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Humanist Parenting

Author/DatePost
almonsky
Sep 6 2007
boy scout dilemma

Hi, I have a problem that I'm hoping someone can help me with. My husband and I are both atheists and we have 3 children - 2 boys ages 7 and 5 - and a 19mo daughter. Our 2 sons attend a public school where the boy scouts came to recruit a week or so ago. My older son became very interested in it and we agreed to go to the informational meeting. He REALLY wants to join, but my husband and I agree that the whole "duty to god" thing pretty much makes the boy scouts not an option for us. I feel so bad for my son. He is going to be in a terrible minority among his little peers already and now we are not allowing him to join the boy scouts - he would most likely be kicked out later anyway. Already one little boy in his class last year is no longer allowed to play with my son because we don't go to church. I have checked into spiral scouts which is an alternative to boy scouts for minority religions, but that didn't really work out. The local group disbanded about a year ago.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Either an alternative to the boy scouts, or a way to help my son thru this? I don't want to turn him against atheism (and worse, toward christianity) by being angry and rebelling years later b/c his parents didn't let him join boy scouts. Also, any suggestions from other atheist parents to help their children deal with being a generally untolerated and misunderstood minority among their very misguided peers? How do other parents raise atheist children in general, but specifically in the bible belt?

Thank you,

almonsky

Alex_Kasman
Sep 7 2007

Dear ALMonsky,

My first reaction, I'm afraid, is "Wow, that's a tough one." I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don't.

You would think that I might have some practical experience with problems like this -- we have an 11 year old daughter and have lived in Mount Pleasant for 8 years -- but I guess we've just been lucky. I hope that some other people from the Lowcountry write in with more practical advice, but I can point you to some other resources that might also be able to help. Have you found "Parenting Beyond Belief"? They have a website with a forum like this one but specifically dedicated to parenting questions. You can find it here. Also, I'd like to point out that our March speaker will be Margaret Downey, who will be speaking on the topic of "Raising Humanists Kids". If you can attend that meeting (we're HOPING to be able to offer childcare at it) then it could be a good idea to ask her during the question period and either she or others in attendance might have a better answer than me.

I can definitely offer sympathy and support. It would be nice to meet you at an upcoming SHL event or just get together to talk sometime so that you do not feel so isolated. There are many atheists in the Lowcountry (not all in the SHL) who are raising children and would understand your dilemma.

But, I think it really is a dilemma in that there does not appear to be a solution which does not cause other problems. As you already recognize, there are problems with allowing him to join the Boy Scouts (does not teach him to stick up for his beliefs, may lead to problems if the Scouts decide to harrass or eject him , etc) and similarly there are problems with deciding not to allow him to join (his resentment over it could develop into something serious.) Of course, it could be that he would enjoy the Scouts and they would decide not to worry about your atheism OR that you decide not to join the Scouts and he quickly finds something else to occupy his time/energy and never thinks about it again. (Forgive me for seeming to be overly optimistic...but it could be that things will be just fine either way!)

As I've said earlier, I really have no direct experience with this particular dilemma. But, of course, everyone encounters dilemmas of one sort or another. One general piece of advice that I can offer is to recognize that in such a situation, just as there is no "right choice", there is no "wrong choice" either. You have to make a decision. Make it and do not "punish yourself" over the consequences.

Sorry I could not be of more help,

Alex

smoskow
Sep 7 2007

My solution has been to provide my three sons with alternative activities. There are all sorts of after-school and weekend programs available. They will make new friends who may even be more suitable as playmates and role models. You might want to look at this web site: http://www.scoutingforall.org/. If you do, you will see that there are problems with the Boy Scouts that go beyond their hostility to atheists. The organization has become a wing of the Christianist movement to make over the US as a theocracy. And, in the South at least, it has never been a progressive organization. It fully permitted segregation until well into the seventies.

Larry_Carter_Center
Sep 7 2007
Parenting as Atheists

Hello to all in Summerville who resist Bigot Scouting.

Sam made a fine suggestion below with his alternative activities.

Scouting is somewhat about camping, outdoor skills, biology projects & interconnectivities with school & community groups.

Because Scouts vigourously discriminate against Gays & Atheists, coalition building to change scouting is only for the most dedicated politial families. I counseled an Eagle Scout candidate just 3 badges away from the highest postion in scouting. Some Unitarian congregations are renegades from national scouting policies which demand scouts pretend there is an alleged deity & that gays are "immoral."

Or more precisely "morally straight."

At the very early ages of your children, I hardly think they need to get involved with post puberty issues. I suggest that you inform them that scouts have hurt blacks & other groups in the past & they continue to do so, that is why not to join scouting.

Camping with your children & inviting some of their friends is the alternative. Sierra Club has family outings. Kayaking clubs are out there to enjoy water activities. Nature Conservancy. Joining the PTA itself to work on school wide or class specific field trips which are coed & do not discriminate against Gays & Atheists is another idea.

I was a Cub Scout. I was a Tenderfoot. And upon age 10, I was deciding on my own whether to use my elder brother's Scout Handbook from 1949 or buy the 1962 version with my paper route profits.

Imagine my horror when I read on the first few pages the Pledge of Allegiance 1949 & the "under god" version of 1962?

Just how could an alleged deity be printed into existence in my lifetime? Save your children that sort of discovery of dishonesty & unscientific contradictions from "authority."

Though Little League Baseball also has xian overtones, sports may be a better way to direct youthful energies as well.

Martial Arts classes can teach discipline & physical body building skills without the xian theocratic elements.

All in all, I have two Atheist daughters, age 32 & 13 now.

The eldest found discomforts in Girl Scouts as a Brownie.

My youngest is now in 6th grade on the honor roll heavily focusing on academics. I wish she would try volleyball or some organized physical activity. She is a diver & an avid swimmer but not on a team.

I'm happy to be at your assistance as a fellow American Atheist parent. We do need to stick together.

In peace, Larry 926-1750

JonathanLamb
Sep 7 2007
An atheist Eagle Scout

Al,

I totally understand your dilemma because I spent a lot of my younger life in Cub and Boy Scouts. When I joined Cub Scouts, I wasn't aware that the organization was discriminatory toward certain types of people, although I did notice some inherently religious overtones in many of the ceremonies. Boy Scouts was no different. Our troop was in Apex, NC, which is quite religious, but probably not as extreme as Summerville is overall. My twin brother and I were the only two atheists in the troop and we were often quite irreverent during some of the ceremonies. Everyone else just laughed it off. I was in Boy Scouts until I was 17, when I reached Eagle Scout. Several of my closest friends today I would not have met had I not been in scouts. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were in scouts, whether at meetings, on camping trips, working with the youth, at summer camp, etc.

