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Atheist Scout given a week to declare belief

Should the atheist eagle scout have to declare a belief in a "higher power"?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 12.0%
  • No

    Votes: 19 76.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 12.0%

  • Total voters
    25
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Atheist Scout given a week to declare belief
Ok, time for a good controversy again. What do guys think about this? Should this kid be kicked out?



I think this is such crap. If "higher power" is so all inclusive that it includes "Mother Nature", then doesn't it completely lose all meaning and relevance? As if enough people don't hate the Boy Scouts? I think it is a generally good organization that does a lot of really great things, but all this descension into sexual and religious preference is just so petty and I just can't understand at all. It almost sounds like the Spanish Inquisition. (ok - maybe a slight exaggeration - but nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! :) ) Oh, and it wasn't like he was refusing to do the scout or American pledge. It's just so bogus.
 

PlannerGirl

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I had been a strong supporter of Scouts all my life-heck earned the Girl Scout Gold Award *equal to the Eagle*. I loved it and becouse my girlscout leader was also a boy scout leader we went to boyscout camp *we were 'explorer scouts'* and rushed Alpha Phi Omega in college *a co ed contenuation of Boy Scouts.

but like you said this has gotten petty. When the whole gay issue came out I wrote a letter both to the BSA and GSA expressing my thoughts on the Boy Scouts *note the girls dont require any of this BS* I turned in everything i had related to BSA and joined "Scouting for All"

This making a young man who is by all acounts a model scout state something he does not belive in is wrong and from what i was taught not at all with keeping with scouting at all-you dont lie.

if an organization wants my money/time/support of any type it better be INclusive

i dont give to the BSA, Red Cross etc-my G*d teaches me to accept all for who they are-regardless.

*steps off soap box*
 

Chet

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It sucks.

When I was a kid, if you weren;t in the scouts you were an outcast. The teachers even made it that way by sitting all us scouts together - like she was fashioning a social order.

I think if these organizations want to be exclusive of diversity, they should NOT be supported, encouraged, and promoted in public schools.
 

el Guapo

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I'm with the BSA on this one.

Kelly,
I support the young man for sticking to his beliefs - it takes guts to go against the grain. And, I support the BSA for sticking to their beliefs. Sometime beliefs are incompatible.

The problem in America is that we always have to stick it to those that don’t have the belief system we do. You two want to stick it to the Boy Scouts because they don't meet your progressiveness requirements. They shouldn't have to. They serve their members.

The facts are: The kid earned his Eagle Scout. He then decided he was an atheist and made a public proclamation of it knowing that the PRIVATE organization he was a member of held that a belief in a higher power is a membership requirement. Wether you think it is a silly requirment or not. I think the BSA is being generous in giving him time to think it over.

Some day the BSA may allow gay scouts and athiest to join. It also may not, but as a private organization it has the right to determine its membership just as much as the Berekey Lesbian Food Co-op does.

One of my favorite PC Liberal Tricks is when they publicly condem an organization they don't belong too. The Catholic Church and the Scouts are always on the receiving end of this. Other conservative group too. If you are not a member you don't have any business bitching about the group's internal policies. You have no right to seek to change their policies.
 

Chet

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Re: I'm with the BSA on this one.

El Guapo said:

Some day the BSA may allow gay scouts and athiest to join. It also may not, but as a private organization it has the right to determine its membership just as much as the Berekey Lesbian Food Co-op does.
EG, I don't disagree with anything you said, but I disagree with public school support of these private organizations. Something about separation of church and state should be applying here...
 

el Guapo

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bturk said:
I think if these organizations want to be exclusive of diversity, they should NOT be supported, encouraged, and promoted in public schools.
I agree. Public Schools should not support the scouts exclusively. Your teacher was wrong and you are owed some therapy by the State to help you heal. But when you let the doors open for any private group you have to open them to all private groups.

If the Pagan Purple People Eaters use the public schools after hours then the little Aryan Youth should have equal access. I don't get the liberal cry for diversity and equal rights: but just make sure that diversity is the "PC kind of diversity"

I truly believe that this argument and rabid hatred of the scouts is an attempt to destroy that with which you don't agree with. They are simply boys learning things that you consider old fashioned and out of touch with modern society. When I look at society today I and I look at the Scouts. I choose the Scouts.
 

Chet

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Rabid hatred of the scouts?

Where'd that come from?!

I save rabid hated for a select few and a draft choice to be named later...
 

PlannerGirl

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yes if the BSA and other groups want to be exclusive then no more public money. no support from the united way, the school sytem etc.

yup im in a sorority but we dont ask for and dont get any public money-we only allow women-ALL women but only women.

