Re: Religious Toleration ?
Kathie Cerveny (kathie@DELTA.EECS.NWU.EDU)
Fri, 14 Jul 1995 11:44:55 -0500
Your COR is very much within his rights, the unit is OWNED by the
organization (the hardware if you will) and the charter for your troop
(the software if you will) is the property of BSA, on loan as "...part
of the chartered organization's youth program...." BSA does NOT
encourage it, but a protestant (I HATE that, I'd much rather say,
Episcopal, or Methodist, etc.) church, or a catholic church, or a
Jewish temple, or a Moslem center, upon becoming a chartered
organization (signing on for a year's license to use our program), can
and many do, state, the members of our unit will only be.....
I also hate that, since that is real evidence of lack of tolerance.
However, we must allow people to speak. Especially the owners of the
unit, who took on the troop as part of their youth program. All
unit's charter are so. MOST chartered org. reps don't give a darn
enough to even attend no less speak.
(your source is the Guide to Safe Scouting (updated annually) and you
might like to read the booklet for Chartered Organization representatives,
specifically the sections that list his (and the organization's)
The policy on religious tolerance has gotten out of hand in the field,
in that we (the volunteers) seem to be offended to hear the words and
beliefs of others. However, I ask you, and others......what is
Do I have to become a member of the organization just because I heard
a talk on it? (or sermon) When I attend an Eagle Court in a Jewish
Synagogue, do I become Jewish because the Rabbi does a short talk?
When we held our recruitment night for the FIRST Moslem units in our
council, the men of the center came in quietly during our procedures,
performed their relgious homage to Alla at the back of the room, and
left, I did not become a Moslem, they did not offend me. It OFFENDS
me when people do not practise what they speak; do not stand up for
what they believe in; do not stand up for their own personal
It is sad that you are offended --- as a member of a tolerant
program (BSA), all our training, all our books state that we are not
here to condemn, nor
demand, and I think that means that if I wish to state "... I am an
Episcopalian, NOT a protestant, I have a right to do so... If I want to
read one of our prayers, why can't you be tolerant and allow me to
SPEAK my beliefs? I allow the Jewish, Moslems, Roman Catholics,
Buddhist, etc. to have their faith and I have always felt I grew just
a little more the more I heard about each faith.
Using the Native American prayers, etc. is, I believe not an
ecuminical answer. Our Native Americans have beliefs, they have their
own religion, and yet we "white men" always use an Indian prayer as a
compromise --- are you offended when you attend an OA function --- as
a member, you are exposed to a great deal of Native American beliefs
-- that must also offend you.
As a registered leader, I believe in God, that is all that BSA
requires. But, maybe we should take that a step further. I believe
in you and your RIGHT to believe and say so. This is America. You
have a right to be offended, but be offended by the child abuse, the
lack of caring about our kids, the killing of our children, don't be
offended because we are not all carbon copies, and some of us are
tired of hiding the fact we do have a belief. We do have that right,
and you have the right to have yours. That IS what Baden-Powell was
all about with the religious side of our program ----- tolerance. If
I listen to you, I just might understand you better, if I understand
your beliefs a litte, I just might understand you, and in the long
rung (according to BP) that is how we love and get along.
I was once told that a dear, dear friend's new wife (his second) was
offended because as a Jew, she heard the name of Jesus at a district
dinner. I said nothing ---- I know that she did not curl up and die,
or get deathly sick --- as I don't when I sit in temple watching yet
another young man become an Eagle, or go through his Bar mitzpah. (I
apologize if I spelled that wrong.)
But it got me thinking. What if I had accidentally said "God bless
you" if she sneezed!
Have a great weekend all of you. These kids deserve the best we can
give them, with the widest possible example from us.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City