It wasn't until after I "graduated" from scouts that I found out about their discrimination against homosexuals and atheists. I was absolutely appalled, although I wasn't quite as surprised as some people were about it. The longer I spent in scouts, the more I realized it had a religious theme. I guess I just managed to avoid it becoming an issue. Trust me, there are gobs and gobs of atheists and gays in the scouts, just like any other segment of the population. Some isolated incidents caused the lawsuits and then the uproar, and rightfully so. But if you really want your children to be able to participate in scouts, I'd shop around for a troop that either doesn't meet at a hardcore church, or at least doesn't seem like it's run by fundamentalists. If they start off the meeting with a prayer, that's a bad sign! I've come to the conclusion that it's nearly impossible to totally get away from religious-themed community groups. I tried out the Jaycees when I lived in Greenville, SC and learned months later that their mission statement talked about something "for God".

So, in conclusion, use your best judgment, but also know there are many alternatives to the scouts, as Larry and Alex suggested. We hope to see you at our next meeting, Sept. 16th.

Jonathan Lamb

reasonwithme
Sep 11 2007

The Scouting for All seemed like a nice alternative to the BSA......sports, martial arts, visual or performing arts, etc are good alternatives....are they really bent on outdoor exploration or are you just looking for something to keep them busy? I wish you and them well.

Chemrobb
Oct 15 2007
Bad situation....

To Almosky:

You do indeed have a bad dilemma there....you are faced with a recruiting effort that appeals to many children (and their parents, no less) to join the BSA....I don't have kids (that I know of :) , but would like to weigh in...

First, let me show support for the previous posts by Alex Kasman and JonathanLamb. Excellent observations and insight, and for whatever its worth I agree with them.

My own 'advice' such as it is:

1) Most Atheists, Agnostics, or whatever that I'm familiar with - admittedly not all that many - seem to have arrived at their convictions in adulthood. The seed may be planted earlier, but we/they really don't arrive at our convictions until later...I don't know anyone "raised" in the freethinking tradition. That said, it seems that your kids experimentally joining the Scouts might not cause them to automatically go over to religion.

2) As Alex points out YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND ARE NOT ALONE and should not feel isolated (if thats the case). As he suggests, go to an SHL meeting sometime or meet up with him to see if others are in your situation !

3) As JonathanLamb indicates, if your kids are bent on going to scouts, there are some that are not as 'fanatical' or hardcore as others. These might be acceptable to you. Obviously, no one here can know what 'acceptable' might be in your situation. The Scouts indeed do some good in the community regardless of religiosity, but it gets tainted when over zealous leaders assume everyone is a christian and they associate with a church, etc. But there are leaders that are aware of the Scouts, ah, reputation, who avoid the religious theme....Now, I'm not trying to stand up for the Scouts - I'm just saying that there are Dens that won't push the religious issues...

4) there is some sort of camp that totally avoids the religious stuff and focuses on education. If I can find the website I will post it (if anyone else can, please do !). This is some sort of science camp that avoids all religion and tends to go towards education. Maybe that can be offered as an alertnative to your kids - and who knows? You may even get some converts....

Respectfully,

RF

A0EOS
Oct 29 2007
Atheist parents who are supportive and encourage dialogue

I never joined the scouts and didn't really feel the need to as most of my peers either didn't or I didn't know about it. I had the fortune to grow ?up? by supportive parents who didn't really prohibit such activities but did not encourage them either. I only realized that my father was a believer after he died by my mom telling me that he prayed at night. We were never told to go to church or not to go.

I became conscious of being a firm atheist in my teenage years and I felt as I always was, just didn't really make a distinction on the issue.

As a parent I believe that one (or two) should make the decision of choosing the community children grow up in to match their beliefs but if that is not an option children should not be isolated from activities they can share with their piers. On the other hand issues that are important to us should be brought out for conversation not in the form of preaching and teaching but in the form of dialogue. I believe that if you stimulate a child's interest in a subject eventually they will come to ask "what do you think/believe?" and you can then present them with your view but allowing them to understand they have a choice of various views and they are free and supported to believe what they want and most importantly that they should continue learning and reexamining their views.

In other words for question X there may be answers not limited to but according to what we parents now A,B,C,D,E and if asked we state that we chose a variation of the C answer.

If we have our children's respect (not limited to our off spring but children of the community in general) and we are asked on our views, the weight of the respect goes hand in hand with the weight of our view/opinion.

My step son once came home and asked if he can start going to Sunday school with his friends. I nearly had a stroke at the moment but managed to cover it up and said "sure". Luckily it only lasted 3 weeks as he went there to play video games and not to listen to "crap" and since it was not as good of a game as the one he had home he soon got tired of it and never went back.

Koz :wink:

Melio
Nov 5 2007

I suggest taking your children camping, teaching them all the specific survival techniques and skills one might learn from the boy scouts, on your own.

it takes time, and effort, but what good child stems from laziness. or poorly educated parents that pawn they're kids off to social structures that are bias, and ran by "THOSE" parents that you have been trying to avoid in the first place.

I'm saying, without trying to burn anyone..

Please don't kick my butt for this, but parents, you know who you are, Children learn more from they're parents then they do others, I never paid a single spec of attention to other kids, I wasn't built for that, most children are not.

Secondly and most importantly, DON'T be afraid to make mistakes IN FRONT of your children, teach them, don't criticize them, I found the boy scouts to be very critical of me and I regret that, today I have severe issues with criticism and part of it partially stems from being in the boy scouts, having parents that pushed me, without goals in mind. The kids I see in boy scouts today seems to suffer from similar problems, and I know a lot of the parents and they tell me about problems within the boy scouts as well.

In short, you can do this, raise your kids, teach them to camp, teach them to fish. you're a better teacher then you think. If you need a baby sitter, pay for one. if you can't afford a baby sitter, you can't afford the boy scouts either.

If you want to BUILD an organization in this area, start a thread.. we all might be interested in sharing our wealth of knowledge and not brainwash the kids.

Thank you, for allowing me to share my thoughts on this subject.

GFrench
Dec 5 2007

I was a scout for many years, and absolutely loved it. This was up in the mountains of Northern New York back in the 70's, so it wasn't as religious as it is down here.

