization.
--> The chartering organization's representative met with
--> us and during the meeting led a sectarian or Protestant
--> prayer which surprised and dismayed some of us.
--> addition to other speakers, the chartering
--> organization's representative spoke. His talk was
--> religious and sectarian. This was offensive to me and
--> certainly overdone to several of his coreligionists.
--> A scout is reverent; but, does not that imply he is also
--> tolerant of the religious beliefs of others?
Let me get this straight. Your troop is sponsored by a Protestant
church, and you are offended when your COR leads a Protestant-oriented
The question that must be asked is, was the individual speaking as a
Scouter, or was he speaking as a member of the Protestant church? If the
latter is true, then I think it is *you* that is being intolerant of the
beliefs of others.
One problem I see here (that I see in my own district from time to time)
is a practice that I call "sponsor shopping". Ideally, a Boy Scout (BSA)
troop exists as an arm of the chartering organization's youth services or
youth outreach programs. Too often, however, a troop will tend to think of
itself as its own entity, and will think nothing of finding another sponsor
when things don't work out with the current one. I've always wondered how
they handled the transfer of troop equipment, since the chartering
organization owns the troop (and all troop equipment) lock, stock, and
barrel. But that's a question for another time.
Back to your concerns. Had you been chartered by a synagogue, would a
Jewish prayer be offensive if given by the COR? Should a religious leader
be expected to forget his training and beliefs just because he is
addressing a group of Scouts? I think not.
Don't get me wrong, I do know where you are coming from. If, for
example, a Scouter at a district banquet or camporee gave an overtly
denominational prayer, I would take notice. But if a representative of a
Protestant (or Catholic or Jewish or Muslim) organization is asked to
speak or deliver a prayer, then you are likely to hear some sectarian
remarks. And while I was raised in the Baptist faith, I have absolutely no
problem showing reverence towards those beliefs with which I do not
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City