The issue is you cant play both sides of the coin.

I dont hate the Scouts-i think its one of the best things that ever happend to me and still support the GirlScouts like crazy. i wish the scouts would serve ALL kids-thats who we are talking about, teaching them not to hate/discriminate.
 

Jeff

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Does the BSA interpretation of higher power mean "God".

Could this guy simply say that he believes in the BSA and all it stands for, and therefore, that is his higher power?

My interpretation of "Higher Power" is simply something greater than you. The BSA is greater than one scout.

Am I barking up the wrong tree with this one?
 

el Guapo

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I should also mention I am an Eagle Scout, the father of a Scout, the son of a Scout, and an Adult leader in a Troop.

If we had one or two gay or athiest scouts in our troop we would treat them just the same and we wouldn't minister to them, we wouldn't expose them, we wouldn't question them. Why? Because they are Boys. They have yet to go out into the world and are still forming themselves and their opinions. As an adult leader my job is to act as a role model and example thrugh my actions, deeds and words. I'll answer a Scouts questions and I'll give them my best answers. But if a Scout asked me if about his own homosexuality or athiesim I would ask that he consult with his parent first. If he still needed answers I'd try to get him to as many resources as I could without trying to impose my beliefs. But if he asked me what mine were I'd tell him without reservation. I'd also caution the child about the consequences of "coming out." I think that is what the Scouts have done for the young man in question.

That is how it should be.

bturk said:
Where'd that come from?!

I save rabid hated for a select few and a draft choice to be named later...
Sorry - bad wording. Not you. But there are some Scout haters out there. Sorry Brian.
 
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PlannerGirl

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I like how you think Mike :)

I dont think that is what they want or what he is willing to say though.

i gotta hand it to him-this kid has guts and perhaps a smart mind
 

el Guapo

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PlannerGirl said:
i wish the scouts would serve ALL kids-thats who we are talking about, teaching them not to hate/discriminate.
Nowhere do the Scouts teach hate/discrimination! Quite the opposite.
 

PlannerGirl

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Guap we are of the same mind on this-i admire your thoughs and actions as a leader. You are doing all we can ask of anyone.

However, I think IMHO, by making public that gays are not part of Boy Scouting *read in my mind as not welcome* as teaching discrimination/hate.

but i know this is just my opionion and we all have our own.
 
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EG - you made me do research for this posting!

From the Boy Scouts website, on What is Boyscouting?:
"Specifically, the BSA endeavors to develop American citizens who are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit; have a high degree of self-reliance as evidenced in such qualities as initiative, courage, and resourcefulness; have personal values based on religious concepts; have the desire and skills to help others; understand the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems; are knowledgeable about and take pride in their American heritage and understand our nation's role in the world; have a keen respect for the basic rights of all people; and are prepared to participate in and give leadership to American society."


Ok, now here's what I think - yes, the boyscouts and all private associations do have the right to determine who should and shouldn't be a part of their organization, regardless of how inclusive their policies are. I one hundred percent admire and respect the goals of the Boyscouts. But the point I'm trying to make is that the head scout guy has said that all this kid has to do is pronounce a belief in a "higher power" which he admitted could include "some higher power - not necessarily religious" (even though the boyscouts are trying to instill "personal values based on religious concepts"). Well, what is the point of making him state that, when it is obvious he'd by lying? Yes, the Scouts have the right to be arbitrary and capricious, however, I still think that sucks, and would like for them to reconsider their stance so that someday I would allow my (future) boys to participate in this organization which for except their inclusivity issues, I think is a great organization to be involved with.
 

el Guapo

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And on a personal note: Life is rough enough on gay and athiest youths and If my opinion is ever asked by the senior leadership I shall tell them that I believe they should be allowed in.

And yes, elsewhere in the forum I have stated I am very much against open or practicing Gays in the Military. Different reasoning - different issue.
 

El Feo

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What part of "Freedom of Association" don't people understand?

Funny to me how the media screams bloody murder when their first amendment rights are being "abridged" (even when they're not, really), but hell with yours when it happens to you and they'll pile on with the rest.

And not to pick at nits, but the United Way is not a public organization, at least in the constitutional sense. Nobody forces anyone to give. They're free to spread their wealth to the Boy Scouts or not, as they wish. We're free to give or not, as we wish. Just like the Boy Scouts themselves.