I didn't let the small amount of religious mumbo jumbo deter me from having a great time at the campouts and jamborees and such, and making new friends and goofing off at the meetings. I had friends who were religious, and would sometimes go to church with them to see what it was all about. I decided my parents were right, and I didn't need another imaginary friend.

Let your kids decide for themselves. In some ways, having atheism forced down their throats could be as bad as having Jesus forced down. We can't hide them from religion. The best we can do is teach them to accept the differences in all people. Some believe in god. Some do not. If we continue trying to protect our children from religion by not letting them participate in religioun-based things, they could be missing out on a lot. I grew up without religion and still had a great time in the scouts. They never tried to make me religious, and I never tried to make them non-religious.

My daughter, now 16, even joined a church group when she was younger. They went on campouts and ski trips, and she had a great time. It made her a more well-rounded atheist.

To me, "God" is an acronym for "Great Out Doors". In that sense, I worship my g.o.d.

Larry_Carter_Center
Dec 9 2007
"passing" & metaphorical usefulness of religio

I agree that Atheists should be social with the religious. I've always said that holding alleged deities to a "love test" or a "nature" test is useful.

My children too enjoyed "camping" with religious peers. NONETHELESS, Bigot Scouts of America is an institution to be repudiated. Undeserving of a Congressional Charter, any group corrupt from the top down with hatred of Gays & Atheists is no place for our children.

tersse
Jan 31 2008

i may be out od step here but you sound like an inteligent woman, i therfor think your kids will be inteligent, they are young yes but they reside with you at home, through their formative years they will meet and talk with religious kids and come home and ask you about it, i would think going to the scouts and getting it there they will do the same, so unless they are tied down and brainwashed for 7 years out of your control i believe you will have a bigger influence on them than any one out side your home, and lets face it if they want to be religious thay could become religious anyway wether you let them scout or not thats a posibility, id say trust them and your self let them do kids stuff and you give them adult guidance, and they will grow up just fine im sure.

stop worrying about it, there are worse things in the world than a religious few ours of play that you can deconstruct for them later.

Melio
Mar 22 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I don't think joining the boy scouts would make a child go crazy for religion. but I do think in this area, religious concepts are being pushed more then other areas.

I wish I knew exactly what was going on within the confides of the boy scouts in general.. but I think I'm going to take my kid camping and teach him some basics on my own and see how that works out.

The main goal of camping is comfort in non-home conditions. I expect him to whine and be very uncomfortable for the first night. and I'm hoping for that! it may correct his misconception that comfort comes easy.

I don't think he needs to learn an oath to be promoted, sing an anthem to be accepted, or wear a uniform to be allowed to consort with other children.

I think that's what is missing with kids of atheists, the general feeling of being accepted as a group.. one without a flag, oath, anthem.. but just a bunch of smart people with open minds and GOOD ideas.

At extremely young ages it's kinda important to let children experience a lot of adventures.. so my wife and I decided to take him on trips, camp outs. ect. all summer long. no boring sitting at home!

it'll be just fine without the boyscouts trying to pump leadership values into my kids mind, I think he'll learn leadership from the source.. his parents.

Melio
Mar 23 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I got this off wikipedia .. cause I was curious.

As the Boy Scouts of America does not allow atheists as members, atheist families and the ACLU from the 1990s onwards have launched a series of court cases arguing discrimination against atheists, including by allowing Scouts access to public facilities. None of the court cases were successful,[34] but in response to ACLU lawsuits, the Pentagon in 2004 ended sponsorship of Scouting units,[35][36] and in 2005 BSA agreed to transfer all Scouting units out of government entities such as public schools.[37][38]

the citations are on wikipedia.

I had a lot to say about this, but I deleted it..

In short : I think we could create our own organization to monitor and maintain a system of "camping kids" .. only if I had a say completely. it would include not just camping, but hunting, fishing, adventure hiking, geocaching, medical response (CPR, emergency management), Fire safety, automotive mechanics, Aviation education, Space and model Rocketry, including trips to NASA. Weather and it's effects on nature.

Science and scientific method .. which means LOTS of Lab coat experiments. .. Engineering and Design of structures. Shop math and rudimentary science math. .. overall - the stuff kids don't get to learn in school

because they don't have application for it.

If you have not noticed, budgets are being cut. and our kids are suffering from stupidity and underfunded education. when I take my kid to a hockey game, sure it's fun. but he's also learning economics. he's learning that FUN is not sitting on your butt and watching TV. but actually experiencing things in person.

There's so much to be explored. and we have to do it with our kids. but I seriously Doubt we have ALL the ideas down. and as a group it's possible to share it. ..

I Like to think of it as Opensource, Creative Commons, GPL structured KIDCAMPS. where we not only invent new things to teach our kids. in differnt ways. but we record it. and document it. so future generations have access to the archives to say "hey here's something new we could update, and teach again!"

that library is what makes organizations organized. it's not uncommon to video-tape, nor unpresentable.. places like youtube could spread this information easy.

Anyone want to add an idea...

eugenegill
Mar 24 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I have two sons, 10 and 13, who are both scouts. The local group is not overly religious, and does not even seem to explictly endore Christianity above other faiths. In fact, it sometimes seems that scouting is more native American (Indian) mysticism! So I have adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude, although I have advised my boys not to hide their feelings when asked. I understand that I am compromising my nonbeliefs with this approach, but think that perhaps I can do just a tiny amount of good from within the system.

Mostly, I don't want to be confrontational, and lower myself to the level of those who cannot abide people who think and believe differently. I am happy for my kids to be exposed to evangelicals, because I am secure in their sound judgement.

I have no problem adhering to my interpretation of "morally straight", which probably differs considerably from BSA's.

Justin
Mar 25 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I agree with Eugene.

My son and I have never been put through any religious test in Cub Scouts.

I am a leader in Cub Scouts. You want to know what goes on behind closed doors? Ask me.

It mostly involves adults acting silly in front of children.

One needs to realize that an organization's official policy does not always directly transcribe itself into the organization's actions.

For example, my Cub Scout Pack has met at a public elementary school for the past ten years. That's 4 years since the 2005 court ruling.

A Boy Scout Troop meets at Charleston Air Force Base. That's 5 years since the 2004 court ruling.

Religion is really an non-issue in Scouting. Scouting does not endorse any religion over another. Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and even Unitarians can all be scouts.

I believe that some outspoken members of the SHL are Unitarians. I know some are Buddhists (me).

