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Cub Scouts vs. the nonreligious family


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#51 KungFuPanda

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 08:43 PM

Watching right now!
:)



Inappropriate TV watcher!!!!! :lol:

#52 Lady Florida

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 08:45 PM

Unfortunately, their national organization is not likely to change their opinions any time soon. They did, after all, take their case to the SCOTUS. And a large portion of the money raised at the local level gets sent to the national level.

Just things to keep in mind.


:iagree: Then there's that whole thing about pretending to believe, or at the very least hiding the fact that you don't. I wanted my son to know there is nothing to be ashamed of and plenty to be proud of, regarding our family's atheism. I did not want to teach him that he needed to hide who he is in order to be accepted.

#53 T'smom

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 08:57 PM

My brother was a girl scout (well, the camp altered his name a little) in 1966. :)

Our local pack is not heavy on the religion, but is light on camping, and heavy on movies and "fun". I opted out. I'm hoping Sea Scouts will pan out in later years.


What are Sea Scouts? I'm getting ready to google...but thought I'd ask as well.

#54 kalanamak

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:03 PM

What are Sea Scouts? I'm getting ready to google...but thought I'd ask as well.


http://seascouts.us/

Where I am it is co-ed for 13 and above. The girls I've known in it were oblivious any religion. Hubby was a commercial fisherman for years, and would be quite an asset as a volunteer.

#55 LucyStoner

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:28 PM

My son is not religious. He really was a born atheist. He is a scout. He only really wanted to be a boy scout. No other group interested him. We go to church and I was raised Catholic. He read up on the issue and decided that he is a Unitarian because Unitarians can believe that it is all a metaphor if they want. We do not go to a Unitarian church, though we have considered making the switch.

The pack here is not religious much and they do not abide by the gay restrictions either. Most of the dads openly distain those rules but like the organization for other reasons.

I struggled with if I should let him or not. My brother is a transsexual gay man who is partnered with a bio gay man and they have two daughters. I felt really uncomfortable joining an organization not accepting of his family. But we looked into local vs. National, we talked to leaders and staff of other organizations and finally we concluded that we would let him decide. when your very shy, quiet kid asks to do a social activity the gut reaction is to let him do it. It has been great. He won a 2nd place trophy at the district level pinewood derby last year. His social skills and confidence have really increased. We love scouts.

I only donate to local scholarships, not to friends of scouting and we do not sell the popcorn because part of the profit goes to the national org. It is not much, but that is our "change from the inside" strategy for now.

#56 Amy in NH

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:41 PM

That's why we chose 4-H.

#57 Tree House Academy

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:47 PM

This is why my son left scouts. At first we just kept our mouths shut, but when we found out that BSA doesn't think you can be a truly good citizen without believing in a god, that was it. While this might not be reflected by people running your Pack (or Troop when they move up), it is still official policy.

from BSA Legal.org (bolded mine)

"Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Accordingly, youth members and adult volunteer leaders of Boy Scouts of America obligate themselves to do their duty to God and be reverent as embodied in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Leaders also must subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle. Because of its views concerning the duty to God, Boy Scouts of America believes that an atheist or agnostic is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys. Because of Scouting’s methods and beliefs, Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders."


WOW. :confused: I am a Christian, but how horrible! Excluding children because they believe what they have been brought up to believe breaks my heart. Agnostics often believe in a higher power...just not sure about the whole thing. My ex husband was agnostic for a period of time...and so was I. He is now athiest and I am Christian...go figure. LOL Anyway...I don't like that one little bit. It hurts me when groups exclude others "in the name of the Lord." That is NOT what Jesus did and that is not a good representation of who *I* choose to be as a Christian.

#58 YLVD

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 10:54 PM

atheists are actually not allowed to be scouts. It doesn't matter what religion you are, it can be anything, but you cannot be atheist.

This was actually brought before the Supreme Court and it was deemed that since they are a private organization they can do whatever they want with this topic.

Dawn


Wow..that is, very sad IMO. I'm glad that I've never supported them in any way.

