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7 year old son wants to join Boy Scouts, but I'm uncomfortable w/ the organization - Page 3

post #41 of 65

My 7 year old is in his 2nd year of cub scouts and I really like the program. The program does require belief in God, though it is not affiliated with any particular organized religion. We are Catholic. A boy scout is encouraged to pursue the religious emblem program for his specific faith, but that is between him, his parents, and his clergy, not the den or pack. 

 

Because of the requisite faith in God, the program is certainly not the best fit for families that aim to raise atheists. It also is not the best fit for families that desire to raise their children with moral values contrary to those of the organization and most organized religions. I am glad that my sons, through Boy Scouts, will be exposed to peers and families with moral values and faith in God. These things seem much more difficult to come by in society as of late. 

 

OP, maybe have your son clarify why he wants to join the scouts. If it is just for outdoor activites or to have buddies, then those needs probably can be met elsewhere more aligned with your preferences. If he is feeling a need for spiritual growth, you may have to be more open to the possibility that he is called to faith.

post #42 of 65
I would recommend 4H if you don't like scouts. They mostly meet at schools, grange halls, etc. Even in urban areas, there is often a club. The project offerings vary from area to area, but he can gain many of the same experiences through 4H.
post #43 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

My 7 year old is in his 2nd year of cub scouts and I really like the program. The program does require belief in God, though it is not affiliated with any particular organized religion. We are Catholic. A boy scout is encouraged to pursue the religious emblem program for his specific faith, but that is between him, his parents, and his clergy, not the den or pack. 

 

Because of the requisite faith in God, the program is certainly not the best fit for families that aim to raise atheists. It also is not the best fit for families that desire to raise their children with moral values contrary to those of the organization and most organized religions. I am glad that my sons, through Boy Scouts, will be exposed to peers and families with moral values and faith in God. These things seem much more difficult to come by in society as of late. 

 

OP, maybe have your son clarify why he wants to join the scouts. If it is just for outdoor activites or to have buddies, then those needs probably can be met elsewhere more aligned with your preferences. If he is feeling a need for spiritual growth, you may have to be more open to the possibility that he is called to faith.


I, personally, would love to find an organization that supports moral values such as "Love thy neighbor as yourself," "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and "to do good and communicate forget not."   I really want to teach my children "do not take advantage of widows and orphans," and "to be openhanded to the poor and needy," and to invite " poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind" to their banquets.

 

Oh wait, are those not the moral values you're talking about?? 

 

post #44 of 65

Just wanna say that religion has no monopoly on moral values.

 

A highly religious individual encouraged me to lie about my son's age so he could get into Six Flags for cheaper (he was small for his age). My husband's best friend is a strong atheist and works for Habitat for Humanity on weekends.
 

I am an atheist, and bigotry is against my moral values. That's why my family is not affiliated with the BSA.

post #45 of 65

Just got back from a pack meeting, how timely.

 

Cub Scouting's 12 Core Values are (from my son's Wolf Handbook)

 

Citizenship - Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities.

Compassion - Being kind and considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others.

Cooperation - Being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal.

Courage - Being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences.

Faith - Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.

Health and Fitness - Being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit.

Honesty - Telling the truth and being worthy of trust.

Perseverance - Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult.

Positive Attitude - Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations. 

Resourcefulness - Using human and other resources to their fullest.

Respect - Showing regard for the worth of something or someone.

Responsibility - Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves.

 

These are the values I am talking about, and I think they are all good values and seem to be in short supply these days. As you can plainly see, bigotry is not on our list either. :) I have been very pleased with the program thus far.

 

And yes, 2xy as I suggested before, atheism and BSA are not the best match, so it is unsurprising that your family is not affiliated. You simply would not be able to make or keep the Cub Scout Promise. Hopefully you find an organization more aligned with your belief system.

post #46 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

J


 

These are the values I am talking about, and I think they are all good values and seem to be in short supply these days. As you can plainly see, bigotry is not on our list either. :) I have been very pleased with the program thus far.

 

And yes, 2xy as I suggested before, atheism and BSA are not the best match, so it is unsurprising that your family is not affiliated. You simply would not be able to make or keep the Cub Scout Promise. Hopefully you find an organization more aligned with your belief system.

 

Are you still implying, as you appear to have been in your previous post, that those values can only be found in a religious organization?  

