Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: Wicca and beyond (long)
Re: Wicca and beyond (long)
Mon, 6 Sep 1999 22:30:00 -0400
> I deliberately ask this question as there are religions that practice
> drug use, ritual sacrifice, and unusual sexual practices.
Yes there are. Mine might be an example. I am Jewish. We practice the
ritual use of wine (a drug) in the liturgy "praise is due to God who
created the fruit of the vine ", ritual sacrifice (today fasting on Yom
Kipur in former times animals) and unusual sexual practices
(circumcision). Although common in the United States this practice is
unusual in most of the world.
I would suggest this standard. If the religious practice is protected
by the First Amendment then it ought to be acceptable to Scouts. Thus,
American Indian Churh's religious ritual use of peyote ought to be
acceptable even though the use of peyote is otherwise a felony.
(For an interesting case explaining the religious use of peyote see The
United States of America vs. Robert Boyll which is published on the
Internet by the Cornell Law Library at
Similarly, the Santarian religious practice of animal sacrifice is
protected by the constitution and ought to be acceptable to scouts.
To read a description of this religion and its practices and why it is
protected by our Constitution read CHURCH OF THE LUKUMI BABALU AYE, INC.
and ERNESTO PICHARDO, PETITIONERS v. CITY OF HIALEAH at
"Given the historical association between animal sacrifice and religious
worship,petitioners' assertion that animal sacrifice is an integral part
of their religion cannot be deemed bizarre or incredible."
The practice of poligamy, practiced by the Later Day Saints until 1890,
does not pass constituional muster. See REYNOLDS v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145
As to unusual religious beliefs, polygamy is forbidden in the Book of
Mormon, except for those times when the Lord commands it (see Jacob
2:30). Apparently, the Lord commanded that practice for a period of time
from the 1840s until 1890.It was a Biblical practice for a time, as
evidenced by Abraham (see Gen. 25:1-6) and Jacob (see Gen. 29 and 30).
The prophet and king David had multiple wives (2 Samuel 12:7-9), as did
Solomon (including wives who worshipped strange gods, which was
forbidden), Gideon (Judges 8:30), and Jehoiada the priest (2 Chronicles
24:2-3). Deuteronomy 21:15-17 shows polygamy accepted as a valid
practice and gives rules governing the inheritance for children of
polygamous wives. Further, there is the biblical practice called the
levirate, given as a divine commandment to Moses. In this practice, if a
married man dies without children, his brother must take the deceased
man's wife as a wife and raise up children to ensure that the deceased
man has successors (Deuteronomy 25:5-7; see also Mark 12:19-23; Matthew
22:24-28; and Gen. 38:8). This duty appears to remain in force whether
the living brother is already married or not.
Despite this Biblical basis, the practice of poligamy, even when
grounded on sincere religious belief. See REYNOLDS v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145
(1878). In my opinion this case would be decided differently in 1999.
Another "unusual sexual practice", although widely accepted, is the
Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus. There are certainly
numerous Biblical references to this belief
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be
with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall
conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
"The virgin shall be with child, and will give birth to a son, and they
shall call him Immanuel; which means, 'God with us.'" (NIV)
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God
with us." (ASV)Luke 1:26-27
"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in
Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a
descendent of David. The virgin's name was Mary." (NIV)
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city
of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name
was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."
but that doesn't make it unusual, at least in my humble opinion.
I say, if it a religious practice is legally protected by our
Constitution it ought to be accepted by BSA.