A fault of some left wing organizations is that by making a non-issue into an issue, they end up hurting people.

In this case, boys and parents who are looking for an alternative to couch potatoes, video game zombies, and/or gang membership.

n-atheist
Mar 26 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Religion is really an non-issue in Scouting.

Justin, I know that you're actively involved in scouting and I'm not, so your opinion carries more weight than mine here. But, still, I'm not sure I completely believe you when you say this.

Certainly, I think religion should be a non-issue in scouting, as should sexual orientation and political orientation and any other divisive societal bugaboo that has nothing to do with the goals of the organization.

But, if religion really was a non-issue, then why would the BSA not change their policies about atheists? The fact that they were willing to give up a lot of other things in order to keep their discriminatory policies suggests to me that it more of an issue than you are willing to admit. It could be that in your particular troop it is not an issue, but in the national organization it seems to be a rather big deal. The people who run the show seem to think it is very important to keep me out of the organization. And to me, that is a big deal. Big enough that I'm not willing to play "don't ask/don't tell" so that I can be in without them knowing about it.

Perhaps, like Eugene suggests, you guys can help fix the organization from the inside. If you can do that, then I would be impressed and grateful. But, if it is going to stay the way it is, I'd prefer that people who know better not play along because that essentially endorses their prejudicial policies.

Justin
Mar 28 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

All groups have their prejudices. All people are prejudiced and discriminatory.

I'm prejudiced against cigarette smokers, transvestites, the morbidly obese, and bleached blondes.

Does that make me a bad person? Probably.

Does it make me an honest person? Probably.

n-atheist
Mar 28 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Hey, look. We're parents here, right? Does the "Everyone is doing it?" excuse ever work for kids? It doesn't matter if everyone is using that drug, shoplifting, missing school, etc. If it is the wrong thing to do, then I would think the "morally straight" thing to do is (a) admit that you made a mistake when you did it and (b) do your best to stop doing it.

Everyone may have prejudices, but they aren't good things. The whole point of the word "prejudice" is that it says you've judged someone based on an unrelated feature. I mean, the library is not "prejudiced" against people who have overdue books. It is perfectly reasonable for them to charge a fine to people who were kept the books past the due date. But, if they had a rule that bleached blondes had to pay a fine at the library, I'd consider it to be unfair just like the BSA is being to atheists.

The BSA is supposed to be teaching kids how to be good citizens. For example, everyone may have a desire to be selfish, but the BSA tries to teach kids to overcome this and to help others instead. Here's another opportunity for them to teach the kids something, by example. How do you react when someone points out that you're treating someone unfairly because of a prejudice? I don't know about you, but I'd be ashamed of myself if I didn't at least try to treat everyone fairly. So, when someone points out to me that I'm being prejudiced, I apologize and try to overcome and eliminate my own prejudice. I'd have more respect for the BSA if they did the same.

Melio
Mar 28 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I was in the Boy Scouts, my father was a Scout Leader, and my mother was sexually harassed by other "swinging" Scouting people.

The BSA claims to be morally right, and it's not really.. but I think the fact that they lie about it is just like any marketing that any business has.. AIG doesn't steal from it's customers or the government. and neither does the new company name they're going to front as.

The Point is. Everyone lies now a days to get what they want, people to believe in them, to be part of them, and to be interested without feeling lied to.

The scouts in the inner city where I was at in Detroit were shambled, disorganized, poor, and kids that joined it, were doing it because other kids talked them into it, so we could have a good time camping and have closer bonds with each other. .. parents we're barely involved at the most part, we had 3-4 meetings a month in my basement and my dad supervised us by giving us instruction on various details from the scouting handbook.

Then camping came around, and I remember my dad's TROOP was so disorganized when we went to "jamborees" big camping expeditions our camping "group" was disqualified, because my dad didnt send the proper forms in or some crap, and he had to find out what was needed and have people overnight/mail the forms for us to go to the jamboree.. Most kids parents could barly speak english, so my dad had to forge a lot of documents JUST To get us a camp-site and registration for the stupid competitions, which we lost at because we didn't have time to practice it.

When all was said and done, we woke up to bugle calls, competitions, we had no idea how to compete in. and it was cold, snowing. and it pretty much sucked.

When it comes down to it. I learned that Organization is pretty important, that stems communication, and the rest is done with technology.

The Boy scouts is a very low tech organization, and it's losing ground to Computer camps, and sports camps. .. The summer programs at least.. but the weekly dress the kid up like a solider bit is failing miserably too. I saw an entire troop at the aquarium, and they were all wearing 'red shirts" with the familiar boy scouts logo on it. and hats that slightly matched...

I'll be honest. it looked cheap and uninteresting. but it at least looked slightly organized.

I still say we form our own org!!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin
Mar 29 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I was semi-joking (I don't think that's a word) in my earlier post.

Large organizations have to have forms to fill out and rules/regulations mostly for risk management reasons.

Blame it on the lawyers! :D

If we were to form our own organization, how many boys would be in it?

We would probably only have enough boys for one Pack or Troop for the entire Lowcountry.

But, I guess you have to start somewhere.

almonsky
Mar 29 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I would submit 2 boys - 9yo (3rd grade) and 7yo (1st grade).

Bill and Ted
Apr 2 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Isn't that the whole point of this organization, to convince people to get rid of their prejudices about atheists, agnostics and other "freethinkers"? Whatever they think we are -- amoral, immoral, elitist, uneducated, hedonistic, etc. -- we've got to show them that these prejudices are false and that actually we're just like everyone else, and expect to be treated that way.

I know you said you were just joking, Justin. But honestly, if we're just going to say "Oh, well...everyone's prejudiced about something" when some person or organization abuses us like this, then I'm not sure what the point is of having a group at all.

So I say, yes, go ahead and start your own group. But if you are right that the people in your BSA group don't take the religion issue too seriously, then maybe it would be better to work with them to try to make the rules more fair.

Melio
Apr 3 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

you know what still burns in my mind about this...

If my kid chooses religion over non-religion, because that's what he wants. then that's fine with me, as long as he can explain things logically. I'm sure he'll be fine.. but at the same time. if I were to join the boy scouts and ask for the same consideration in scouting, they would laugh at me..

The Scouting Dilema is factually ANTI logic. they want to make as many mistakes without having to answer for them as possible. and that's really a cop out.

WE know mistakes are going to happen, but when it comes to the crap I saw, sexual deviance, "Swinging" between scouting parents as an alternative group. WTF!!!!!!!!!!