 

Because in my life, the people who most personify all those values, who best put them into use in their day to day lives, are all agnostics and/or athiests.   Well, there's a wiccan, too....  Further, I know a heck of a lot of people who loudly profess religious belief -- who are active in Scouting, even -- who don't exhibit any of those values.

 

 

 

post #47 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

We don't allow girl scouts for quite a few of the same reasons. Other than that homophobic aspect I don't want my kids out peddling boxes of cookies for hours on end so that all the money can just go right up the chain. Very few of the groups see much of that money. It bothers me greatly. Our friends daughter and son were involved and while some of the things they enjoyed a lot of things were against their principles and it seemed to be a constant annoyance for their parents. There are so many other things kids can get involved in. I wasn't allowed in girl scouts and my brother wasn't allowed in boy scouts. All I wanted to do was go camping and make stuff... and my mom took us camping and we made stuff.


Just to clarify- Girl Scouts does not have the homophobic aspect that boy scouts does.  And cookie sales are optional  :)

 

post #48 of 65

 

 

Quote:
Faith - Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.

 

 

Quote:
As you can plainly see, bigotry is not on our list either. 

 

 

It's sad that you fail to see that it is in fact a bigoted faith statement-

 

faith can come without god and having morals as well can and are achieved without faith in god, teaching that you must only have this type of faith is a bigoted response that causes disastrous ramifications

 

there is a reason their membership has declined over the years

 

 

 

 

post #49 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

Cub Scouting's 12 Core Values are (from my son's Wolf Handbook)

 

Citizenship - Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities.

Compassion - Being kind and considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others.

Cooperation - Being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal.

Courage - Being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences.

Faith - Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.

Health and Fitness - Being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit.

Honesty - Telling the truth and being worthy of trust.

Perseverance - Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult.

Positive Attitude - Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations. 

Resourcefulness - Using human and other resources to their fullest.

Respect - Showing regard for the worth of something or someone.

Responsibility - Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves.

 

These are the values I am talking about, and I think they are all good values and seem to be in short supply these days.


Wow, check it out! Those are my family's values, too.....except replace "God" with "reason and Humanity."

 

Since approximately 85% of Americans profess belief in God, it makes me wonder why these values are in such short supply if they are based on religion.

 

post #50 of 65
I'm not seeing any evidence of enlightened atheistic behavior in these responses. I'm seeing a rather immature "My Dad is better than your Dad fight" but we can replace "Dad" with belief . Truth can be found in many places, and some may find truth and meaning without religion. Many atheists do have a certain amount of faith - in science and reason. Implying that people with traditional faiths are somehow at fault when by definition atheism is just as exclusive in its disbelief is pretty hypocritical. Also, going by 85% of Americans professing in a belief in God and morals being in short supply is poor logic. That's like saying that Americans are the best educated in nutritional eating and good exercise and health habits but they are more overweight than ever, could education be the cause? The fact is, people do all sorts of things they know or believe are wrong. As you can see from my previous post, I would be very uncomfortable with BSA (I'm Canadian, different mandate here) because of the anti-gay agenda, and a certain (throughout Scouts regardless of nation) feeling of the underlying agenda not being entirely explicit or open with their members. This is not a defense of Scouts. But LaLimena very respectfully acknowledged that Scouts would not be a good fit for atheists and that if you were looking for just fun and outdoors camping that maybe the OP would be best finding an organization more in line with her beliefs. She was very understanding that we all have our differences and that people should find what works best for their families. Some of the replies to her post have been downright mean and unnecessary, and pretty much off topic, too, as I know this is, but I felt I had to comment in the midst of this rather bigoted rudeness.
post #51 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

Because of the requisite faith in God, the program is certainly not the best fit for families that aim to raise atheists. It also is not the best fit for families that desire to raise their children with moral values contrary to those of the organization and most organized religions. I am glad that my sons, through Boy Scouts, will be exposed to peers and families with moral values and faith in God. These things seem much more difficult to come by in society as of late. 


Surely you understand that gay does not equal atheist, and gay does not mean that one has no "moral values".
post #52 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

Also, going by 85% of Americans professing in a belief in God and morals being in short supply is poor logic. That's like saying that Americans are the best educated in nutritional eating and good exercise and health habits but they are more overweight than ever, could education be the cause? The fact is, people do all sorts of things they know or believe are wrong.

 

Well, I don't know how Americans can be the best educated, yet education causes them to be overweight. That makes no sense. And Americans are really pretty poorly educated on nutritional eating, anyway. A big reason Americans are overweight is because of the huge availability of cheap calories. It all boils down to Big Business and their desire to profit off the population, no matter the cost to humanity.

