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[rec.scouting.issues] Commonly asked questions (FAQ 2)

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Archive-name: scouting/rec.scouting.issues
Last-Modified: 7 July 2003

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Recent Changes
06/14/03   Added: Is this group moderated? Information   about a moderated
email list
06/14/03   Added: Are there councils that ignore national BSA policies
10/23/02   Added: I heard most United Ways Have Dropped BSA funding, is it
10/31/02   Added: I heard Wiccans can't be BSA Scouts, is that true?
10/31/02   Changed: What is the Declaration of Religious Principles

This file gives information for the rec.scouting.issues group.

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Please see the rec.scouting.usa and rec.scouting.misc groups
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The Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ) files for all Scouting groups
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Subject: General Information -- rec.scouting.issues Welcome to rec.scouting.issues, the newsgroup for boy and girl Scouts, Guides, Cub Scouts, Venturers, Rovers, Camp Fire, Leaders and all people interested in Scouting and guiding related issues, worldwide. Rec.scouting.issues concentrates on discussing issues within and between the national and regional organizations and local users or implementers of these programs. This group is open to any issue relating to these organizations. For example, anything relating to the "the 3Gs" in the USA (gays in Scouting, gender specific Scouting organizations, God in the Scout Oath), or alcoholic beverage consumption during Scouting activities and camps in European programs, or issues of youth versus adult leadership in short term camping events. See FAQ #1 for our Charter and important information about the rec.scouting.* groups. This document introduces new readers to the preferred Etiquette for rec.scouting.issues and answers a number of frequently asked questions posted to the rec.scouting.issues group. If you have a useful item that hasn't been included in this FAQ, please do all of us the favor. Write it up and post it on rec.scouting.issues. Drop me a copy too to make sure that I include it in this file. As the FAQ files are updated regularly, make sure that you have the latest copy in your hands. The release date of this FAQ is indicated in the line starting with "Last-Modified:" at the top of this file. Files older than three months should be considered as outdated. This file or parts of it may be freely used, printed and re-distributed as long as you enclose this paragraph and keep the references to the respective contributors and to the maintainer (listed below) intact.
Subject: Is this group moderated? Date: 14 June 2003 No, rec.scouting.issues is not a moderated group and can be a bit rough at times. A more gentile and moderated email list is available for those who Would like to communicate there. Here is a description of that email group: A moderated counterpart to the Usenet newsgroup rec.scouting.issues,=20 for discussion about membership and other issues connected to the=20 Boy Scouts of America. The purpose of this group is to reduce cross-posting,=20 spam, and gratuitous insults sometimes found on Usenet. A lively yet civil=20 discussion of issues is encouraged. To subscribe to that list, send a note to:
Subject: Etiquette Guidelines -- Rec.scouting.issues Date: 27 April 1996 = *** ETIQUETTE GUIDELINES *** Before reading any further, please go to the newsgroup news.announce.newusers and read the posting: Rules for posting to Usenet. That message describes some of the rules of conduct on Usenet. Posters to the rec.scouting* hierarchy are expected to follow these rules. Read also the rec.scouting.* FAQ #1 which contains Etiquette guidelines specific to the rec.scouting* hierarchy. The following guidelines are particularly important to remember for rec.scouting.issues. o By the nature of this group, many discussions are of very controversial topics. It is therefore expected that Scouts, Guides and Scouters adhere to their organization's oath, promise or law at all times. To quote again from the Williamsburg Charter: Those who claim the right to dissent should assume the responsibility to debate. Those who claim the right to criticize should assume the responsibility to comprehend Those who claim the right to influence should accept the responsibility not to inflame Those who claim the right to participate should accept the responsibility to persuade