#59 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 11:24 PM

Just for the record Girl Scouts absolutely DO discriminate against the non-religious. My husband was VERY available to our dd's scouting activities, even took them camping, which I loathe. But, he could never be a leader or official volunteer due to his non-belief. :glare:

DD is no longer a scout.

#60 YLVD

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 11:33 PM

Just for the record Girl Scouts absolutely DO discriminate against the non-religious. My husband was VERY available to our dd's scouting activities, even took them camping, which I loathe. But, he could never be a leader or official volunteer due to his non-belief. :glare:

DD is no longer a scout.


This was my understanding as well. My DD was never super interested in joining but I would not have been keen on it due to those reasons.

#61 KarenNC

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:17 AM

Just for the record Girl Scouts absolutely DO discriminate against the non-religious. My husband was VERY available to our dd's scouting activities, even took them camping, which I loathe. But, he could never be a leader or official volunteer due to his non-belief. :glare:

DD is no longer a scout.


Really? I wonder if this is an issue specific to your council? I've not encountered such a policy in the now 5 years I've been involved as an adult Scout/leader in GS, even here in the middle of the Bible Belt. I have never been asked about my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) in filling out any paperwork or in any of the trainings, nor have I heard of anyone else being asked. We never asked any of our parents when they signed up as adult Scouts or filled out a volunteer from. I had several parents whose religious beliefs or lack thereof I never knew. One of our co-leaders was an atheist (she's no longer a leader because her kids went back to school and are in a different troop now with a more convenient meeting time). When my girls went to a camporee, I found a non-theistic grace for them to use in the group situation (since my troop included atheists, Muslims, Christians, Neopagans, I-have-no-ideas, etc;)) and it was very popular.They were asked to come back and sing it for the staff.


Do you have a link to something that shows that as policy?

Edited by KarenNC, 31 August 2011 - 12:27 AM.


#62 BabyBre

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:08 AM

What happens if a family in the group is nonreligious? Is this going to be a continuing issue for me? If it wouldn't break my boys' hearts to back out now, I probably would, but since it would, it is not an option right now.



Nothing happens as far as the Pack is concerned, but BSA is a religiously-based organization, not for the devoutly atheistic at heart. But surely you expected some conflicts to arise marrying a Christian, so you have a decision to make if you hadn't made it already. Will you raise your dc as athiests or Christians? They can't be both, and you certainly don't want them swearing their duty to a principle you don't intend for them to live. That defies the whole basis of Scouts - honesty, loyalty, etc.

I've found that the principles of Scouts is what I want my dc to live, but that most activities are not religiously-centered. There may be a prayer to open or close, but respectful boys who have amazing experiences and oportunities and help old ladies across the street is what comes out of it. And that's a good thing.

#63 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:09 AM

Or Camp Fire USA. That's where we headed after leaving Cub Scouts, and my son really likes it. They have a non-discrimination policy concerning religion or lack thereof, as well as sexual orientation.


We tried Spiral Scouts, but our local group just couldn't get itself together.

Both of my kids did a lot with Camp Fire, though, and it was wonderful.

#64 NanceXToo

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:10 AM

The "Girl Scout Promise" says:

The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.



As per wikipedia: "Girl Scout policy states that the word "God" may be interpreted depending on individual spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, "God" may be substituted with the word dictated by those beliefs."


My daughter attends Girl Scouts at an elementary school, not a church, and other than reciting the "Girl Scout Promise," (and having a Christmas party!) there's never been any religious aspects to her participating.


Anyway, thanks to whoever told me about that cloverbuds thing- I have an email in to them and to that campfire usa thing asking if there is anything in my more immediate area.



I think I'm also going to email the leader of the local cub scouts and just ask outright how much of an issue it would be with our particular group. I've exchanged a few emails with her in the past (it's a husband and wife who run it) when I was asking other questions about the age, and the types of things they do etc, and she was nice; I think I'm just going to be honest about our family's stance and ask if it's going to be an issue. If it's not, maybe we'll still join. If it is, we won't bother.

#65 54879525

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:18 AM

I didn't read all the responses. Have you considered something else such as 4H? I couldn't agree to any of that (among other issues I have with the scouts).