I know christainity has it's values and claims to be moral ground to base all morality on. but lets be serious. they are no more moral then anyone else. and morals are extremly hard to imply on anyone. because breaking

a common rule like "no sex before marriage" as a moral value or. "no killing of animals unless it's food" as an ethical value. doesnt generally sit well with everyone the SAME exact way. EVEN if you claim you have a banner of moral codes flying over your head... because I'll be a horses butt if christains don't claim to hunt and get marrried after having sex.. or any other rule for that matter.

but this doesnt mean they LIE. it just means they live a lie and won't deal with it on a personal level because it alienates them.

So, what do people like this have for boy scouts as a replacement... Nothing? are we absolutly sure that there is NO alternative to simply being a logical organization for children and parents to educate our children in things they simply don't teach in school.

seriously?

Justin
Apr 5 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Isn't that the whole point of this organization, to convince people to get rid of their prejudices about atheists, agnostics and other "freethinkers"? Whatever they think we are -- amoral, immoral, elitist, uneducated, hedonistic, etc. -- we've got to show them that these prejudices are false and that actually we're just like everyone else, and expect to be treated that way.

I don't think that is the point of the SHL. I always thought that it was a club for nontheists.

Melio
Apr 7 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

what it really boils down to is unfair advantage.

a small organization dedicated to teaching children specific topics on a weekly basis, that maintains a formal libary of what is being focased on as far as teachings and education. is nothing more then a night school for kids.

Kids don't realize this, because the parents mask it with the idea of SCOUTING!!!!!!. how neat is that. lets blanket the idea of sending the kid to night school, with the idea of having him involved. ..

Oh but it's not nightschool, because it's informal, and the uniforms are just to show off accomplishments. and boyscouts help old ladys cross the street.

Ok lets be serious here. is it really just a night school? I mean. limited education, but really. learning how to tie a knot, setup a tent. practice various first aid stuff.

beersnob
Apr 9 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I've been looking at this from a United-Way funding angle. They get money illegally through the united way that originates from a charity campaign run through the federal bureaucracy. It's blatantly illegal, but there is no way except protest to get scouts removed from the charity list. it's worse that it'd be a shame to stop giving to them just because they teach bigotry and even worse than that that they teach bigotry. But, what're ya gonna do?

The only solution I've come up with it to make up a god or just pick one off a list--the more ridiculous the better. A satanist at least believes in a god and can therefore join. You could tell your kid to say he's rastafarian. Hehehehe. He could say he believes Bozo The Clown is the guiding force behind the creation and perpetuation of all that exists. The lesson in lying and hypocrisy would help prepare him for a life of government service. That's what scouts is about, aint it?

Melio
Apr 11 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I've been looking at this from a United-Way funding angle. They get money illegally through the united way that originates from a charity campaign run through the federal bureaucracy. It's blatantly illegal, but there is no way except protest to get scouts removed from the charity list. it's worse that it'd be a shame to stop giving to them just because they teach bigotry and even worse than that that they teach bigotry. But, what're ya gonna do?

The only solution I've come up with it to make up a god or just pick one off a list--the more ridiculous the better. A satanist at least believes in a god and can therefore join. You could tell your kid to say he's rastafarian. Hehehehe. He could say he believes Bozo The Clown is the guiding force behind the creation and perpetuation of all that exists. The lesson in lying and hypocrisy would help prepare him for a life of government service. That's what scouts is about, aint it?

I think you're kinda right . but at the same time, that's how the majority thinks.. fake your relationship with god so you can retain your friends and sometimes even apease your family.

If you can live with lying about what you belive is real and what isnt. that's cool with me. .. but it just knocked you out of the running for atheist of the year.

I think the main purpose of the boy scouts is to educate the children to understand a structure and system that was pretty much made up in the first place. and has no bearing on anything realistic in todays

society. some argue that it mimics Army culture, but it doesnt. it's not like the Civil Air Patrol, which mimics USAF culture, but it's own simple enigma of culture that has ruled the children of several generations since the early 1900's

MY point is.. it's not that important to put your kids in boy scouts.. but I do want my children to have education, I don't want unfair advantage to win over my children. but give them unfair advantage myself.

The best way to do that is to create or find a structure that allows us as parents to give our children unfair advantage. that's pretty much what it boils down to.

unfair advantage in what? whatever it takes brotha! whatever it takes.

Justin
Apr 13 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Bozo would be a great god. Clowns scare the hell out of me, too!

Melio
Apr 14 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Bozo would be a great god. Clowns scare the hell out of me, too!

The Egyptians dressed funny and took on roles as gods. I guess clowns can too.

But clown fear doesn't make clown god ;)

I'm still waiting on opionon of the boy scout issue as to what type of organization people feel would be fitting for they're kids.

brainstorm!. think about it. talk about it. what type of organization would your children attend. even if it was secular. or based on purly scientific approaches to natural events.

Melio
Apr 14 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Bozo would be a great god. Clowns scare the hell out of me, too!

The Egyptians dressed funny and took on roles as gods. I guess clowns can too.

But clown fear doesn't make clown god ;)

I'm still waiting on opionon of the boy scout issue as to what type of organization people feel would be fitting for they're kids.

brainstorm!. think about it. talk about it. what type of organization would your children attend. even if it was secular. or based on purely scientific approaches to natural events.

bingc
Apr 27 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Join the Boy Scouts.

My kids are now 20 and 21 and I am 67 and an athiest since about age 14. I am happy to report both are probably athiests.

The central theme of the boy scouts is not the belief in a god. Many organizations give lip service to a belief in god. Why deny participation because there are one or two things we do not like about an organization. Your kids will not be contaminated because the Boy Scouts believe some things you do not agree with.

Let us not be like some believers who will not associate with people of different beliefs.

My kids were always free to believe or not. When invited to go to a church or other religous institutions I encouraged them to do so. When very young I took them to the Unitarian church a few times, but they did not wish to attend.

I was happy this year that my son, now a junior at Syracuse University, took a course in comparative religion. This fills a mojor gap in his education. He was shocked at what most people believe!

If your kids join the scouts they should not hide what they think, but they do not need make it a cause. Who knows, if enough athiests join the scouts, they may change.

Good luck.

Justin
Apr 27 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Thank you Bingc, for your insight and experience. You explained what I have been trying to convey in a much better way than I have.

