scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Why Not "Non-Denominational"?
Rick Seymour (Rick@KUDU.NET
Wed Aug 16 2000 - 09:07:23 CDT
Lawrence Ray Smith, Ph.D, Chair, BSA Religious Relationships Committee, in
his historic May 7, 1998 letter excluding the children of liberal churches
from the BSA Religious Emblems Program, stated that the BSA is an
> Boy Scouts is not a �secular organization� as stated in
> Religion in Life; Boy Scouts is an ecumenical organization
> which requires belief in God and acknowledgement of duty
> to God by its members. The reference to the �trouble� some
> Unitarians Universalists may have regarding the duty to God
> inappropriately incorporates doubt in an award process that
> is designed to forge a stronger link between a youth�s
> Scouting values and religious life.
John A. Buehrens, UUA President replied:
> You attempt to define the Boy Scouts of America as an
> �ecumenical� organization, and object to our reference to
> it as �secular.� I believe that you misunderstand both words.
> �Ecumenical� is a distinctively Christian term properly used
> only with regard to inter-Christian cooperation. It is not
> appropriate to an organization that aspires to inter-faith
> relationships. Rabbis and imams would not find it
> appropriate at all. Moreover, because the BSA is
> grounded in moral and civic values, but not in a
> particular religion per se, the term �secular� is quite
> appropriate. Many BSA leaders, including members of
> the National Council, would repudiate the implication of
> your statement that the BSA is an entirely Christian
> organization. Or do you really wish to exclude Jews,
> Muslims, Hindus, and members of other minority faith
The BSA remained silent.
As we debate what to call Scout Vespers, let us remember to pray for the
children of liberal religions who are still excluded from the BSA's
Religious Emblems Program.
Yours in Scouting,