Re: Eagle Scout Application
Joseph Alessi (JosephAlessi@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:43:01 -0500
Kevin McClelland asked:
>> The one in particular is a minister, pastor, or whatever
the proper term is. The fact is that I am not an avid church goer, =
fact I have never been to church with my family, short of driving =
the way somewhere else. Therefore I don't have a personal =
with any religious folk. What should I do? <<
I'm not sure that anyone gave you any advice, so I thought
that I would try.
First, a little background information might be in order. BSA
has taken the position that an individual cannot be "the best
kind of citizen" without some religious foundation. This is
reflected in the Scout Law (a scout is reverent), and the =
Scout Oath ("I will do my best to do my duty to God ...").
Therefore, atheists (those that believe that there is no God
or supreme being) are not allowed in scouting, and are
removed from scouting if this belief system comes to light
after they have joined. BSA is in court in several lawsuits
defending BSA's right to do this.
Note that the policy is not clear on agnostics. An agnostic,
unlike an atheist, does not say that there is no God; he =
says that he just doesn't know.
BSA does not require you to be part of an organized religion
to achieve the rank of Eagle. You are required, however, to
show how you live the scout oath and law in your daily life.
This means that you will be questioned on how you are reverent,
and how you are doing your best to do your duty to God. One
of the ways that the Eagle BOR determines this is by reviewing
the recommendation letter from your religious leader.
You should ask yourself who that person is that has guided
your religious beliefs, and ask that person to write you a
letter of recommendation. Also, you might consider writing
out an explanation of your beliefs, stating that you are =
not a member of an organized religion, and including this
along with your application. Be prepared to be questioned
very deeply on this topic at the Eagle BOR. As an aside, this
issue should have been discussed at the Boards for all of
your previous ranks.
Since you "still have a few things to do" before you are ready
for Eagle, I also suggest that the time might be right for
you to make a decision on your own about the religious aspect
of your life. Why not look at what you believe, and try to
find a religious organization that is closest to your beliefs?
Talk to your friends. What church to they belong to? Are there
church youth groups that you can visit? You might try talking
to a pastor/priest/rabbi/other religious leader from a church
that you might be interested in. Don't worry - they won't bite,
and they won't "chain" you to a pew and forcefully convert you.
They realize that to mean anything, religion must be accepted
by the individual and not forced on them from the outside.
I will include you in my prayers.
Joseph A. Alessi in Ozwin 2.14
District Advancement Chair, Lafayette District
ASM Troop 313
Advisor to the Treasurer, Unami Lodge
I used to be an Owl
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City