o Advertising is not welcome on rec.scouting.issues. This is NOT the group to post advertisements, Web page announcements, patch trading and the like. o Please do not "flame" (insult) anyone in this newsgroup. Discussions will naturally bring disagreements, however, rebuttals should always be made in a polite, respectful, rational, logical and mature manner. o Please remember the scope of this newsgroup is to discuss issues related to Scouting and guiding. If you find that your discussion is going outside of this scope, please take it to = another group or off-line. o Please avoid posting to rec.scouting.issues and another group outside of the rec.scouting groups (cross-posting). The postings quickly expand beyond the subject of Scouting and become very difficult to conclude. Let's keep the Scouting policy discussions in the Scouting newsgroup, rather than pulling in "issue specialists" from other groups. If you feel people in another group might be interested in a discussion, go over to the other group and post a message pointing to the discussion in rec.scouting.issues. Interested people will come over to rec.scouting.issues to join in the discussion. Watch for cross-postings carefully. Before posting a reply, please double check the newsgroup line to make sure you are not posting to other newsgroups unintentionally. If you must cross-post, make sure your responses are phrased in such a way as to not start an argument. Remember, most people = to not hunt out rec.scouting.issues to start an argument--but if you keep a discussion going in another group by cross-posting your views, they'll generally return the favor. Also, statements = and discussions appropriate on rec.scouting.issues may be seen as inappropriate on other groups. o The bottom line: Remember the subject here is Scouting Issues. Please stay on topic, be polite, and respect other people's views and defend their right to have an opinion. In other words, act in a scout-like manner. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN REC.SCOUTING.ISSUES
Subject: We have noticed some 'adult' messages being posted. Are = these permitted? Date: 27 April 1998 Q. We have noticed some 'adult' messages being posted. Are these permitted? A. NO! But unfortunately there is little that can be done about them at the moment. The important thing to remember is NOT to reply to any 'adult' messages. Normally, the messages will be removed from the server after just a few hours but if you reply to them, your reply may remain available for all to see.
Subject: What does 3G mean? Date: 27 April 1996 Q. What does 3G mean? A. 3G stands for God, gays and girls as these subjects relate to Scouting. These are three hot issues within Scouting in the USA and are also being brought up in other countries.
Subject: Is this where I can get official information? Date: 27 Dec 1997 Q. Is this where I can obtain official information from my = Scouting organization? A. No, official information from organizations is not normally communicated via rec.scouting.issues. This FAQ = should not be considered as an official communication from = any Scouting organization. It is simply a collection of = questions and answers compiled by people who frequent = rec.scouting.issues. See FAQ #1 for more information.
Subject: Are Scouting and guiding organizations on the Net? Q. Do Scouting organizations have official information on the net that describes their structure and some policies? A. Yes, some do: Guiding and Scouting organizations can be found off of: the InterNETional Scouting Page = the US Scouting Service Project Page: The YAHOO Index: = The WOSM Web page is at: The WAGGGS Web page is at: The GSUSA Web page at: The BSA Web page is at: ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: Which countries have single gender Scouting or Guiding? Date: 10 May 2001 Q. Which countries have single gender Scouting or Guiding? A. Scouting varies greatly around the world, there are fully co-ed programs (with no options) to single gender at some levels (typically pre-teen) then co-ed optional after that (which is what the BSA is), to co-ed at all levels, to fully single gender (which is what the GSUSA is). In some cases, the boy and girl programs are handled separately but the organizations are united into a Scout or Guide group. You can get a good idea by looking at the symbol of Scouting in that country. If the trefoil of the girls is combined with the fleur-de-lis of boys, the movements are combined in some manner. More information about the specifics of each country can be found at their sites on the web.