 

If most people believe in God, yet people do all sorts of things they know or believe are wrong, then that is evidence that faith has little or no bearing on right behavior. I don't see how you can say that's poor logic. The majority of the people in United States' prisons also believe in God.
 

You are right that the BSA is not a good fit for atheists. Maybe things have changed, but when my boys were little the Internet was still young-ish and it wasn't common knowledge that the BSA was a discriminatory organization. They recruited in public schools and little boys would get all excited about joining. Many parents were caught by surprise regarding the bigoted policies, myself included.

 

post #53 of 65

 

 

Quote:
They recruited in public schools and little boys would get all excited about joining. 

 

 

not so anymore- a local public school near me has banned them from requiting because of "their" religious practices and others are also planning to do the same - MANY parents do not want the organization in the schools

 

back to this -  

 

Quote:
Quote:
As you can plainly see, bigotry is not on our list either. 

 

 

 

there happens to still be "clubs" that ban certain religions from membership and they also do not come out and use the word bigot/bigotry and it clearly can and does mean it -

 

if you can blindly allow or if you make a conscience effort to allow your child to be a member of an organization that supports exclusion that is a terrible moral to teach a child-IMO

post #54 of 65
Have we gotten anywhere with this yet? Has anyone come up with a good option or are we still arguing?
post #55 of 65
If you will read upthread, you'll see that yes, many other youth organizations have been offered as alternatives.
post #56 of 65

Aye... I'm almost afraid to say that we are Scouts.  BUT, I had strong concerns and as a result, became a den leader so that I could quickly "out" if I saw anything like what the OP was concerned about.  There are NO. OTHER. organizations in my area and sorry, but having just relocated (and moving 5 times in 18mo) I was so NOT in a place to start Earth Scouts (check them out, too, btw) or Spirals (which would've lined up with our beliefs a bit better).  We tried 4-H but it was ALL. CRAFTS and usually with foods that my son couldn't eat (allergies) and they weren't exactly "for" trying to work with us.

 

This is one where I've set aside my issues with the organization as a whole for the benefits that come with the local chapter and the organization's program.  FTR, I do NOT believe morals and ethics are confined to a specific faith and I think that agnostic and atheism are faiths like all others.  I had the great fortune of moving from an area of the country that had a lot of "Sunday morning christians" and "religion" to a larger percentage that truly walked their talk.  And while it may not be the same as my walk, I can respect them and they respect us.  It's a nice microcosm.

 

I also occasionally go to Walmart because I truly need something that I cannot spend another dime on.

 

Call it what you will... but just for the OP's understanding of where MY opinion is coming from.

 

Our family intends to remain within the pack leadership as long as our son wants to remain a Scout so that if he is in ANY way going to be discriminated against, we are more likely to be in the know before it gets to him.  There seems to be a contingent of people on the earth that have no tolerance for rambunctious or quirky boys and ours is both (sexual preference TBD as he is 7yo).  And I'm hoping that if the day comes that we need to part ways for these reasons, he will be old enough to understand and process it with our guidance.  In the meantime, he is learning a LOT and enjoying his time in Scouting.

 

I'm not saying the day won't come, but I'm not worried about it.  And that's not because I'm "so sure it won't happen".  It's because I know that it will be another learning experience for us to face together.  Frankly, if it's going to affect him in Scouts, it's going to affect him elsewhere in life and we'll need the practice.  If he got to Eagle, outted himself and couldn't be accepted, I don't find it much different than being politicked against for homecoming king or valedictorian in a public school (which, btw, totally happens... btdt).

 

Our pack meetings are held in the local public school and den meetings are round robin at people's houses.  Since our pack is full of non-christian kids (the BSA has a faith emblem for Hindu, Islam, Buddhism... there are over a dozen and I can't remember them all) we don't generally have a PRAYER at a pack meeting, but we "give thanks" in a reverent and respectful way.  The Cub Scout promise DOES reference a duty to God--which would not sit well with atheists.  My family understands Father God and Mother Earth so for us, it's not really difficult to do this.  But it would be hard for some.  And while they recognize multiple faiths, they clearly don't UNDERSTAND some of them as they occasionally use "God" in their wording (I'm thinking of a Wolf requirement called "Duty to God" where the requirements are completely possible to complete as an agnostic or atheist if not for the word "God" in there--it's about your family's spiritual beliefs).

