A Scout is Brave
Doug Roach (djroach@IX.NETCOM.COM)
Thu, 6 Nov 1997 12:50:10 -0500
First, my apologies to the list. This will be my LAST post on this
> Since you wanted to know where Trustworthy or Courteous comes into
> discussion, and you took it to the list....
I took it to the list because that's where I found it. ;-)
> To borrow from another response:
> >"...To do my duty to God... Your parents and religious leaders >teach
> you to
> >know and love God, and the ways in which you can serve Him. >By
> >these teachings in your daily life, you do your duty to God as a
> >Scout."-The Boy Scout Handbook
In my son's Boy Scout Handbook (page 550) the quote also includes:
"...and by respecting the rights of others to have their own religious
beliefs." The Scouts in question, it seems to me, have been doing
precisely what is called for in your quote. In this case, the parents
appear to be not only parents but also the religious leaders since there
seems to be no one else. The parents appear to have taught their sons
that there is no God. "...As a Scout, you do your duty to God by
following the wisdom of those teachings...." (also pg. 550). BSA has
properly here allowed for religious teaching to take place outside of
Scouting. But it also seems that BSA has ascribed some "wisdom" to the
parents of the boys that in retrospect they (BSA) may wish they hadn't.
While I personally find it regrettable that these boys have been taught
that there are no mysteries to life and that we are only what we appear
to be and are not part of a greater whole, it is nonetheless my
considered opinion that the Scouts themselves have done nothing to
violate the directive of the oath.
> If they have passed their SM Conferences and BOR's up to this point
> being able to do this, they are not Trustworthy. They have not done
> this part
> of the requirements many times over by now and are not to be trusted.
If they have passed their SM conferences and BOR's without doing this
(i.e., if they refused to recite the Scout Oath), then your gripe should
be with the Scoutmaster and Boards. The boys are no less trustworthy
simply because they were passed on the strength of their other
accomplishments. If they were passed because the court of the State of
California said they must be, then your fight is now with the court. In
fact, had the boys gone ahead and recited the Scout Oath with no
intention of subscribing to it's tenets, but did so simply because their
Scoutmaster said they had to, I would find THAT act to be evidence of
untrustworthiness (is that a word?). Don't you think it would have been
a heck of a lot easier for these boys to just mouth the words and keep
their real belief's to themselves? By doing so they would have
disrespected their parents and thus violated LOYAL "...Loyalty starts at
home...." and "...A Scout is true to his family..." (page 554) Can you
imagine that these boys WANT to remember their Scouting experience years
from now as those days spent in court?
> I'll additionally add, without a book to study or quote from, that
> means to be accepting of others beliefs. Scouting has a set view Duty
> to God
> and Reverence and by forcing their non-acceptance on the program I
> would say
> they miss that one too.
Turn that first line around and point it at us and it doesn't appear
that we are being courteous either. But since I've got the book here and
you didn't, "...you respect the feelings and needs of others." (page
555). Nothing here about "accepting", but instead respecting. I can
respect any opinion sincerely argued and honestly held but don't ever
presume that Scouting can require me to "accept" same. It might also be
noted that in the section on courteous, the book states clearly that it
is referring to good manners. How many of your Scouts still call you
The Scouts didn't force their view, their dad and the State of
California got into this donnybrook years ago when they were Cubs. Let
BSA fight the battle with dad and the state, not by punishing the boys.
People seem to imply that they think these kids are instituting this
whole brouhaha just to tweak BSA. That may very well be the case with
dad. (What do you want to bet dad's a lawyer?) I, however, prefer to
think that the boys themselves (and let's not lose sight of the fact
that THEY are what we're all here for) just want to be Boy Scouts. I
think they just want to go camping. I think they just want to earn merit
badges. I think they just want to have fun with their friends. I think
they just want to help in their community. I think they just want to
advance and meet the greatest challenge many boys will ever have... I
think they just want to be Eagles.
Or.... maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they decided as Cub Scouts that they
wanted to be famous for being the guys that forced the change of one of
the fundamentals of Boy Scouting in America. If THAT'S the case, then
they're obviously not committed enough to the program to have progressed
to Eagle, but you really gotta give 'em credit for sticking it out for
so many years. Most of the Scouts I know would have given up as soon as
the first adult insisted that the boys renounce their family taught
belief in no deity.
> Of course, thats my view after serving two years on a Council
> Committee doing at least one Eagle Board per month and, in that time,
> accepting 3 that were HS age boys who were in that phase of
> questioning their
> faith. THOSE were good boards.
Were any of those three raised in an actively atheistic home? Were they
just showing a normal propensity for questioning the teachings of their
parents? Most teens do that (well, at least mine do, thank God). Maybe
the California twins have questioned dad's teachings as well. I would
hope so, but does that then mean that they must now subscribe to mine,
or their Scoutmasters'?
It may be presumptuous of me to question the directives of B-P, but hey,
he didn't bring this stuff down off a mountain burned into stone
tablets. (And he would likely be the first to acknowledge to that.) I
simply have a problem with Scouting requiring a boy to name and swear an
oath to a singular supreme being as a requirement for getting in the
door. Particularly if that boy would be defying a parent by doing so.
("Sorry, son, but since your dad is an avowed atheist and you refuse to
disrespect him and disavow his teachings in favor of ours, you can't be
a Boy Scout.")
I personally have no problem swearing that oath as I hold such a belief.
But to me, the only requirement to join this program and thus benefit
from the unlimited range of it's offerings should be that a boy be 11
years of age. (Or have completed the fifth grade :-)
Let the camaraderie, the skills taught, the respect for and communion
with the outdoor environment, and the joy of self-discovery take it from
there. These boys will possibly find God in the evidence of life as
Scouting can SHOW them, not COMPEL them.
Lastly, the book says "A Scout is Brave. ...He has the courage to stand
for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten
him." (page 558)
P.S. To Jonah T., Sorry about the "dad's a lawyer" crack, it just
slipped out. And since I see that I've already hit the send key, I can't
excise it. :-)
SA Troop 10 - South Florida Council - Miami
http://www.action-net.net/T10 (ya'll come visit)
"You should never stand in Love's way....
especially if Love is driving a bus."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City