Subject: Where can I find a copy of the BSA and GSUSA Congressional Charters? Date: 5 Dec 2000 Q. Where can I find a copy of the BSA and GSUSA Congressional Charters? A. The U.S. House of Representatives' Web page ( has a database of U.S. Codes (Laws). The BSA charter is under Title 36, Subtitle II, Part B, Chapter = 309, Sections 30901-30908 (36 USC 309) GSUSA Charter is Title 36, Subtitle II, Part B, Chapter 803, = Sections 80301-80307 (36 USC 803) The BSA charter is also at: Excerpts from the Federal Charter can be found at:
Subject: Is the word Scout or Scouts Copyrighted or Trademarked? Date: 23 Dec 1998 The BSA "owns" the names "Boy Scouts of America", "Scout", "Boy Scouting", and "Scouting", as used within the United States. This is granted by a FEDERAL CHARTER from our Congress, and under this charter, the Government of the United States granted the organization called corporately "Boy Scouts of America" the sole and exclusive right to have and to use, in carrying out its purposes, all emblems and badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases now or heretofore used by the Boy Scouts of America in carrying out its program. The GSUSA also holds a federal charter on its title. According to a House of Representatives report accompanying the Bill incorporating the Boy Scouts: "If any boy can secure these badges without meeting the required test the badges will soon be meaningless and one of the leading features of the Scout program will be lost. Likewise with the uniform which designates the Scout. At the present time this is protected by the use of insignia - a seal woven or stamped into the cloth. All of these various badges and insignia are at present protected by the patent laws but under the patent laws such protection is available for a limited period only. The passing by Congress of this bill will, it is believed, provide the organization with protection for its distinctive insignia, the integrity of which is essential to the maintenance of the movement, and protect it from those who are seeking to profit by the good repute and high standing and popularity of the Scout movement by imitating it in name alone." Both BSA and GSUSA have a large number of registered trademarks for different aspects of the Scouting program. All printed material, such as the Handbook, is protected by copyright. The Congress has also granted federal charters to: *The American Red Cross (which keeps other organizations and programs from using "Red Cross" and the emblematic red cross; the BSA was caught in this and when the ARC threatened to sue the BSA over this, the BSA changed their First Aid Merit badge to a GREEN CROSS with a RED background. This is also why the Safety Merit Badge has a WHITE CROSS (instead of "Green Cross for Safety{tm}", which is a registered trademark of the National Safety Council) with a GREEN background) *The American Legion (which has trademarked the word "Legionnaire" as used in the United States, to refer to members of their organization; of course, those everywhere in the world using the word "Legionnaire" may be referring to the French Foreign Legion or to the American Legion or several other "legions".) The federal charter is little more than a trademark law. Most organizations hold trademarks and to do so, they get laws passed on either the State or Federal level. Some of these organizations discriminate in religious afiliation or gender. Other congressional charters have gone to: The Girl Scouts Future Farmers of America The Red Cross Pershing Hall Memorial Fund The Foundation of the Federal Bar Association Boys & Girls Clubs of America Big Brothers - Big Sisters of America Jewish War Veterans, U.S.A., National Memorial, Inc. Blue Star Mothers of America National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic Little League Baseball, Inc. Gold Star Wives of America National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists General Federation of Women's Clubs and many more... The Federal Charter can be found at:
Subject: What is the WOSM position on God and Religion in Scouting? Date: 31 Mar 2002 The World Organization of the Scout Movement is an international, non-governmental organization composed of its recognized national Scout organizations. Its governing body is the World Conference, which meets every three years, and its executive is the World Committee composed of elected volunteers. The World Organization of the Scout Movement has issued a number of publications which summerize the principles of the WOSM and the place of Duty to God in the movement. "The principles of Scouting, or values it stands for, are normally summarized in three categories: "Duty to God" - a person's relationship with the spiritual values of life, the fundamental belief in a force above mankind. "Duty to others" - a person's relationship with, and responsibility within, society in the broadest sense of the term: his or her family, local community, country and the world at large, as well as respect for others and for the natural world. "Duty to self" - a person's responsibility to develop his or her own potential, to the best of that person's ability. What is important to underline here is the exact function of the principles, or values, within Scouting. At the level of the Movement as a whole, they represent Scouting's vision of society, the ideals it stands for and the image it projects. For anyone joining the Movement, the principles represent those elements which each individual must be open to accept and must be willing to do his or her best to follow. This initial acceptance does not, and certainly cannot