scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Legislation against Boy Scout Charter (fwd from Scouts-LDS)
Fri Jul 21 2000 - 10:32:58 CDT
<< But what would it mean if they did pull the Charter?>>
Nothing. Awana has no Federal Charter. The Wisconsin Synod Pioneers have no
Federal Charter. Royal Rangers have no Federal Charter. The BSA was
incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1910. That is our "charter" to do
business. We were federally Chartered in 1915, as a recognition of our good
work for American youth. If we lose it, we are still in business. We can
still do the same things we are doing now.
Sadly, the "public perception" side of this issue is vastly more important
than the reality of it. If we lose our federal charter we are one step
closer to merely being a conservative religiously based uniformed youth
group, like those mentioned above. A group marked by doctrinal correctness
instead of inclusiveness. We once welcomed all youth and all religions. The
issue of homosexuality is one which is defining religious differences today-
witness the ink being spilled over the votes in the governing bodies of the
Methodist and Presbyterian churches where homosexual rights initiatives were
narrowly defeated; and in the Episcopal churches where they have not been.
On one side (as per the Chicago Tribune this morning) we have the Roman
Catholic Church, the Orthodox church and the Evangelical, pentacostal
protestants, and on the other the "main line" Protestant churches. I believe
we picked a side, wrongly. Not that we picked the wrong side. But that, the
BSA, actually picked a side at all. We are aligning ourselves with one side
or the other and that will make us, the BSA, less of what we were and more of
what Awana is. Go to their website. They are quite frank in what it takes
to be an Awana unit. They do not list the churches they reject. They simply
state their Christian doctrinal position and require that sponsoring churches
be able to subscribe to it in order to sponsor Awana units. I do not argue
against the Awana doctrinal position.
I do not believe that Awana is bad, do not misunderstand. It is a fine
organization. But it is not inclusive.
Once we start picking sides in these issues when will we stop? It can be
argued that we have not rejected any religions. But the Unitarian
Universalists sure think we have. We rejected their religious medals because
they said that a young person had to reconcile the UUA position on
homosexuality with the BSA's position. We have stated a doctrinal position:
homosexuality is incompatable with leadership in our organization, and those
who advocate it to our youth will be rejected. Then we demand, like Awana,
that organizations who wish to sponsor our units subscribe to that position.
We haven't rejected any religion. Neither has Awana. But the UUA sure feels
uncomfortable. Just as an Episcopalian would in Awana.
I believe what Jesus said many years ago: "Where your treasure is, there
will your heart also be." National has invested a whole lot of its treasure
in this issue, and clearly that is where its heart is. It is hard to imagine
how it, National, could be dissuaded from that position.
I simply am concerned for the future. I want the BSA to succeed. I want us
to be mainline. I am sure that the rest of us on this list do too.
Yours in Scouting,
G. John Marmet
Troop 156, Glenview, IL