This kid may have a smart mind - who knows from this story - but guts? Not in my book. "Guts" is having the ability, will, and fortitude to make difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, and live with all the messy consequences. Sounds like he wants his cake (to be in the Boy Scouts) and to eat it too (picking and choosing which of the organization's requirements he's willing to live with). That's the exact opposite of guts. Guts would have required his immediate resignation from the scouts when he realized he held these beliefs. Sorry if that's harsh, but hey, it's just my opinion, right?
 
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Feo- but if this kid loves and believes in scouting, don't you think he should be attempting to activate change in the organization, if that is what he believes in, instead of sitting by? I know Scouting isn't a democracy, but still, if you disagree with the policies, you should have the right to try to institute change. Organizations, be they government, church, or the boyscouts, are not static - rules change, but only when enough people (most effectively those actively involved in the organization) stand up and ask for change.
 

Chet

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Weeeeee!

This is a fun thread - thanks for raising h*ll Kel!
 

NHPlanner

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Re: Weeeeee!

bturk said:
This is a fun thread - thanks for raising h*ll Kel!
[ot]OMG...the "Weeeeee!" subject just flashed me back to the dancing squirrel.....

Thanks for the unintended laughter Brian![/ot]
 
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Re: Weeeeee!

bturk said:
This is a fun thread - thanks for raising h*ll Kel!
Well, it had been quiet recently, I was checking out CNN and inspiration struck! We haven't had a good friendly FAC debate in while.
 

El Feo

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KMateja said:
Feo- but if this kid loves and believes in scouting, don't you think he should be attempting to activate change in the organization, if that is what he believes in, instead of sitting by? I know Scouting isn't a democracy, but still, if you disagree with the policies, you should have the right to try to institute change. Organizations, be they government, church, or the boyscouts, are not static - rules change, but only when enough people (most effectively those actively involved in the organization) stand up and ask for change.
Absolutely - from the outside. I think you and your husband will be demonstrating far more virtue by holding your kids out of scouts if you disagree with the policies, than he does by his actions at this point.

I'm not saying I agree with the policy, by the way - it's just that my notion of principled protest and agitation for change is admittedly about 100 years out of date.
 

el Guapo

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Scouting is a bulkward against a rapidly changing society (read scarry). It is where parents all over the world place their children to learn leadership, self reliance, self confidence, traditional values and gain a sense of respect for institutions, values, and responsibility. It is not the Junior DNC or the Rainbow Coalition Young Jesses (think about that one).

Parents trust the scouts with their kids because they know they won't get any surprises out of them. As a parent I feel it is my duty to impart my value set to my child as he grows. Scouting helps me to do that. He gets enough negative influences from society. Scouting is a good influence. He can deal with adult issues like homosexuality when he becomes an adult.

The Scout leadership probably feels that fighting the battle against a PC membership code is what the parents (who pay the bills) want.

KMateja said:
We haven't had a good friendly FAC debate in while.
And friendly it shall stay. :)
 
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Chet

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El Guapo, You Ignorant Slut!

El Guapo said:
Parents trust the scouts with their kids because they know they won't get any surprises out of them.
Just like the Catholic Church, huh? ;)

El Guapo said:
As a parent i feel it is my duty to impart my value set to my child as he grows. Scouting helps me to do that. He gets enough negative influences from society. Scouting is a good influence. He can deal with adult issues like homosexuality when he becomes an adult.
Just like the Catholic Church, huh? ;)

El Guapo said:
The Scout leadership probably feels that fighting the battle against a PC membership code is what the parents (who pay the bills) want. [/B]
Just like the Catholic Church, huh? ;)


PS - And as a Catholic - and Scout - per your terms in prior posts I can say these things.

PPS - I'm teasing - I know you're not ignorant!
 

el Guapo

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bTurk: You filthy Whore!

I knew you couldnd't resist a shot at the Holy Roman Empire. ;)

The Church &^%*($#@ up. I gave them a fair chance in my mind to address the problem. They played games with their victims and acted dishonorably.. When the Pope didn't shitcan Cardinal Law it was over for me forever. Thus, I stood up and left during a mass where the priest was being an appologist for them and I haven't been back since. It took me a while to realize that I needed to leave the church. I didn't send a bomb in the mail or rough up a priest - like you and Prudence do when you go bar hopping. ;) I just quit writting checks. That message they heard.

If the Scouts allow pedophillia to spread rampantly and knowingly like my church did I'll yank my son out so fast it will hurt.

For outsiders: Bturk and I are on very friendly terms and are just having fun quoting old SNL lines and refering to inside jokes.
 
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Re: Re: Re: Weeeeee!

El Guapo said:


And friendly it shall stay. :)
Agreed!

