Religious Toleration ? More
Charles S. Robinson (crobinso@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Fri, 21 Jul 1995 09:41:21 -0400
On Wed, 19 Jul 1995, Charles Robinson wrote:
> This is my response to your reply on Scouts-L. I fear
> that my lack of clarity my have caused an injustice to
> myself as I appeared as intolerant as I thought another
> was of members of my faith and other faiths
> represented in our troop.
> If anything , I have been reminded of the problems of
> communicating ideas. This issue has cause in me a lot
> of "soul searching" and led me to consider various
> courses of action.
The following two e-mail messages went as replies to messages sent directly
to me and have not until now been posted to SCOUTS-L.
Thank you for your reply to my posting on SCOUTS-L, Religious Toleration.
I failed to mention several important details about myself and the
circumstances that resulted in my posting a request for help and advice
on this important matter relating to the 12th point in the Scout Law.
My posting resulted after a rather heated conversation with the chartering
organization's representative. He is neither pastor nor holds any religious
office in his church. His qualifications rest on his leadership experience
in BSA, membership in his church, and his honest religious zeal. Our
differences do not conflict with the objectives in scouting with regards
to a scout being reverent. Rather our difference are more in the approach
or tone and other goals that seem to be playing a major role in this person's
functioning in his position as chartering organization's representative.
By his own admission to me, he cannot help voice HIS church's religious
teachings in public(is that not sectarian?).
Most people would accuse me of being over-tolerant because I hold many
"liberal" social positions though am a fiscal conservative. I and my family
have attended religious services of other faiths and visited religious sites
both in this country and abroad. The difference is that we had the choice
to attend or not. In the past decade, our family has enjoyed the friendship
of two families of ministers of other faiths and one family of our own faith.
We shared life experiences with them and two friends of other faiths are god
parents to my children.
They respected our religious position and attended our observances as we
practiced them. There was never in my experience with them or in my years
in scouting an attempt to IMPOSE a religious position on anyone until now.
I have never been accused of intolerance either of religious, ethnic, or
political positions of others also until now.
The troop is "owned" by the chartering organization as is often said. We
had a viable troop before switching meeting places. We have given to the
church the benefits of scouting in exchange for a place to meet. I have no
intention of also "selling my soul". Often the chartering organization plays
a passive role on the troop committee. It appears this will no longer be the
case for our troop. If every new leader must pass muster vis-a-vis a religious
test of any sort and every scout at a board of review is to be questioned as to
his religious beliefs, it will be time for me and my son to move on.
Thanks again for hearing me out on this one.
Charles Robinson, ASM Troop 1559
Thanks again for your reply. I'm from Troop 1559 in Bowie, MD, Patuxent
District. You are absolutely right about about "prolonged bad feelings" .
I just find it difficult to accept that my son refuses to get his First Class
because of a fear that they will grill him at his BOR for not attending
religious services and not being able to say he believes in a god as the
others do. After all, he is only 12.
As you read in my last message to you, we have a keen respect for the
traditions of our faith and are interested in those of others. We have chosen
as a family to practice them in our own way that is outside the mainstream
organized religions. I'll bet there is less hypocrisy in our attitude than in
many who publicly flaunt their religion and press it on others.
It is a shame that we are hung up on this issue. There are many other good
things in scouting and our troop. I am an active ASM at meetings and campouts
as well as in our fund raising activities. My son, Stephane, wants to quit the
troop. I'll try to hold out a little longer and see if some understanding on
both sides can develop .
Charles S. Robinson, Economist 202-606-9670 (telephone)
U.S. DOC/BEA, BE-52 202-606-5313 (fax)
Washington, DC 20230
CHARLES.ROBINSON@BEA.DOC.GOV or CROBINSO@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City