Melio
Apr 27 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Thank you Bingc, for your insight and experience. You explained what I have been trying to convey in a much better way than I have.

I'd like to think the BSA has room for everyone, but they don't, and I'm not really interested in being part of it or any organization that claims Jesus as the basis of they're foundation.

even if they said flying Spaghetti Monsters were the basis. I'd still wonder why need a deity at all?

This isn't a case of trying to play Chess without a King. .. it's simply playing chess without Acting like A pawn.

almonsky
Apr 27 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts (and there's been a lot of thought sharing!) regarding the Boy Scouts. In the year and a half since I posted the original question, I've done a lot of thinking. I would like to take this opportunity to share my current thoughts. I want to apologize in advance for appearing to blast BingC with my comments below. It is nothing personal, but his (hers?) is one of the most recent posts in the "pro-BSA" category, though I feel they represent others pro-BSA posters as well. In fact, I truly do appreciate everyone's comments, regardless of which side they fall on. So, on with the blasting! :D

I would like to comment on 2 things. 1) religion/god within the BSA and 2) why my children do not participate in BSA

I agree with BingC that the central theme of BSA may not be the belief in a god. HOWEVER, from all appearances it is an important theme, and, I would say, even a requirement to be a member.

[list:248xp1kj]Of the 12 Core Values, 2 mention God by name:
#5 Faith: Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.
#12 Responsibility: Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves.
Just to point out, "tolerance" is not listed.[/list:u:248xp1kj]

[list:248xp1kj]The Cub Scout Promise:
I,..., promise to do my best, To do my duty to God and my country, To help other people, and To obey the Law of the Pack
and its explanation from the Wolf Handbook:
Duty to God means: Put God first. Do what you know God wants you to do.
[/list:u:248xp1kj]

[list:248xp1kj]Also from the Wolf Handbook, explaining the Pledge of Allegiance:
God is the one we worship.
[/list:u:248xp1kj]

[list:248xp1kj]From the Wolf Handbook: Achievement 11 Duty to God I won't quote everything here, but it this "achievement" is divided into 4 requirements. 11a is completing the character connection for faith (know, commit, practice). 11b is to talk with your family about what they believe is their duty to God. 11c is to give 2 ideas on how you can practice or demonstrate your religious beliefs; choose 1 and do it. 11d is to find out how you can help your church, synagogue, mosque, temple or religious fellowship. Along with this achievement is the religious emblems program, which allows the scout to earn the religious emblem of his faith. There are 12 separate achievements listed, and in order to earn the "right" to wear the Wolf Cub Scout Badge, the boys must meet 58 of the 72 requirements (subsets within each achievement) through all 12 achievements. If I understand this correctly, the boys have some choice as to which requirements within each achievement, but they must choose some within each achievement. Therefore a cub scout MUST show some Duty to God. Now, I suppose he could do this within an atheist framework, but I doubt the den leader would sign off on it. [/list:u:248xp1kj]

[list:248xp1kj]I want to mention just one more thing and then I'll move on. When we first looked into the Cub Scouts, we required to sign something on the application which was essentially a statement of faith.[/list:u:248xp1kj]

So, while God and religion may not be central, they certainly are up there, and a believe in God would appear to be a requirement. Now, some individual dens may do things differently, but according to the BSA's own literature, there is no getting around God.

Now, on to the second part of my message - why my children to not participate. I do not deny my children participation in BSA because there are things I don't like about it. I do not believe my children will be contaminated by differing beliefs. And I don't not associate with believers (boy scouts or not) because they are of a different faith (if that were the case, I'd never be able to leave my house! :D ) My children don't participate for several reasons, but the biggest one is that we are true to ourselves. I WILL NOT sign a statement of faith. I WILL NOT even pretend to even acknowledge BSA's God, much less do my duty to or worship him. I WILL NOT lie. I WILL NOT be a hypocrite, professing some faith which I do not hold inside, just to go camping with some other kids and to race pinewood derby cars. And I WILL NOT teach my children to lower themselves, either. I WILL teach my children ethical behavior, filled with compassion, tolerance and respect for ALL humans. My children, also, are free to believe or not to believe. They are, however, required to think for themselves and arrive at their belief by reason and logic. Not joining BSA is not a matter of associating or not with the scouts - we can not even "honestly" get in the door. Leaving the cause aside, I and my sons WOULD have to hide what we think - we wouldn't even be able to complete the application. My children are valuable human beings, and if don't stand up for their worth and integrity, who will?

I think the BSA gives lip service to some terrific values. It is a real shame that they don't fully endorse some of their 12 values, such as courage (being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences) or respect (showing regard for the worth of something or someone). Or maybe they believe that what is right is to be a bigot, or that we atheists are not worthy, and therefore they will not respect us. No, it is not a matter of not participating b/c there are one or two things that I don't like. They don't want me or my son. They've made it very clear. Why on earth would I want to participate in a group like this. If I knew that someone didn't like me, I wouldn't push myself on them. How humiliating. The BSA's "values" are not in line with mine, or with humanism the best I can tell. When it comes down to it, it is not even a matter of God. They are intolerant bigots, capriciously malevolent bullies (well, maybe not that, but I always get a tickled when I call someone that.) I have not rejected them. They have rejected me. I hold myself and especially my children to a higher regard than to stoop to being a member of their organization.

I sincerely hope that the BSA recants its position. I will not be holding my breath. I also want to point out that the beliefs/values I've quoted above may not be held by individual leaders, but they are clearly held by the group as a whole. I know there are some atheists that are involved in BSA, and if they can reconcile their membership with their beliefs and values, fantastic. Maybe they will be the ones who will change it from within. In the meantime, I am happy to be a part of SHL, and look forward to building relationships with other families.

brightdrboy
Apr 27 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I would suggest to shop around for a troop, much in the way that people shop around for churches, schools etc. My family moved to Charleston when I was still in Cub Scouts and my older brother was three years into Boy Scouts. We tried a few troops/packs, and eventually found one that did not seem to care that my father, brother and I were atheists/agnostic - but they couldn't really afford to, given their small size. I think that might have been the key to our experience.

When there were only a few patrols, our religious viewpoints, or lack thereof, did not seem to be a big deal. My father was never too popular among some of the more traditional leaders - and my older brother's loud atheism I'm sure did not help. I was much quieter in my dissent, fitting my personality at the time. My patrol had five or six agnostics (that I can remember) and three gays - all of us would do just enough to slide under the leaders' radar, and then go out behind the church where we met and hold court.