I just have a question about Scouts, and Guapo, you probably know the answer. Can/Does an individual scout troop decide that they'll keep an atheist? Example - if this kid was at a meeting and they were talking and he came out with that he was an atheist, could the leader just leave it alone, as long as everyone else in the troop is ok with it, or is the leader obligated to report him? It really does seem like the Scouts want to give this kid any opportunity to retract, even though it is too late for that.

"He can deal with adult issues like homosexuality when he becomes an adult."

I agree that sexuality issues really aren't appropriate for younger kids - however, the boys that do make it through to the high school, eagle scout level of BSA, if a kid is gay, I just hate that he has to be kicked out of an organization that provides a positive peer group and good role models at one of the most difficult times in his life, when he needs his friends to support him, not reject him. I'm trying really hard not to be too sensitive here - my brother didn't come out until college, but still had a really miserable high school experience. Sometimes I think some young men have it a lot rougher in adolescence than girls do.
 

Chet

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Re: bTurk: You filthy Whore!

Now, now, you know I'm not filthy!
 

Zoning Goddess

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Luckily my son is still a Cub Scout and so the gay issue is not a topic he and his Scouting friends would even be aware of. When he is a Boy Scout he will undoubtedly hear of the policy (if it still stands) and can make his own decision about whether or not to continue in Scouting. In most respects, I don't think what is happening with the young man under discussion is different from having membership in a church or other organization and discovering your values don't mesh. You just leave. But in his case, he has become, through a lot of dedicated, hard work, an Eagle Scout. If I remember correctly, only 1/2 of one percent of scouts make it to Eagle. I would hope the BSA would let the award stand.
As for his declaration about being atheist, he is still a teenager and at that age, will probably say a lot of things he regrets later on.
 

el Guapo

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I know most troops would take the kid aside and explain that it is his decision and as a person they will support him. But if he wants to go down that route he is responsible for the consequences.

If the kid doesn't make a big deal the troop won't either. There are plenty of Gay and Athiest in the Scouts as we speek. It is the youth version of Don't ask - Don't tell.

I'm sorry your brother had it rough. I think everyone but the rich, and pretty had it rough in high school. I sure as hell didn't enjoy it. I was a pimple faced science geek. That was a joy.
 

adaptor

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I have to wade in on this one and ask what is the retarded logic that keeps these things keep coming up?

If the Scouts stand for anything it’s patriotic virtues, service to the community and intellectual curiosity. Should an intelligent 19 year old know when he’s being buffaloed? He’s already proven by his achievements that the makes the grade on the significant criteria and obviously knows a thing about rights and freedom. Why should he be forced to choose from a meaningless menu of deities?

We all know they don’t want to hear that you worship some atavistic gods or trees or planets, but they won’t explicitly say that. I don’t remember having to declare a religion (at that time it might have been Rastafarian) and I don’t think Baden Powel (founding father of Scouting) would force a choice. How long will it be before you have to show your crucifix to use the pool at the YMCA?

It’s as bad as the flat earth society … er, intelligent design advocates pushing for schools to teach alternative creation theories. They don’t want their kids to hear that the earth was born on a turtle’s back that carries it through the universe, they want Genesis. Picking fights like this seems to me to be an un Christian thing to do.
 

mugbub

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BSA = old school

El Guapo you are coming across as homophobic. Why is that? Gays are born gay and are well aware of it when they reach boy scout age- and especially eagle scout age. The BSA is a throwback to the 50's, back when they wouldn't let blacks in. BSA does have goodness, but it failed to evolve with the times. Their dwindling membership illustrates the fact that modern boys and parents are turned off by the BSA. Guys like you are a dying breed.
 

el Guapo

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Re: BSA = old school

mugbub1 said:
El Guapo you are coming across as homophobic. Why is that? Gays are born gay and are well aware of it when they reach boy scout age- and especially eagle scout age. The BSA is a throwback to the 50's, back when they wouldn't let blacks in. BSA does have goodness, but it failed to evolve with the times. Their dwindling membership illustrates the fact that modern boys and parents are turned off by the BSA. Guys like you are a dying breed.
El Guapo you are coming across as homophobic. Why is that? Gays are born gay and are well aware of it when they reach boy scout age- and especially eagle scout age.

ho·mo·pho·bi·a Pronunciation Key (hm-fb-) n.
Fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men.
Behavior based on such a feeling.

Not a fear or contempt but a recognition of the differences and a rejection of queer politics. Take the political agenda out of it and I'm far more accepting.

The BSA is a throwback to the 50's, back when they wouldn't let blacks in.
Neither would the democratic party (1860) or the US Army(1940). That is a red hearing. It has nothing to do with Today's Scouts.

