Talk:Boy Scouts of America

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

How do we set it up so that other terms lead to this article in the search box? I was mainly thinking boy scouts of america in lower-case, Boy Scouts (also in lower-case), BSA, Eagle Scout, and Venturing. ENorman 15:27, 24 March 2009 (EDT)

use redirect. There is a link on the edit bar below the edit window, but basically #REDIRECT [[new name here]].--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot""We are all born mad. Some remain so." 15:30, 24 March 2009 (EDT)

The atheist, agnostic bit...[edit]

OK, I'll bite on the homosexuality part because that was beaten to death by the media, but where is this info that atheists and agnostics aren't allowed in? I am an Eagle Scout and my troop had a few atheists, agnostics, and non-denominationals (I believe in Christ but I don't believe in religion types) in it. They just didn't participate in the benediction at the end (which never made sense for me, because it was an interfaith thing at best, I was raised Presbyterian, but there were more Methodists and Catholics outnumbered Protestants by at least 2-1, but the benediction was as generic as a Wesleyan prayer).

As I am typing this, however, I could see how some fundy loon Christian Evangelical scoutmaster or head of council could go on an Inquisitional rampage toeing the line that "a Scout is reverent" REQUIRES Scouts to be religious. I just haven't heard of it, that's all.

I guess I have just always viewed the "reverent" part of the Scout Law as a placeholder word at best, (i.e., if you believe in a faith, do your best to follow that faith, if you DON'T believe in one, just try to be respectful of those who do).

The Foxhole Atheist 15:32, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

It's plain as fucking day. http://www.bsalegal.org/duty-to-god-cases-224.asp
In case there is any confusion: "Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders...the Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals, or others as professional Scouters." — Unsigned, by: Neveruse513 / talk / contribs 15:53, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Holy flipping fuck! Someone hijacked my organization! Granted, the last time I was active was 15 years ago, but this is the first time I've EVER been aware of these requirements and standards. I am seriously pissed off and broken hearted... The Foxhole Atheist 16:52, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Hehe, which part of "do my duty to God and my Country" did you mumble as you drifted/worked your way through the system? It was quite a while back, but maybe less than 15 years ago, that an atheist parent sued on behalf of their atheist son, and lost. As I recall, this cost the BSA the funding they were getting from the United Way. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:11, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, to be honest, I mumbled none of it. As I've said before, I became an atheist through my experiences in Iraq. That being said, I meant the "God" part when I said it. The thing that was the shocker for me was the religious requirements that have been appended to the different ranks. When I was a Webelo, for instance, I earned the Presbyterian Award as an optional thing, not as a full on requirement for advancement. I never had to "lead grace" to attain First Class. And so on.
What causes more befuddlement for me is, by mandating that religious views are incorporated at all levels, aren't they sowing seeds for more isolation as opposed to more diversity, even among religious groups? For instance, imagine a Christian Evangelical learning that their son has to "endure" a Jewish prayer before meals. Doesn't this obviously cause people who belong to a large organization like Scouting to "clique" off into their own isolated groups so that their particular faith is not challenged by another? It's just baffling...
Some of my best memories are things that happened during my scouting years (And NO, none of them involved molestation, homosexuality or pedophilia, thank you very much) and NONE of them have religion as the source of that happiness. It saddens me that the organization I was so proud of being in that I would put up with the jokes and derision at school for has taken such a hard line stance against the very principles that it brought me up on (i.e., tolerance, mercy, justice, etc.). The Foxhole Atheist 19:37, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I wonder what the Boy Scouts' policy would be on admitting pagans. They would probably not disagree politically with an old soldiers' religion like the cult of Mithras or Sol Invictus. UPDATE: They have a little problem with Wiccans, at least those who do not break their oath to obey the Scout Law. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:06, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, that answers that. That was EXACTLY what I was talking about. Why do I feel such shame? The Foxhole Atheist 02:18, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Be as proud as I am of the time you spent in BSA, what you learned, and your accomplishments. That they fucked up big time when it was time to grow and change isn't our fault. That's where I learned to set fire to anything, sleep in a poncho in the rain and stay dry, run full speed through the woods int he dark, and numerous other "self-reliance" type things. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:25, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, thanks for your words. It's just that I have a son now, and I was thinking about the experiences I would like him to have as he comes of age. I keep thinking of how cool it would be to connect with him on a level like being able to help him achieve Eagle rank and standing by as his Mom pinned it on his chest. Father fantasies, I know. I won't force anything, just make suggestions and lend support to his decisions. Who knows... He won't be old enough for Scouting for another 10 years. Maybe things will have chaned by then, or I can find a Troop for him where they won't require religious indoctrination like mine didn't. I guess there's always Campfire USA. The Foxhole Atheist 03:50, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Chances are that troops affiliated with the more "gentle" churches (like Congregational) or not even churches at all, pretty much run on a "don't ask, don't tell" thing, in other words, they ignore it. Of course, he'll still have to mumble the Oath a few times to make Tenderfoot, and maybe teach it to other young impressionable minds (but he'll also get to explain what "reverent" means in the most open-minded way?), but if it's a good troop with good adult leadership, national BSA will be none the wiser (sadly). ħumanUser talk:Human 04:59, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
There are some semi-"underground" groups within Scouting that have taken to . . . bending some of the admissions rules. Or just creating their own versions of Scouting, independent of the main group. Try looking here for more details. I plan to do the same thing if I ever have a kid, of either gender. Researcher (talk) 08:08, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it's a don't ask don't tell situation. I'm an atheist but as long as you don't go around yelling god is dead your fine. I'm first class tenderfoot by the way.Doublethink (talk) 21:30, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Eagle Scouts on RW[edit]