in the case of young people, imply in any way an understanding of the full significance of these values; this can only be acquired through membership of the Movement over a period of time. By contrast, a rejection by an individual of these principles disqualifies him or her from membership of the Movement, which is open to all provided they agree with its purpose, principles and method. Once a young person has expressed his or her initial acceptance of these principles, through making the promise, the whole educational process within Scouting consists in enabling the young person to gradually understand these values, adhere to them and make them his or her own so that they permeate the person's behaviour throughout life. In the Founder's words "Self-education, that is, what a boy learns for himself, is what is going to stick by him and guide him later on in life, far more than anything that is imposed upon him through instruction by a teacher". .... In return, the Scout Movement requires a commitment from the individual member - a commitment, first and foremost, to respect and act according to the fundamental principles of the Movement: duty to God, duty to others and duty to self. This commitment is made through making the Scout promise, which is the public expression of the willingness to do one's best to adhere to a code of living based on these ideals. This voluntary commitment to the Scout Movement extends also to achieving the educational purpose of Scouting. This applies to youth members, insofar as their own personal development is concerned; indeed the voluntary commitment is an essential component of Scouting's educational process, influencing motivation and personal attitude, being in control of one's own personal development, setting personal objectives, self-drive, etc. .... Adults in the Movement must also be committed to Scouting's purpose, principles and method, as their role is to help youth members, directly or indirectly, to achieve their full potentials. This leads to a strong sense of shared responsibility and partner-ship among all members of the Movement: youth and adult, "volunteer" and "professional". Also implicit in the fact that becoming a member of the Scout Movement is a voluntary act is the recognition that what the Movement offers to young people - its educational proposal - is not suited to everyone. Thus, not all young people are potential members of the Scout Movement; there are those who, for whatever reason, will never be attracted to it or find it possible to adhere to its fundamental principles. What is critical, however, is that the Scout Movement offers the possibility to join, to all those who wish to, and does not construct barriers to membership that are based on factors other than the fundamentals of the Movement. .... It is important to note that what protects the Movement when it is threatened by outside forces is the fact that its nature and specific identity are internationally defined and agreed upon by all Scout associations. For example, challenges to the Movement's fundamental principles in any particular country can be defended on the basis of conditions of membership of the World Movement. From: "The Essential Characteristics of Scouting", World Scout = Bureau, 1998. tml For a history of "Duty to God" in Scouting and a discussion of promise variations (not alternate promises), see chapter 4 in: SCOUTING AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT, October 2001 Also see: "Scouting in Practice: Ideas for Scout Leaders", World Scout Bureau, 1996 (revised 1997). tml "Scouting: An Educational System", World Scout Bureau, 1998. For more information on who the WOSM is see:
Subject: What was Baden-Powell's position on God and Religion in Scouting? Date: 16 Dec 1998 Q. What was Baden-Powell's position on God and Religion in Scouting? Baden-Powell founded Scouting in England around 1905. Here is what he had to say about God and Religion in Scouting. "A careful analysis of the Founder's writings shows that the concept of a force above man is basic to Scouting. The whole educational approach of the Movement consists in helping young people to transcend the material world and go in search of the spiritual values of life." (The Fundamental Principles of the WOSM "When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden- Powell replied, It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding." (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement-- an address, 1926). "I don't mean by this the mere soldiering and sailoring services; we have no military aim or practice in our movement; but I mean the ideals of service for their fellow-men. In other words, we aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of its theology on Sundays.... The co-operation of tiny sea insects has brought about the formation of coral islands. No enterprise is too big where there is goodwill and co-operation carrying it out. Every day we are turning away boys anxious to join the Movement, because we have no the men or women to take them in hand. There is a vast reserve of loyal patriotism and Christian spirit lying dormant in our nation to-day, mainly because it sees no direct opportunity for expressing itself. Here in this joyous brotherhood there is vast opportunity open to all in a happy work that shows results under your hands and a work that is worth while because it gives every man his chance of service for his fellow-men and for God. " (Scouting for Boys 1908) "No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion....Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbour." (Scouting for Boys) "The atheists... maintain that a religion that has to be learnt from books written by men cannot be a true one. But they don't seem to see that besides printed books... God has given us as one step the great Book of Nature to read; and they cannot say that there is untruth there - the facts stand before them... I do not suggest Nature Study as a form of worship or as a substitute for religion, but I advocate the understanding of Nature as a step, in certain cases, towards gaining religion" (Rovering to Success, Robert Baden-Powell, 1930, p. 181). "Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God, which we may best term "Reverence. Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes. There may be many difficulties relating to the definition of the religious training in our Movement where so many different denominations exist, and the details of the expression of duty to God have, therefore, to be left largely in the hands of the local authority. But there is no difficulty at all in suggesting the line to take on the human side, since direct duty to one's neighbour is implied in almost every form of belief." (Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919) Katharine Furse described him with more than a hint of tongue-in-cheek as 'the inspired mystic of Scouting', but this was actually how he was seen by millions. This image owed much to his growing tendency to represent Scouting as a form of religion. "Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity," he had written in the introduction to a pamphlet entitled Scouting and Christianity in 1917. In 1921 in a pamphlet entitled "The Religion in the Woods" argued that observing the beauties of nature was the best way in which to apprehend God and that no one religion held a monopoly of truth. This made him very unpopular with churchmen... Bishop Joseph Butt, auxiliary bishop to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, accused Baden-Powell of "sweeping with one magnificent gesture the Christian Revelation, Mohammadanism , and all the rest, into a heap of private opinions which do not matter much." In the next edition of the "Headquarters Gazette", Baden-Powell obliged his horrified Committee by assuring readers that it was "not his intention to attack Revealed Religion or to suggest a substitute for it." But he never regretted what he had said, nor that he had invited Muslims and Buddhists to recite prayers at Gilwell. He quoted Carlyle as saying: 'The religion of a man is not the creed he professes but his life -- what he acts upon, and knows of life, and his duty in it. A bad man who believes in a creed is no more = religious than the good man who does not. Baden-Powell's public refusal to countenance the exclusive claims of any one religion was accompanied by the increasingly fervent references to 'God' in his speeches. (The Boy-Man by Tim Jeal, pg 515) Also see: The Founder's Thoughts on Christianity, Religion and Scouting Baden-Powell on Reverence ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: Was Baden-Powell a Freemason? No. Despite the similarities in the philosophies of Freemasonry and the Scouting movement, we have been unable to trace any evidence that Lord Baden-Powell was a Freemason. For more information see:
Subject: What was Baden-Powell's vision for Scouting? Date: 3 May 1998 Q. What was Baden-Powell's vision for Scouting? A. There is a lot of tradition in the Scout Movement around the = world. Sometimes we wonder where a lot of it came from, and whether or not we are following Baden-Powell's vision of what Scouting should be. Are we part of a unique educational approach to learning about life, or is there something we are missing? How about going back to the Founder's own words to find out? Lord Baden-Powell wrote: "Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is character with a purpose. And = that purpose, that the next generation may be sane in an insane world, and develop the higher realization of service, active service of love, and duty to God and neighbor." Here are a series of Web Pages that reference some of his works: B-P's Preface to Scouting for Boys The Baden-Powell Library A Selection of excerpts from the works of Sir Robert Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: I understand the BSA does not have liability insurance, is this true? The Boy Scouts of America has liability insurance that covers leaders and organizations to which units are chartered. Accident and medical coverage are not included but are available through BSA local councils at a modest cost. This coverage provides protection for the council, all Scouting professionals and employees, Scouting units, chartered organizations, and volunteer Scouters (whether or not registered) with respect to claims arising in the performance of their duties in Scouting. Coverage is more than $15,000,000 for bodily injury and property damage. The insurance provided Scouting volunteers through the BSA General Liability Insurance program is excess over any other insurance the volunteer might have to his or her benefit, usually a homeowners, personal liability, or auto liability policy. There is no coverage for those who commit intentional or criminal acts. By providing insurance coverage = to volunteers on an excess basis, BSA is able to purchase higher limits. Because of the high limits, volunteers should NOT be placed in a position where their assets are jeopardized because of a negligence liability claim or lawsuit. Chartered Organizations are covered by a primary umbrella policy. Contact your local Council for more information.