#66 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

We are Neopagan UU's, and the leader, knowing we were not Christian but honestly just not processing what that might mean, set up a community service project of Christmas caroling to a local nursing home.


Check out the page that lists all the religion badges you can earn. There are some non-theistic religions listed, so if you can affirm a belief in the unity of the universe (like Tao or Brahman) you'll be fine.


He read up on the issue and decided that he is a Unitarian because Unitarians can believe that it is all a metaphor if they want. We do not go to a Unitarian church, though we have considered making the switch.


Does anyone know if the BSA and UUA ever resolved their conflict over the Religion in Life curriculum? I've tried searching online, but the most recent links I'm finding are from 1998.

My son would never be a Boy Scout, anyway, because of their stance on all kinds of things. But I am curious now that folks are talking about it.

#67 jenn-

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:06 AM

But surely you expected some conflicts to arise marrying a Christian, so you have a decision to make if you hadn't made it already. Will you raise your dc as athiests or Christians? They can't be both,


My DH is a nonpracticing Christian. He doesn't attend church, doesn't read the bible, doesn't pray openly or in front of anyone, and doesn't discuss it with our children. Although I am an Atheist, only my oldest child has ever asked me my beliefs. Those only came up because she had a religiously aggressive friend that kept preaching at her and she asked why we didn't attend church. Until my boys start asking questions, they won't be given either side of our beliefs, but rather be taught about all belief systems.

#68 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:24 AM

Really? I wonder if this is an issue specific to your council? I've not encountered such a policy in the now 5 years I've been involved as an adult Scout/leader in GS, even here in the middle of the Bible Belt. I have never been asked about my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) in filling out any paperwork or in any of the trainings, nor have I heard of anyone else being asked. We never asked any of our parents when they signed up as adult Scouts or filled out a volunteer from. I had several parents whose religious beliefs or lack thereof I never knew. One of our co-leaders was an atheist (she's no longer a leader because her kids went back to school and are in a different troop now with a more convenient meeting time). When my girls went to a camporee, I found a non-theistic grace for them to use in the group situation (since my troop included atheists, Muslims, Christians, Neopagans, I-have-no-ideas, etc;)) and it was very popular.They were asked to come back and sing it for the staff.


Do you have a link to something that shows that as policy?


I asked dh just now where we saw the policy. (We both remember reading it on the form to apply to be a leader. He did specifically state that it did not seem to apply to volunteers.) I am looking at the forms online and don't see anything that specifically mentions religious beliefs of leaders, however, it IS part of the promise, so to NOT support that is not something that a leader should do, imo. Either you support the organization as is or you don't.

#69 PiCO

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:26 AM

Just for the record Girl Scouts absolutely DO discriminate against the non-religious. My husband was VERY available to our dd's scouting activities, even took them camping, which I loathe. But, he could never be a leader or official volunteer due to his non-belief.


I was a girl scout leader for years. Never in my training was I asked if I believed in a god, or what my religious background was. I asked about the girls scout promise, and told the training leader that I would not make an oath to god. She said I could replace "god" with whatever I wanted- nature, mankind, etc., and she told me many people just say "good" instead of god, because it sounds the same. I was specifically told that atheists and agnostics were welcome in girl scouts.

However, I was looking for the "official" girl scout stand on religion, and it seems they do expect you to uphold their oath.

#70 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:31 AM

I was a girl scout leader for years. Never in my training was I asked if I believed in a god, or what my religious background was. I asked about the girls scout promise, and told the training leader that I would not make an oath to god. She said I could replace "god" with whatever I wanted- nature, mankind, etc., and she told me many people just say "good" instead of god, because it sounds the same. I was specifically told that atheists and agnostics were welcome in girl scouts.

However, I was looking for the "official" girl scout stand on religion, and it seems they do expect you to uphold their oath.



Yes. If I came across like, "someone chased us down and yelled at us for not believing in god" then I apologize. I didn't mean to characterize it that way. There was something on the form about "will uphold the oath", I think, which includes belief in god. It wasn't a "Well, I NEVA!" kinda' thing, it was more of a personal integrity issue: How could we attest to something that we do not believe? It would have felt like lying.