I'm curious, how many of us are Eagle scouts? I'm one, and there are several above. Tyrannis (talk) 15:42, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Despite the amount of time I devoted to the org, I only got to First Class. Researcher (talk) 15:58, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I was in the Boy Scouts, but dropped out relatively early, because our Scout Master, while a nice guy, was really just running a Young Outdoorsmans' Club and not a Boy Scout Troop. In retrospect, I wish I had taken up the offer of a friend of my parents to join the troop he ran, and he was a highly decorated Scoutmaster. MDB (talk) 16:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I got to Life + a few extra merit badges, but couldn't have made Eagle due to not being a citizen (a requirement for citizenship in the nation badge). Also my troop was falling apart by the time I was 15/16 or so. ħumanUser talk:Human 16:27, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I was really involved during Cub Scouts/Webelos, and earned the Arrow of Light award. I only made it to Tenderfoot in Boy Scouts because all we learned was tying knots. I did earn a merit badge for coin collecting. Aboriginal Noise What the hell is that thing? 16:54, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts, then Eagle in Boy Scouts. I was very Scoutey, earning the Catholic Ad Altari Dei medal, the Paul Bunyan Award for felling and sectioning a tree, the 50 Mile Afoot-and-Afloat badge, and so on. Senior Patrol Leader and then Instructor for my troop. Merit badge counselor in summer camps. High-adventure summer camp one year. It makes me incredibly sad I couldn't send my son - should I ever have one - to the Scouts. But not as long as they have their policies on atheists and homosexuals in place.--ADtalkModerator 20:24, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I recieved my Eagle Scout September 11, 2007. During that time i got 23 merit badges, was in the Order of the Arrow, and was the Patrol Leader for the troop. In all honesty, i found the BSA to be an excellent organization, during which time i learned a great deal about leadership, survival skills, and organization. Despite that i found the indian woo to be down right grating (esspecially since the dining hall at our summer camp was built on an indian burial ground) and the religious crap to be boring and over bearing. despite that, several of the adult troop leaders were aware that i was an atheist and simply advised me to be low key about it and not discuss it. for my recommendation from a religious leader i got my shaolin kung fu teacher to right it for me, on the basis that shaolin is a branch of budhism (that was slightly stretching it, but whatever) and on my board of review when asked about my religious beliefs i simply stated that i believe "religion is a personal matter that should only be discussed with ones most intimate of relationships" which the troop leaders figured out was my way of saying "none of your damn buisness" any way, i have found my eagle scout to be useful, both with the skills i learned and a nifty little addition to my resume, but i still detest the hypocracy and discrimination within it--BenB (talk) 16:02, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Currently Star and an Arrowman. I might try to see if my district will accept Pastafarianism as a religion, because otherwise I'm agnostic.fortunately, I'm in a fairly secular troop. --TheGreenWarrior (talk) 05:36, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Aims and purposes[edit]

Under that section the article says: Despite the extremely conservative nature of the group, there are many valuable lessons to be learned for a kid who has a strong counterweight to preserve balance on the political side.