Subject: Who sets policy in the BSA? Date: 16 August 1998 Q. Who sets policy in the BSA? A. The BSA owns two organizations: Learning for Life/Exploring and = the BSA traditional Scouting programs. Learning for Life/Exploring holds all of the vocational training programs within the BSA effective August 1, 1998 (e.g., Law Explorer Posts) as well as its program for school aged youth. The following is a description of the BSA traditional Scouting organization. Taken heavily from a letter by settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET) There are three groups that actually *make* BSA policy at the national level. These groups are the various national-level committees, the National Executive Board, and in the case of Exploring and the Order of the Arrow, the Council of Chiefs and the National Exploring Cabinet, which I'll lump together as "youth boards". There's another group, the National Council, that "radifies" the actions of the Board. The BSA has 31 standing and 14 ad-hoc National Committees. Each of those committees are chaired by and staffed by volunteers from all over the nation. Many of these volunteers serve as Council and/or unit-level volunteers in addition to their national service. Committee members serve typically for a one-year period and are selected by national professional staff advisors and/or volunteer committee chairs. This includes those serving on one of the ad-hoc or task force committees formed to address specific issues within the BSA. Each Committee also has one to two National staff advisors, whose jobs are twofold: one, to serve as the professional day-to-day manager of that committee and the other, to monitor and "corral-in" those committees that somehow stray from what "will fly in Peoria", program speaking. Each National staff advisor has been carefully selected by senior national staff members, attend regular "sharing and discovery" meetings during the week, and therefore know more about what's going on within the various committees outside his or her as well as his own..... Depending on the personality of the National staffer, the committee runs really smoothly, or roughly, or not at all. This creates problems whereby some committees will have loads of programming and support recommendations and policies, and others are not productive at all. National staffers are "graded" on their ability to "keep the group together and focused" as well as "practical outcomes which will enhance the programs of the BSA". Some policies are immediately put into practice throughout the BSA from the Committee (and it is the professional that "lobbies" on behalf of the committee to get it approved by the Program, Administration, Finance, Council Support or Membership/Relationships Group Director whom has the final responsibility for sending those changes and improvements to "the field"). Those are the ones that come directly to your Council from the Director of the various programs or from the appropriate Group Director. Other policies require changes to the BSA's Rules and Regulations or to the Charter and Bylaws, which is the reason why they have to go before the BSA's National Executive Board. The NEB is composed of between 48 and 52 adult members and three to five youth members. This board meets every other month to discuss and finalize recommendations made by the various Group Directors, their volunteer Committees, or by individual Board members or the Chief Scout Executive. There are seven professionals whom are members of this board: the Chief Scout Executive, the four Regional Directors (whom also serve as Associate Chief Scout Executives), the National Director of Operations and the National Director of Support Services. These professionals do NOT have a vote but they are, as you can guess, very influential in the decision-making ability of this body. The rest of the Board is composed of volunteers whom are key business, industry, civic and religious leaders from all parts of the nation and all walks of life. To keep a youth slant on the actions, the National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, the National Explorer President, and up to three other youth leaders (selected by their peers or through a national competition of some sort) are voting members of the NEB. The Chief Scout Executive serves as the "secretary" to the Board and his or her performance is tied to overall program success. The National Executive Board "hires" and "fires" the CSE and all other national-level senior professionals. Youth boards also make a significant impact on the adoption of national policies and procedures. The Assembly of Chiefs, the section and regional chiefs along with the National Chief and National Vice-Chief of the Order of the Arrow (assisted by two professionals and six adult volunteers) make policy and recommendations for the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's national honor camping society. Finally, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves as the final "stamp of approval" on all significant changes to the program of the BSA. The National Council is composed of at least three representatives from each of the BSA's local Councils: The Council President, Council Commissioner, and one other elected representative. The Council Executive is not