#71 Impish

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:45 AM

Wow..that is, very sad IMO. I'm glad that I've never supported them in any way.

Why is it sad? They're a private organization who have had this pledge/stance for over a hundred years.

#72 Tangerine

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:51 AM

Why is it sad? They're a private organization who have had this pledge/stance for over a hundred years.


There are plenty of private organizations who hold beliefs I find abhorrent. A person can believe in their right to hold those beliefs, while still finding them "sad".

#73 LidiyaDawn

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:53 AM

Why is it sad? They're a private organization who have had this pledge/stance for over a hundred years.


The length of time for which a group has held a specific stance doesn't really matter to people who view the stance as ________ [whatever - discriminatory, behind the times, sad, whatever]

Take slavery (as a somewhat extreme example, yes) - for hundreds of years, many people believed that slavery was completely acceptable. As a society, we no longer accept that way of thinking from our fellow 'man' .

Yeah yeah, slavery and boy scouts aren't the same thing and someone is gonna say something about "wanting to have a group of likeminded people isn't the same as wanting to enslave another person" yada yada yada - I'm just using it to show GROUP A used to think this and has changed. GROUP B used to think this and has not changed.

#74 Laura Corin

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:00 AM

atheists are actually not allowed to be scouts. It doesn't matter what religion you are, it can be anything, but you cannot be atheist.

This was actually brought before the Supreme Court and it was deemed that since they are a private organization they can do whatever they want with this topic.

Dawn


My boys chose their own beliefs to satisfy the requirements. To be honest, I didn't feel quite right about the fudge, but we were a long way from home and this was one of the few expat social opportunities the boys had (they also had lots of local friends). The cub scout leader was happy to leave it up to us.

Despite the scout leader knowing about my lack of belief, I was allowed to be a tiger/bear leader.

Laura

#75 ciyates

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:07 AM

I am sorry the Scouts are not a good fit for you and your family. I may have understood it wrong but it sounds like to me you allow your children to decide what they believe. When they bring it up you discuss all of the different views. Am I correct? If so I would address it with the cub leader privately and stress that you haven't discussed religion with your children yet because they have not show an interest in it yet. If he is okay with it then I think you should continue. However as a Boy Scout the duty to God is stressed many, many times (for us that is one of the reasons we like it). It is something he will have to deal with and make a stand on.

However if the scouting policies offend you and you do not think they are acceptable I would remove him now before he gets further involved.

I think it is a great group and I have seen my son grow and mature in many many ways. However I am a practicing Christian so their views do not offend me. I really hope you can resolve this and you son is able to do something he enjoys.

#76 KungFuPanda

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:07 AM

I was a girl scout leader for years. Never in my training was I asked if I believed in a god, or what my religious background was. I asked about the girls scout promise, and told the training leader that I would not make an oath to god. She said I could replace "god" with whatever I wanted- nature, mankind, etc., and she told me many people just say "good" instead of god, because it sounds the same. I was specifically told that atheists and agnostics were welcome in girl scouts.

However, I was looking for the "official" girl scout stand on religion, and it seems they do expect you to uphold their oath.


:iagree: This was my experience as a leader too. In fact, during training they made it clear that "upholding the oath" meant the version of the oath that was customized for each particular girl/adult leader. If a girl couldn't participate in any version of the promise or the law, I'm sure it wouldn't be a deal-breaker and the Troup Leader could easily work around it without fudging anything.

That said, Girl Scouts have a lot of autonomy within their groups, so I wouldn't be surprised if 'special interest' troops were formed. The experience can vary widely from troop to troop.

#77 YLVD

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:26 AM

Why is it sad? They're a private organization who have had this pledge/stance for over a hundred years.


I find blatant discrimination sad. I guess I'm odd that way.

#78 YLVD

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:27 AM

The length of time for which a group has held a specific stance doesn't really matter to people who view the stance as ________ [whatever - discriminatory, behind the times, sad, whatever]

Take slavery (as a somewhat extreme example, yes) - for hundreds of years, many people believed that slavery was completely acceptable. As a society, we no longer accept that way of thinking from our fellow 'man' .