BSA does have goodness, but it failed to evolve with the times. Their dwindling membership illustrates the fact that modern boys and parents are turned off by the BSA. Guys like you are a dying breed.

True - We are old fasioned in this sense and maybe some have left scouting because of that failure to keep up with the times. However, I believe in what I believe in and I hope I presented a fair argument for my beliefs. I am content to stand alone.

I'm glad we had this chat.
 

nerudite

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I've been reading this thread and haven't really commented thus far, mostly because I really don't know anything about scouting... whether it receives public funds, etc. But then, I decided that it really doesn't matter that much in my own mind, so I'm throwing in my .02 dollars.

I guess what I've come down to (similar to ZoningGoddess I guess) is if the boy scouts were founded on a set of beliefs, and it is well known to all the participants, then it is up to the participants to determine whether they want to be involved with the organization.

I think that basic human rights, such as education, all people should have equal access to; however, outside of school hours, I really don't feel the need to restrict public buildings to groups that are totally inclusive of all individuals. I think freedom of the individual, although important, doesn't necessarily supersede the freedom of several individuals to participate in something they personally believe in. My tax dollars (yes, I still pay U.S. taxes.. and Canadian :( ) go to a lot of things that I personally don't support. I think the Eagle Scout has the opportunity to leave the organization if he wishes.

Do I think it's sad that he has to make this choice? Yeah, I do. But I think forcing several people to change their choices would be equally bad IMO. Part of diversity means people being able to practice their beliefs separately. If everyone was required to let anyone into every organization against their beliefs we would all be the same cookie cutter people.

As always, I have enjoyed reading through this highly intelligent thread. With respect,

-- Your friendly nieghbo(u)rhood agnostic (and a liberal to boot)
 

Chet

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OK you're right

El Guapo said:


No, I'm sure it was you ;)
After all, when my asian girlfriend gave birth to a deformed baby, we named him -













(wait for it)

















Sum Ting Wong
 

Habanero

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Brian, I'm going to have to take you out for the crem of sum yung gai and sushi in Denver for that-
 

BKM

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I think Nerudite summed it up pretty well.

I think Mugwub is a little oversensitive. Nobody else was being offensive. (A little catty humor, sometimes, but. . .)
 

donk

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If you want confusing about religion, the state and laws, you should see the debate going on now about proposed amendments to hate legislation. There is a group that fears the Bible and Sunday schools will be classified as deseminating hate and therefore be open to prosecution if sexual preference is entrenched in the Constitution and other legislation.
 

El Feo

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Hey, I think I may need to apologize to PlannerGirl!

I reread my first post on this, and realize that it seems like I'm coming down hard on you, personally. Not what I meant to do, and if you felt like I was, I'm genuinely sorry! Your post just happened to be the one that got me to thinking the most about the issue...
 

Dan

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donk said:
There is a group that fears the Bible and Sunday schools will be classified as deseminating hate and therefore be open to prosecution if sexual preference is entrenched in the Constitution and other legislation.
I don't think there is a government agency that can classify a particular organization as "hatred disseminating." Even if there was, would they say a Christian congregation was a "hate organization" because of how some fundies interpret one line in the book of Paul?

That's not to say that some churches are preaching hate. Consider fundamentalist and evangelical congregations that seem preoccupied with that one line in Paul. Consider the Nation of Islam.

I know groups like Focus on the Family fear laws that suppress discrimination against gays, because they think that it means they'll have to hire them. Sure ... as if any self-respecting gay male or lesbian would want to work in such an environment. Employers can't discriminate based on religion, but I doubt there's many ... really, any Muslims working at FOTF.
 

PlannerGirl

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Hey dont worry abou it El Feo, if I made ya think then thats good even if outcomes are not always what one would want.

I dont like it when folks accept a "party line" etc with out truly thinking about what they say they belive.

PG
 

BKM

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Well, Dan, people do have an amazing ability to "divide" themselves. I've read too many stories about gays working as close political assistants for hate-spewing politicians.

Heck, are high taxes such an issue that a gay could vote republican? Never understood that concept.

Isn't it amazing how many fundamentalist nuts have gay kids?
 
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BKM said:

Heck, are high taxes such an issue that a gay could vote republican? Never understood that concept.

Isn't it amazing how many fundamentalist nuts have gay kids?
OT: my brother's ex-boyfriend "Claude" was the proverbial son of a preacher's man, and was disowned by his family for 10 years. They finally came to a truce and "Claude" was let back in the family after he "got religion" and he's now an extremely right wing Christian Conservative who just happens to be Fabulous. I don't understand it, either.
 
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