During the campouts, we were always separate from most of the other scouts, but we formed our own tight-knit group - this was probably a function of us getting older and wanting to distance ourselves from the more religious members and the increasing numbers of younger boys. Together, we went through the whole scout experience - learning knots, fire-building, hypothermia, starvation - despite our distaste for religion. Yes, as we got older, we caught more and more crap from 'adults' about our disregard for the religious rules, but it just drove us together and made us stronger. In fact, I think it was in my last year or two that I learned how to deal with intolerance on a number of levels -- I guess scouts taught me more than they wanted to.

It seems in reminiscing that my father actually probably had to deal with most of the flak for my brother and me -- I know I was not really confronted until I was nearly graduated from high school, but the arguments could not have been new. I know my dad was at loggerheads with a number of the adults, but I never really put it together. Soon after I graduated, my family found the troop so hostile that my father and my (straight, religious) little brother dropped out. So, be prepared (no pun intended) for that. I'm sure you're used to it by now.

As I progressed, the troop got bigger, and I think that may have generated more problems. The smaller the group was, the better people knew and accepted us. When more people became involved as time went by, they got louder in their complaints.

The group of boys that I hung with in scouts is still very close. We are spread around the country, but five or so of us keep in touch and are still very much a part of each others' lives. I know a few of us are very sad for the scouts and their positions on religion and homosexuality, but we partially have that bigotry to thank for our friendship. It definitely prepared me for the discrimination I would face in the real world.

So yes, after all that (sorry!) I would recommend Boy Scouts. But try to find a troop that fits. Don't be afraid to go to a number of different ones, and don't be afraid to encourage your sons to get some atheist friends to go with them.

Melio
Apr 30 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I still think we can come up with better uniforms, more utility based clothing, that won't rip completely and is easy to wash between camping trips, as well as create a basic structure of advancement without being military, and focusing on the fun part of doing things like camping, boating, fishing, and outdoors. as well as the safety aspect.

In short. I don't think anything exists organizationally and I see no reason why Secular Humanists can't sponsor an organization that fits for families that simply DO NOT want to be a part of bigotry and religious enforcement. (With proper discussion and planning anything is possible, or at least understood why it's not)

I keep pushing this.

I don't think people in general within the secular humanist community wants to lift a finger to do it. and that's really the only reason why everyone just settles for the Boy Scouts for they're kids... no offence. but I think it has a lot to do with being unable to organize this kind of thing on your own.. taking your own kids camping. fishing, boating.. I don't expect anyone to really know how to do any of this stuff.. society kinda makes it easy to eat and get around on the water without actually having to know how to do anything. it's kinda a shame. I would hope my kid can Tie his own shoes, and not depend on hook and loop fastening systems for shoes.

so I think the MAIN issue is, because the BSA is dictating both bigotry and religious enforcement. "OH it's not so much where my kids go". I tend to notice otherwise,

Recently over the last 10 years or so. the values of religious zealots have leaked into the Boy Scouts because it's an UNCHECKED system.

I would also like to point out, that when WE were in the Boy Scouts, the parents, .. it was a totally different place. different time. and the people who run it, organize it and maintain it were a lot more open minded. AND it was also a MUCH bigger organization reaching MUCH further and having a LOT more families involved. not so much any more.. it kinda doesn't sit well with today's family systems because it's annoying with religiousness now.

the above can be proved, and I'm not trying to stop an argument or create one

cupid's psyche
May 4 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

My husband's sons were/are all involved in Boy Scouts through their affiliation with the Mormon church. The LDS Church and Boy Scouts are bosom buddies. The irony is that GIRL Scouts is verboten!! (girls go to "young women's groups to learn womanly things like making angel ornaments out of tampons-I'm not kidding)

My husband left LDS (Latter Day Saints) years ago, but his Ex is still active. So the youngest boy still goes to meetings. The sad thing is that in the LDS Church people are "assigned callings" (is that an oxymoron?) and many of the pack leaders would rather be doing anything but being pack leaders!

Many of their activities are poorly organized and "lame".

I also feel that the anti-gay issue with Boy Scouts supercedes ANY possible benefit. I think getting them into sports and/or volunteering to go to nursing homes to visit the elderly/or delivering meals on wheels or helping neighbors are more worthy activities.

Melio
May 5 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

My husband's sons were/are all involved in Boy Scouts through their affiliation with the Mormon church. The LDS Church and Boy Scouts are bosom buddies. The irony is that GIRL Scouts is verboten!! (girls go to "young women's groups to learn womanly things like making angel ornaments out of tampons-I'm not kidding)

My husband left LDS (Latter Day Saints) years ago, but his Ex is still active. So the youngest boy still goes to meetings. The sad thing is that in the LDS Church people are "assigned callings" (is that an oxymoron?) and many of the pack leaders would rather be doing anything but being pack leaders!

Many of their activities are poorly organized and "lame".

I also feel that the anti-gay issue with Boy Scouts supercedes ANY possible benefit. I think getting them into sports and/or volunteering to go to nursing homes to visit the elderly/or delivering meals on wheels or helping neighbors are more worthy activities.

I read articles that confer with your experiances and the association with the morman idea system is one of the many reasons why I do not wish to have my kid in the BSA. It's really unfortunate that children would be brainwashed, but the way I see it, they need to brainwash children to perpetuate the idea of a church system being a "Good" system so one day when these kids become rich super billionaires. they won't turn they're nose at the church when they ask them for donations.

Izman15
May 6 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I still think we can come up with better uniforms, more utility based clothing, that won't rip completely and is easy to wash between camping trips, as well as create a basic structure of advancement without being military, and focusing on the fun part of doing things like camping, boating, fishing, and outdoors. as well as the safety aspect.

In short. I don't think anything exists organizationally and I see no reason why Secular Humanists can't sponsor an organization that fits for families that simply DO NOT want to be a part of bigotry and religious enforcement. (With proper discussion and planning anything is possible, or at least understood why it's not)

I keep pushing this.

I don't think people in general within the secular humanist community wants to lift a finger to do it. and that's really the only reason why everyone just settles for the Boy Scouts for they're kids... no offence. but I think it has a lot to do with being unable to organize this kind of thing on your own.. taking your own kids camping. fishing, boating.. I don't expect anyone to really know how to do any of this stuff.. society kinda makes it easy to eat and get around on the water without actually having to know how to do anything. it's kinda a shame. I would hope my kid can Tie his own shoes, and not depend on hook and loop fastening systems for shoes.