What does this actually mean?--Weirdstuff (talk) 20:32, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Beats me. Aside from filling out papaerwork I learned that teamwork never works and that anything left up to a group to decide will always be a colossal failure unless rigid guidelines are in place. statementword 20:38, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's some kind of code?--Weirdstuff (talk) 13:46, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
It's a bit guffy. I know there are great things in scouting to be experienced, but perhaps whoever wrote that line couldn't quite bring themselves to support the organisation in that way. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 13:45, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Philmont is nice, Northern Tier is pretty fucking awesome. The normal run-of-the-mill stuff? Tedious and boring. Evil fascistoh noez 14:33, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
The only thing I can think of is like, ideas of helping old ladies across the street and giving yourself for the good of the community, etc. Helping other people, right now, does not seem to be a conservative value. But I have no idea how many scouts actually act on that value, or if it's in the culture rather than just the stereotype. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRmore at 11 14:37, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Stereotype in my experience. We only did stuff because you have to do a certain amount of service hours to get to the next rank. Evil fascistoh noez 14:40, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
So basically it's a publicity problem: their image is formed by their supposed values but those values are not followed by their actual culture. That deserves a mention, methinks.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgoing galt: the literal crazy train 14:46, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Again, that is how it is here. Here is pretty fucked up, perhaps we can see if anyone else here's city was like this. Evil fascistoh noez 14:50, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Why I don't buy the "BSoA's anti-gay stance is a recent trend" argument[edit]

The problem is that what's being presented is not actually a "don't ask, don't tell"-policy, but a remainder of a general prudishness about sex. It's not that Mormons or whoever highjacked the scouting movement, but that its extremely conservative sexual morals discouraged any talk about sex, and when it was finally changed it was to specifically discourage only homosexuality.

I thing that BSA Today captures it quite well:

"But as the organization rededicated itself to whittling and knot-tying, it also began to orient itself in the contemporary political landscape and to assert itself as a combatant in the culture war. Previously, the Boy Scouts had maintained a decorous silence about sexuality; according to the 1972 Scoutmaster's Handbook, Scoutmasters should "not undertake to instruct Scouts, in any formalized manner, in the subject of sex and family life.... [I]t is not construed to be Scouting's proper area." Some of this was the residual prudishness of the organization's Edwardian founders. But the Boy Scouts also did not want to isolate the more conservative religious denominations that sponsored troops, who (ironically, given their current insistence that the BSA explicitly endorse certain sexual norms) worried that any official BSA position on sexuality would impinge on their own efforts at moral education. So, as with religion and politics, except for a few perfunctory references, the BSA was happy to leave the topic of sex to a boy's parents or clergyman."

Thus, the current description here on RW ("The sad part is that they didn't have any requirement regarding sexuality until the Mormons hijacked it for use as their youth development organization, and scoutmaster handbooks used to explicitly tell scoutmasters that this was not their problem.") simply misses the point. There was no greater tolerance for homosexuality back in the day, but simply a blanket silence about all things sex, partly based on general conservative prudishness, partly because of pandering to the same type of religious conservatives that today's "gay-ban" tries to placate. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:04, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

You may be right. That's not how I remember it being presented to me, but it makes sense. The way I understood it was that the Mormons steadily became a bigger presence throughout the 1970s and then, once they had become the force they are now, specifically pushed the anti-gay stance really hard; as you know, by this point many more segments of society were getting past or already past caring about such things. So we may both be right, in a sense; the larger issues of repressing sexuality were in place, and it happened to be around the time they were going away that the Mormons became so powerful in BSA and pushed through DADT. (Apologies if I'm not clear, my back is absolutely killing me from my work and it's all I can do to even try to think straight) — Unsigned, by: The Blade of the Northern Lights / talk / contribs 01:31, 27 May 2015‎

So is there such a thing as "mixed" scouts (boys and girls)[edit]

Or is just Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, and never the twain shall meet? Or is it still stuck in 1920? Carpetsmoker (talk) 11:37, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

There's Venturing, But nobody really knows/cares about that. TGW 06:03, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

Combine "Order of the Arrow" and "Indian dress-up" sections?[edit]

Now that we have both as a section, should we combine them into one? TGW 06:04, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

Updating[edit]

This article needs updating. We let in girls now. It's just scouts. — Unsigned, by: Doublethink / talk / contribs