Yeah yeah, slavery and boy scouts aren't the same thing and someone is gonna say something about "wanting to have a group of likeminded people isn't the same as wanting to enslave another person" yada yada yada - I'm just using it to show GROUP A used to think this and has changed. GROUP B used to think this and has not changed.


:iagree:

#79 ciyates

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:34 AM

I find blatant discrimination sad. I guess I'm odd that way.


Why is setting a standard equal to discrimination?

#80 mirth

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:42 AM

I am sorry the Scouts are not a good fit for you and your family. I may have understood it wrong but it sounds like to me you allow your children to decide what they believe. When they bring it up you discuss all of the different views. Am I correct? If so I would address it with the cub leader privately and stress that you haven't discussed religion with your children yet because they have not show an interest in it yet. If he is okay with it then I think you should continue. However as a Boy Scout the duty to God is stressed many, many times (for us that is one of the reasons we like it). It is something he will have to deal with and make a stand on.

However if the scouting policies offend you and you do not think they are acceptable I would remove him now before he gets further involved.



Agree, very much agree. No matter how fun or any other good-adjective it is.

Discrimination happens so frequently on so many different levels that I am saddened that BSA serves as the soft-target archetype of discriminatory practices. Girl Scouts discriminate. DAR discriminates. Sororities and fraternities discriminate. Senior housing complexes discriminate. Movie ticket prices discriminate. Kids' meals discriminate. Visas into any country which requires them discriminate. Entry through your front door is discriminatory. Nobody rends their garments over these though.

#81 WoolySocks

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:42 AM

I find blatant discrimination sad. I guess I'm odd that way.


:iagree: And it might look like a "standard" if you're inside that circle of Christianity. From someone outside, it pretty clearly looks like discrimination.

#82 Julie Smith

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:45 AM

I find blatant discrimination sad. I guess I'm odd that way.


I find it sad that such a popular organization for children discriminates, and by doing so teaches children to discriminate. Also that such a group has gotten, and still does get special treatment from governments. Personally I don't want any of my money in any shape or form going to a group that teaches discrimination based of faith.

From there website: ... Scouts Canada welcomes members of many different faiths and denominations; we are proud of our commitment to diversity.....

But for some reason that commitment to diversity doesn't include a large chunk of the population.

From wikipedia: ...Atheism is more prevalent in Canada than in the United States, with 19–30% of the population holding an atheistic or agnostic viewpoint...

So basically boy scouts is says they have a commitment to diversity, but at the same time excluding a possible 19-30% of the population. :glare:

Personally a organization that states (This is Boys Scouts of America)

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.

I don't consider any group that teaches that is a good group and I will never support boy scouts in any shape or form, and will fight and complain whenever they get special treatment from any government funded organization.

#83 ciyates

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:51 AM

Every group has a standard, a criteria for joining, something that bonds them together. For the Boy Scouts, one of their standards is a belief in a higher power. How is that discrimination? That would be like me saying I want to join an orchestra but I don't have an instrument, I can't play and I refuse to learn but they are discriminating against me. There are many groups out that I can not join because I don't meet their criteria that does not mean I am being discriminated against.

#84 Ipsey

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:53 AM

Why is setting a standard equal to discrimination?


Why can't "non-belief" be a standard? Oh, right, because non-belief is beneath belief. People who can't believe aren't the right kind of people.

Why can't the standard be behavior?

Then, maybe a good atheist kid could have stood in the place of this winner.

http://scienceblogs....tand_out_in.php

#85 zenjenn

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:57 AM

Just for the record Girl Scouts absolutely DO discriminate against the non-religious. My husband was VERY available to our dd's scouting activities, even took them camping, which I loathe. But, he could never be a leader or official volunteer due to his non-belief.


Some crackpot leader may have discriminated, but I am 100% sure that atheists and lesbians are welcome in Girl Scouts. "God" is mentioned in the Promise, with an asterisk stating that "God" can be replaced with anything representing the individual's ethical/spiritual beliefs.

