Re: Religious Toleration ?
ralph romig (rwromig@PPCO.COM)
Fri, 14 Jul 1995 15:40:55 -0500
> 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. I
> mentioned the problem to our district advisor but got
> no feedback.
Was this meeting held on the grounds of the institution? Or was it on other
> During our last Eagle Court of Honor a
> non-denominational Grace was said before our meal as
> is often done as well as other "Scouts Own" religious
> activities at camporees and other scouting events. In
> 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.
Again where was this held?
> I spoke to the scoutmaster and some of the other ASMs
> about my concerns. Later, I related my feelings
> directly to the chartering representative. After some
> consideration, he said that he was within his rights to
> use the platform at our troop's events as he wished. I
> explained the religious heterogeneity of the troop and
> how I felt his religious views where out of bounds in
> scouting where there are diverse traditions present. I
> also objected to my child being subject to proselytism.
> What is the policy in scouting? What should I do? I do
> not want to divide the troop over this issue; but, I may
> be forced to resign if "Scouts Own" is not the accepted
Scouting is supposed to be nonsectarian. However...
This gets somewhat thorny. The unit is owned by the institution and as such
should be a youth outreach for the institution. So some tolerance in favor
of the institution should be extended for unit functions especially on the
institution's property. Remember that using the institutions facilities
makes you a guest in their house. You wouldn't deny the host from saying
his own kind of prayer in his own house. But at other sites and for
district or council or multitroop functions, this is totally unacceptable.
In those cases he would be the guest rather than the host.
I've seen this happen at a district Webelos Camporee. Everyone was
justifiably upset when the speaker (who had been a scout as a youth) gave a
very fundamentalist Protestant talk to all of the boys. He was never
invited to another District Event.
I have also seen one of the Catholic Priests invited to our unit events give
an entirely non sectarian speech that absolutely brightened the ceremony.
Everyone wanted him to come back! He respected the fact that we were 1/2
Protestants, 2 of Jewish faith, and 1/2 Catholic even though he was inside
his own facility. I've also seen the Diocesian (sp?) Catholic Committee on
Scouting conduct a very non sectarian awards presentation honoring Scouters
of all faiths who have provided service to Catholic Boys via Scouting.
> A scout is reverent; but, does not that imply he is also
> tolerant of the religious beliefs of others?
Yes, but understanding must be both ways. Your understanding of him and his
of the unit.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City