I was a scout in my youth and progressed to eventually get my eagle. My troop was large, 40+ active kids with about 20 involved parents, and quite understanding. There was very little religious reinforcement beyond the normal pledge and oath and even those were toned down. From what has been reported my troop was the exception to the new rule of religious intolerance and bigotry and that truly saddens me.

The one problem I have with your post is that SHL planning camping trips, hiking, canoeing, or what ever won’t hold the attention of children and youth as much because there won’t be the objectives and structure BSA has. While I can tell most here dislike the militarism that BSA presents the fact is that a tiered rank progression offers incentives as well as discipline to the system. The mandatory badge system forces children to pay attention and learn things in order to get what they want (the cool badge and eventually a rank up in the troop). Higher rank offers benefits like responsibility and limited authority over lower scouts and the older kids with big swaths of patches and badges inspire admiration and imitation from younger scouts.

Looking at this problem in a primitive social model, children are instinctively designed to respect a chain of authority such as a tribal cultural system. Left to there own they will establish dominance chains on criteria such as size, strength, attractiveness all of which are innate traits that offer little in terms of social progression. In stead any effective social organizations must promote traits that all members can compete in as well as ones that benefit the society, loyalty, intelligence, compassion, ect. In order to create an organization that would rival BSA on a secular basis we would need to incorporate these tools.

In summation the new Secular Scouts would need a rank system based on there individual achievements and performance as well as an organized and official leadership system.

Melio
May 6 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

Structure like that could be cloned by way what is the current system of the BSA, but even that has copyrights.. I garentee that even if we made our own rank and structure the BSA would try to sue us for infringing :P

so at that point, it's a Business, you have to handle it like one, and the children need to be posed individual levels and directives.. with something like that.. it would have to be developed and maintainted with board members, and financiers, to make sure books will be error checked, printed efficently and not wastefully.

If that were the case. we would have to meet demand, and there's very little demand. unfortunatly...

So. since the business model and demand case could be fully qualified, I would have to say. that Boy Scouts do it cheaper, and more efficently because they use 200 year old buildings with religious funding.. we wouldnt have that to support our systems.. we couldnt even qualify use of a ymca for meetings.

So where exactly would we MEET.

another situation that would arrise is having any form of a uniform, it would be too "pass off as the real thing" . so how do you market a new and improved system that parents would "buy" as better then the scouts..

Well.. one way. would be to make it more expensive.. and obviously more "elite" .. you know.. water sells like this..

so the real issue is.. do you, ethically have what it takes to run an organization that exploits what parents "desire" for they're children as structure.. and at the same time are you willing to put in an effort to maintain it. because even if it may seem evil and elitist.. parents probably would do it.. just for the sake of saying they're kids were not neglected when it came to special skills they simply don't teach in school.

I look at this like our soccer teams.. you volunteer to do it. you find out they don't have ref's, you have to provide your own soccer ball. whistle. and even bring snacks for the kids because the parents WONT. .. so when you look back at it.. you could have done this organization BETTER on your own. .. why didn't you?

bingc
May 17 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I like what Melo has to say. If I lived in the South it might be a different story for us, but in Massachusetts the god stuff is no big deal.

Ten years ago, while representing a Boston investment firm, I called on the BSA outside Dallas. The Dallas area is very conservative Baptist and the leaders of the BSA take every effort to push their religious beliefs. It is unfortunate, as otherwise the BSA have a log to offer.

Good luck.

Melio
May 20 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

My kid is very respectful, listens to his parents, you know after the 3rd or 4th go around.. and has an excellent ability to learn and display happiness for learning new things.

I don't think the Boy Scouts would offer anything that he already doesn't have.

except... possibly

a sense of belonging to a military like structured organization.. that's pretty neat.

a sense of accomplishment for doing outdoors based activities.

learn some things that you really don't' learn in school, like knots, tent set-up, environmental respect.

if you were seeking similar systems that maintain rank as structure, there's military schools, approximate costs are acceptable. but do you really want your kid that well versed in real military structure at his age?

(whatever age that is)

Another system is Martial Arts academies. The belt varieties are not all common amongst all martial arts institutions, they usually work together for tournament sparring. this leads to trophy wins and a sense of accomplishment I'm pretty sure the Boy Scouts doesn't offer. the confidence level of knowing your own physical limits is usually a good thing for older kids to learn, very young children can learn this and continue to learn it without problems, but if you take them out and attempt to re-enter them, they have to learn everything over. it's also very physically demanding. good for weight loss for children.

I'd like to bring up an old topic of "too much" within this forum since it's our own point of interest for family involvement with our children and secular humanism.

Too much for the kids, as far as how many different activity's they are involved with on a daily basis.

after searching around I found a WSJ article about it : http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1172679 ... iscallyfit

even if the article is a bit more "health" oriented, it still brings up a classic example of "Too Much"

Without the boy scouts, there's so many possibilities to involve your children in outside resources to learn and become outstanding. I'm actually wondering if the BSA is scared because the Media and Information about these things are better, more utilized and actually more organized then ever before. not only would the BSA lose family's to other possibilities, but I bet family's simply avoid the BSA because, frankly; it's lame.

almonsky
May 24 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I have just become aware that the BSA invited Barack Obama to become Honorary President of BSA. Apparently offering this title to the President has been a tradition since 1910. I knew nothing about this, maybe others did.

Anyway, The Secular Coaltion of America wrote a letter back in March asking President Obama not to accept this title. See http://www.secular.org/news/Obama_BoyScouts_letter090309.html for the letter. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find out the outcome of this. Does anybody know? Did he accept?

beersnob
Jun 7 2009
Re: boy scout dilemma

I just came across this and figured I'd share: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting_for_All It's about a nondiscrimination in scouting group. It was linked from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of ... ted_States There's a good bit re. church/state etc. on wikipedia for anyone interested.

Almonsky, I respect your final decision. I have to imagine that if I had kids, I'd come to the same conclusion, being as intolerant of intolerance as I am. I didn't get a whole lot out of my experience in the scouts like many of the contributors to this discussion, but I did start "running the streets" as soon as I left scouts--until I eventually got involved with 4H, which had the same anti-atheist issues (in my experience anyway; by appearances, they're purely secular). 4H was a much better experience for me. It was a diverse group of folks that worked together and individually toward noble goals for the purpose of personal growth and civic engagement. Their pledge BTW: I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world. Humanist enough for ya?

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