I suppose on that basis one might say the Girl Scouts would not accept avowed nihilists, but a nihilist wouldn't want to be a member of any organization anyways.

The point of the promise is basically to be affirm one's commitment to be an ethical citizen and person of dignity and respect. If anything, GSUSA is criticized for being to liberal/lefty - criticism that is not entirely without merit, but the programming gives leaders and girls the freedom to customize it to be the kind of experience they want.

Edited by zenjenn, 31 August 2011 - 11:01 AM.


#86 YLVD

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:58 AM

I find it sad that such a popular organization for children discriminates, and by doing so teaches children to discriminate. Also that such a group has gotten, and still does get special treatment from governments. Personally I don't want any of my money in any shape or form going to a group that teaches discrimination based of faith.

From there website: ... Scouts Canada welcomes members of many different faiths and denominations; we are proud of our commitment to diversity.....

But for some reason that commitment to diversity doesn't include a large chunk of the population.

From wikipedia: ...Atheism is more prevalent in Canada than in the United States, with 19–30% of the population holding an atheistic or agnostic viewpoint...

So basically boy scouts is says they have a commitment to diversity, but at the same time excluding a possible 19-30% of the population. :glare:

Personally a organization that states (This is Boys Scouts of America)

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.

I don't consider any group that teaches that is a good group and I will never support boy scouts in any shape or form, and will fight and complain whenever they get special treatment from any government funded organization.


Those percentages are interesting! I'm in the area in the US with the most atheists, least amount of churches, etc. I think that's why this kind of discrimination seems so crazy to me.

I would never support the boy scouts either. Don't even get me started on their stance regarding homosexuality.

#87 mirth

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:00 AM

Some crackpot leader may have discriminated, but I am 100% sure that atheists and lesbians are welcome in Girl Scouts. "God" is mentioned in the Promise, with an asterisk stating that "God" can be replaced with anything representing the individual's ethical/spiritual beliefs.


Yes but they discriminate based on sex. Can a boy join Girls Scouts? If not, then they discriminate.

Edited by mirth, 31 August 2011 - 11:03 AM.


#88 Plucky

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:02 AM

Why can't "non-belief" be a standard? Oh, right, because non-belief is beneath belief. People who can't believe aren't the right kind of people.

Why can't the standard be behavior?

Then, maybe a good atheist kid could have stood in the place of this winner.

http://scienceblogs....tand_out_in.php


There are alternatives to scouts. If you don't like scouts, don't do it. No big deal. I don't feel the need to get offended by the fact that Spiral Scouting exists, and I don't agree with their policies.

Plus, I dislike that link. That scout has problems, but a professor that would use a child's facebook page in that way also has character issues.

#89 SailorMom

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:02 AM

:iagree: And it might look like a "standard" if you're inside that circle of Christianity. From someone outside, it pretty clearly looks like discrimination.


I am not in "that circle" either. I'm a deist - living in the south and homeschooling :) You can imagine how many others there are like me here :lol:
Anyway - my boys are both in scouts, and are(as of now) deists themselves. BSA is VERY liberal about what they count as religion. Budhism is accepted regardlessof the fact that there is no belief in any higher power/being. I know an agnostic who receieved his Eagle even though his "religion" was that he thought there might be something but couldn't prove it.
Anyway - I get what everyone is saying, and there is a large part of me that wishes it wasn't a deal breaker. Maybe more of a "we encourage" sort of thing rather than a "must".
I think BSA is losing a lot of wonderful scouts and families because of this policy.

#90 SailorMom

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:08 AM

Why can't "non-belief" be a standard? Oh, right, because non-belief is beneath belief. People who can't believe aren't the right kind of people.

Why can't the standard be behavior?

