BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
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18-09-2010, 09:45 PM
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
Hey, BnW.

I was a scout for years. Above the fact that it gets kids outside doing constructive things, it's a social activity. Your kids have friends. Those friendships are important. I caution you to consider that before pulling them out.

Long story short, I worked on a project with kids. We did something that a couple parents didn't like and they pulled their kids. So through no fault of their own, they were pulled out of something they were doing with friends. It satisfied the parents but, I thought, was unfair to their kids and to the kids they worked with.

You have every right to be pissed. I would guess that it's a dick move rather than a systemic problem. Is there no way to engage the leader or his superiors without pulling your kids? That being said, Lord Baden Powell was clearly a Christian and according to Penn and Teller, the American Boy Scouts are a publicly funded, private group owned by the Mormon church. So for sure there's "sensitivity" issues (to be polite). But is indignation worth a child's experience?

It would be hypocritical to come at it from the "I'm a practicing Jew" angle, but saying, "everyone deserves to be included" is never a bad thing. Gays have serious issues with the American Boy Scouts too. As a former scout, I'd just hate to see all non-straight, non-white, non-evangelicals run to the hills and abandon a very worthwhile institution that has been a positive part of millions of children's lives the world over.

If you pull them, that's your right. I will not try to tell you how to raise your kids. I just wonder if there is a win win situation that can be found. Can you fight to make it better, more inclusive, instead of just getting out?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-09-2010, 08:30 AM
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
Quote:It would be hypocritical to come at it from the "I'm a practicing Jew" angle, but saying, "everyone deserves to be included" is never a bad thing.

I have no intention of coming at it from that angle and that was the reason I made the point about not wanting to be a hypocrite. However, I've a double problem here as they explicitly disallow atheists.

Quote:As a former scout, I'd just hate to see all non-straight, non-white, non-evangelicals run to the hills and abandon a very worthwhile institution that has been a positive part of millions of children's lives the world over.

My nephew (who is an atheist, btw) is an Eagle Scout and he and my brother-in-law have very fond memories of the scouts from his experience but they both recognize some it's failings. And, I've been thinking that perhaps if people did run for the hills the organization would change it's ways on some of these issues.

Finally, the question of whether or not I'm going to be punishing my kids for their mistakes has been the ongoing conversation between my wife and I. What we have concluded is that we are probably protecting them more than we are harming them.

Ultimately, as Einstein observed, when it comes to things like religion you are what people perceive you to be. Regardless of my views on God, my family and my children are viewed by the community as Jewish, and I've honestly no problem with that. What I've got a problem with is putting my kids in a situation where, on Day 1, the message has been sent that being Jewish is a secondary position to them. I don't think anyone is overtly saying or thinking that but I've seen several actions from this troop already where I felt that was the message being sent.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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19-09-2010, 08:58 PM
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
That sucks Sad

The American Boy Scouts suck. I was in the Canadian Scouting movement. The shit they do in the States makes me weep. I hope someone fixes it because as far as I'm concerned, some radical douchebags have hijacked it.

Just for clarity's sake, you feel that you're protecting them from what is essentially anti-Semitism, right?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-09-2010, 09:08 PM
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
Quote:Just for clarity's sake, you feel that you're protecting them from what is essentially anti-Semitism, right?

No, I don't think there is any blatant discrimination going on, at least nothing on the level that insidious. I don't think anyone is making an active decision to "keep the Jews out" or anything like that.

What I do think is this: the Boy Scouts of America requires a religious affiliation. They are clear that you cannot be an atheist or agnostic and be in their club. It's their club and their rules, so fair enough. The problem here is they are requiring me to at least pretend to embrace my religion and then on my religions holiest day they not only have a fund raising event that I can't participate in, but they have it across the street from a temple. I don't think anyone intends to send a message the my sons are not welcome, but the contradiction between requirement and action leaves the unmistakable message that our religion (if we were to have one) is not respected.

The utter lack of respect and wanton indifference (I know our Den leader pointed this out to him) is my problem. I'm a grown man and I can fight my own battles and suck up what I need to suck up. What I can not do, and will not do, is put my children in a position of having to defend themselves or earn respect when others have it given to them without question or reservation. I was already uncomfortable with the Christmas party and religious over tones to the whole thing to being with. This was, for me, just the final straw.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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20-09-2010, 01:41 AM
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
BnW

Any word on that other troop that you were going to invetigate?
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20-09-2010, 02:31 AM
 
RE: BnW vs. Boy Scouts: Opinion Needed
When my son was in Scouts, I was openly atheist, and my son never attended any church. Our troop was sponsored by a church, but the Scoutmaster accepted my presence, never made any trouble for my son, and was a great person married to an equally great person. They were deeply religious but never, ever said anything about my atheism at any point in the process. My son became an Eagle Scout (and has, to my consternation, lately become a catholic!!).

My experience with Scouting and that of my son, was wonderful!! I believe very much in what they're trying to do, with the exception of their emphasis on religion. If your troop has the right leadership, atheism won't be an issue, but ... I suspect that I was exceptionally blessed in our choice of troop for my son!
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