 

I'm also finding that the people where I live now--which includes a LOT of christians that are actually living christian lives in addition to a large Hindu population--have a really hard time wrapping their head around someone living with similar morals and ethics, but not having a defined faith.  They simply have never seen it.  It's not that they don't believe me, it just boggles their mind for lack of exposure.  But similarly, the people where I'm from (where most "religious" people don't actually have faith or a clear spirituality) think that living here must make me nuts--because they've never seen people with true faith (which includes tolerance) and don't realize that it's easier to deal with people here because they're not complete hypocrites (which is what they're envisioning).  They've seen the yappity-yaps that profess to be one thing and act like another.

 

It's been a surreal experience.

post #57 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post

 

Well, I don't know how Americans can be the best educated, yet education causes them to be overweight. That makes no sense. And Americans are really pretty poorly educated on nutritional eating, anyway. A big reason Americans are overweight is because of the huge availability of cheap calories. It all boils down to Big Business and their desire to profit off the population, no matter the cost to humanity.

 

If most people believe in God, yet people do all sorts of things they know or believe are wrong, then that is evidence that faith has little or no bearing on right behavior. I don't see how you can say that's poor logic. The majority of the people in United States' prisons also believe in God. 

You are right that the BSA is not a good fit for atheists. Maybe things have changed, but when my boys were little the Internet was still young-ish and it wasn't common knowledge that the BSA was a discriminatory organization. They recruited in public schools and little boys would get all excited about joining. Many parents were caught by surprise regarding the bigoted policies, myself included.

 


Sorry, I explained myself poorly. My point is that people often behave differently than what they believe, know or have been educated to be right, because everybody is subject to impulse, emotion, cultural influence or sometimes outright apathy. It is not whether people do or do not believe in anything (whether religion or healthy habits) that determines behavior as much as determination to behave within that belief or in some cases skepticism. The 85% of Americans professing a belief in God may still do things that would show their morals to be in short supply because inconsistency is part of human nature. That doesn't mean that there was no value in those morals being taught through an organization. Just as being educated as to how to best eat for health gives people more information in order to help them make choices, and if one day they choose to work toward better health they will be more equipped, being educated about morals can help people make choices that are kinder to themselves and others. I personally believe that the education can be secular, in terms of ethics and philosophy, but there is nothing wrong with people using religion as a vehicle to explore this, even if that choice is different than what you would make. La Limena seemed to acknowledge that atheists would want to explore these things through secular organizations, but I had the impression that she was being belittled for feeling that a non-secular organization was a good fit for passing morals on to her son. I don't think that Boy Scouts, even the Canadian version, is a good fit for our family and many others, but I'm sure there are some people who are gaining benefit from the values imparted, and are comfortable as long as they do not see evidence of bigoted behavior in their local chapter.
post #58 of 65

I had hoped to present information about the scouts values and suitability/unsuitability for a given family based on their belief system. I hoped not to derail the thread too far off the original topic, and really did not want to argue with the resident atheists/secular humanists. I am not interested in converting you, was my self a secular humanist before I heard my call to my religious faith, and I know the party line. You see the word God and it triggers an automatic response to throw around labels and break out the anecdotes. I've seen it. I've done it. I got over it. You are blind to your own intolerance.

 

The beauty of life is that we are free to make choices. If my decisions are different than yours, it does not mean that I hate you and that you are wrong for making the choice that is right for you. I may not agree with your choice but it is seriously flawed and disordered thinking to assume that if I am not with you I must be against you. Please. 

post #59 of 65

 

 

Quote:
You see the word God and it triggers an automatic response to throw around labels and break out the anecdotes.

 

 

this certainly is not the case for-it is how the Scouts have treated people- they have thrown out scouts and leaders that are gay or do not tow their religious line----a christian based group that to me does not act humanly - let alone follow the so called tenants of god or jesus - showing young impressionable boys this behavior (that of the scouts) is good is not my idea of good

 

there are countless stories - if a parent thinks this is a good SCOUTING moral to show their child-so be it---I disagree 

http://unicornbooty.com/2011/08/award-winning-den-mother-removed-from-scouts-for-being-a-lesbian/


Edited by serenbat - 10/3/11 at 4:53pm
post #60 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

La Limena seemed to acknowledge that atheists would want to explore these things through secular organizations, but I had the impression that she was being belittled for feeling that a non-secular organization was a good fit for passing morals on to her son.


La Limena was being taken to task for insinuating that one must believe in a deity in order to impart morals onto children.

 

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