Then, maybe a good atheist kid could have stood in the place of this winner.

http://scienceblogs....tand_out_in.php



I have talked to very few BSA members who are anti-atheists. Meaning - they don't have anything personally against them, and do not believe they are "beneath belief". they certainly don't feel they are "not the right kind of people".... that is ridiculous stereotyping.
I understand your argument, but (and this includes all f the very emotional posts here) getting personally offended by MILLIONS of good people because they are part of a club seems odd.
Also - re homosexuality. I do not like this policy either, and am hopinjg that good people from within the BSA can help to change it. Pressure from without will not do any good. But if enough leaders are involved who support allowing homosexuals in BSA,then maybe things can change.
If I ever felt homophobia, or any sort of negative image of homosexuals was mentioned at meetings, my sons would not go. This may be a policy, but most troops and packs basically ignore it, and never bring it up.

#91 Julie Smith

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:09 AM

Every group has a standard, a criteria for joining, something that bonds them together. For the Boy Scouts, one of their standards is a belief in a higher power. How is that discrimination? That would be like me saying I want to join an orchestra but I don't have an instrument, I can't play and I refuse to learn but they are discriminating against me. There are many groups out that I can not join because I don't meet their criteria that does not mean I am being discriminated against.


Not all Boy Scouts discriminate based on Religion.

In Austria, Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs is a member of both WOSM and WAGGGS. The association is open to members without prejudice to birth, nationality, religion or belief.

Scouting Ireland is a member of WOSM. The association is open to members without prejudice to birth, nationality, religion or belief. The Law contains no reference to God and members are offered two alternative variants of the promise, one which refers to God and a second requiring that the member do their best to further their understanding and acceptance of a Spiritual Reality.

In Slovenia, Zveza tabornikov Slovenije is a member of WOSM. The guiding principles include plurality, openness to members without prejudice to birth, nationality, religion or belief; provided the member abides by the principles of pacifism, personal freedom, high moral and ethical principles and principles of the international scouting movement. In the promise the reference to God is replaced with "acceptance and development of Spiritual reality". No religious merit badges are in use.

#92 Ipsey

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:09 AM

There are alternatives to scouts. If you don't like scouts, don't do it. No big deal. I don't feel the need to get offended by the fact that Spiral Scouting exists, and I don't agree with their policies.

Plus, I dislike that link. That scout has problems, but a professor that would use a child's facebook page in that way also has character issues.


After what I've learned in the last two days, I'll definitely be doing something different than Scouts, you're right.

As to the link, it was the best one I found that showed the problem the most clearly. He blurred the boy's name. I find that the boy posted to be much more of a problem. I'm sure the boy wasn't disciplined in any way by the Scouts--though he didn't seem very reverent there.

I'm not going to demand the Scouts let us in, but I'm surely not going to encourage any one to join them or to hold them in esteem anymore.

#93 NotSoObvious

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:09 AM

Really? I wonder if this is an issue specific to your council? I've not encountered such a policy in the now 5 years I've been involved as an adult Scout/leader in GS, even here in the middle of the Bible Belt. I have never been asked about my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) in filling out any paperwork or in any of the trainings, nor have I heard of anyone else being asked. We never asked any of our parents when they signed up as adult Scouts or filled out a volunteer from. I had several parents whose religious beliefs or lack thereof I never knew. One of our co-leaders was an atheist (she's no longer a leader because her kids went back to school and are in a different troop now with a more convenient meeting time). When my girls went to a camporee, I found a non-theistic grace for them to use in the group situation (since my troop included atheists, Muslims, Christians, Neopagans, I-have-no-ideas, etc;)) and it was very popular.They were asked to come back and sing it for the staff.


Do you have a link to something that shows that as policy?


Yeah, that shocks me, too. I was a leader about 10 years ago and I don't remember being asked about religion at ALL.

#94 zenjenn

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:13 AM

Yes but they discriminate based on sex.


At this point in time, it is not considered discriminatory (in the negative sense of the word) to separate genders for schools, bathrooms, clubs, gyms, private organizations, etc. It has been fairly well-established now that boys and girls can benefit from all-boy and all-girl environments, and there are good reasons to seek out those environments. The organization exists to create a safe, accepting all-girl environment, and that is not inconsistent with still being an open and accepting organization in our society. Some girls do not thrive or assert themselves in the presence of boys. I had one girl in my troop whose mother had passed away and lived in a home with her father and four brothers. I've heard of girls who were victims of sexual abuse getting a lot out of being in Girl Scouts.

An all-girl environment is a great service to these girls.

#95 YLVD

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

I have talked to very few BSA members who are anti-atheists. Meaning - they don't have anything personally against them, and do not believe they are "beneath belief". they certainly don't feel they are "not the right kind of people".... that is ridiculous stereotyping.
I understand your argument, but (and this includes all f the very emotional posts here) getting personally offended by MILLIONS of good people because they are part of a club seems odd.
Also - re homosexuality. I do not like this policy either, and am hopinjg that good people from within the BSA can help to change it. Pressure from without will not do any good. But if enough leaders are involved who support allowing homosexuals in BSA,then maybe things can change.
If I ever felt homophobia, or any sort of negative image of homosexuals was mentioned at meetings, my sons would not go. This may be a policy, but most troops and packs basically ignore it, and never bring it up.


I understand that people probably don't like many of the policies, and that's good. I just could never support organizational homophobia, even if I didn't see it, etc. My best friend is a lesbian, as is my closest cousin. I live in a very gay-friendly area and have had many other gay friends. That may be why I feel so strongly about it.

#96 Plucky

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:16 AM

After what I've learned in the last two days, I'll definitely be doing something different than Scouts, you're right.



I'm not going to demand the Scouts let us in, but I'm surely not going to encourage any one to join them or to hold them in esteem anymore.


Fine. There are plenty of organizations I do not esteem. I know that my boys have benefited very much from scouts. It is really the only organization we are a part of that has taught my kids public speaking, leadership, and more.

I'm not wild about some parts of the BSA, but as long as a kid does believe in a god, they are welcome. They can be Christian, Muslim, whatever.

#97 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:18 AM

Why is setting a standard equal to discrimination?


Well, it wasn't my statement. But, to me, "setting a standard" that excludes people implies that they are lesser than you, because they don't meet your "standard."

I find that sad, too.

#98 Ipsey

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:19 AM

I have talked to very few BSA members who are anti-atheists. Meaning - they don't have anything personally against them, and do not believe they are "beneath belief". they certainly don't feel they are "not the right kind of people".... that is ridiculous stereotyping.
.


I don't think that most BSA folks are anti-atheists or anti-gay, but the policies of the organization are. What is the point of excluding gays and non-believers if not because they're "not the right sort". Behavior over belief, is very important to me.

I don't know how I'd look my gay friends in the face again if I knew my children were involved with a group that specifically excluded them or gay children.

#99 Julie Smith

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:19 AM

Every group has a standard, a criteria for joining, something that bonds them together. For the Boy Scouts, one of their standards is a belief in a higher power. How is that discrimination? That would be like me saying I want to join an orchestra but I don't have an instrument, I can't play and I refuse to learn but they are discriminating against me. There are many groups out that I can not join because I don't meet their criteria that does not mean I am being discriminated against.


But if you are a scout, in many places with the exception of saying the word God in a oath at the beginning of meetings you can fully participate in the group. Being part of a orchestra without a instrument in not the same. You can't participate with the group.

My kids and I are part of a Christian running club. I am a assistant coach. My kids have been able to fully participate in all aspects of it. Till this year, when the topic came up people didn't know we weren't Christian.

You don't have to be Christian to be part of the team, just accept that it is a Christian running team. I think it's nice that my children are being exposed to various people who believe in god. They are learning that there are good nice people who just happen to believe differently then they do. We have never been made to feel that we are less moral, less good then the Christian members of the team.

I suppose I find it odd that we can be accepted and welcomed onto a Christian running team, but not onto boy scouts which states it doesn't discriminate. :confused:

#100 YLVD

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:21 AM

I don't think that most BSA folks are anti-atheists or anti-gay, but the policies of the organization are. What is the point of excluding gays and non-believers if not because they're "not the right sort". Behavior over belief, is very important to me.

I don't know how I'd look my gay friends in the face again if I knew my children were involved with a group that specifically excluded them or gay children.


:iagree: I could not agree more. This is exactly how I feel about it.


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