a member. Two or more (depending on size of the local Council) volunteers are elected yearly to serve as National Council Representatives, a job that nowadays carries more weight than it used to. The National Council meets as a whole body once a year. As you can probably figure out by all of this, whatever the National Exec Board approves, more than likely will be approved by the National Council after it has already been implemented in their local Councils. This is also the reason why when new programs are announced, SOME local Councils delay implementing it until a national vote is taken on the program change or other issue. Those are the bodies that make up the decision-making ability of the BSA. While we're talking about professional management of various committees and boards, we're also talking about volunteers --you and me-- making up those boards and committees, with a larger say than the professionals and reflecting our Council's make-ups and population. Settummanque! ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: Where can I find information on how the BSA is organized? Date: 28 May 1997 Q. Where can I find information on how the BSA is organized, who makes the decisions, that sort of thing? A. There are two entities to the BSA: The BSA traditional Scouting organization and the wholly owned subsidiary: Learning for Life/Exploring. The BSA has a number of publications that contain its organization. All are available to the general public from your nearby Scout = Shop. or by mail see: Where can I get official BSA literature & = catalog? (in the rec.scouting.usa FAQ) Check: The Cub Scout Leader Book and The Troop Committee = Guidebook An on-line official description is available for the traditional Scouting organization at: An on-line official description of the Learning for = Life/Exploring is at: More on-line information may be found at: ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: I thought the BSA was a camping club, what are the Aims and Mission of the BSA? Date: 11 Jan 1998 Q. I thought the BSA was a camping club, what are the Aims and Mission of the BSA? A. There are two entities to the BSA: The BSA traditional Scouting organization and the wholly owned subsidiary: Learning for Life/Exploring. There are three aims to Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Scouting: Aim I -- To build moral strength and character Aim II -- To foster citizenship Aim III -- To develop fitness These three aims are the bedrock of the American Scouting movement. They represent the long term outcomes we want for every boy. It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential. (BSA Mission Statement) It is the mission of Learning for Life/Exploring to serve others by helping to instill core values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices throughout their lives so they can achieve their full potential. "Values are those things that really matter to each of us ... the ideas and beliefs we hold as special. Caring for others, for example, is a value; so is the freedom to express our opinions." ("Ethics in Action", BSA 1990) "Ethics deals with what we believe to be good or bad and with the moral obligations that these beliefs imply. Ethics involves the rules for deciding right and wrong and the code of conduct that is based on our decisions. While there are some things that not everybody sees eye-to-eye with in this area, there are a whole lot more that we do agree about. For example, to steal is wrong, for most of us. So too is physical assault. Most of us don't think it is right to cheat in school; many of us think it is injustice to punish someone who didn't do anything wrong. As an idea, ethics is simple, but the consequences are profound!" ("Developing Ethical Leaders Through Action", 1990) The BSA strives to help enrich the lives of young people and make a difference in the kind of people they become. Since 1910, it has been the mission of the BSA to serve others by helping to install values in young people, to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime and achieve their full potential. Some more references: Maintaining BSA Standards "The Scout Oath and Law are not up for negotiation. Our values are not for sale." Text of this article from Scouting magazine, September 1992. can be found at: The Meaning of the Boy Scout Oath Excerpted: page 550-551, "The Boy Scout Handbook", can be found at: Some resources for instilling values in young people can be found at: ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: Is the BSA a public or private institution? Date: 4 July 2000 A. There are two entities to the BSA: The BSA traditional Scouting organization and the wholly owned subsidiary: Learning for Life/Exploring. A BSA Scouting unit (Pack, Troop, Post, etc.) is wholly owned and operated by its chartering organization. It is an extension of the chartering organization's youth program, and must comply with any policies or laws the chartering organization must comply with. BSA Councils are autonomous, private, non-profit organizations incorporated within the State they are headquartered. National BSA and GSUSA are private corporations established under Federal law (see US Code 36 Section 1101). The United States Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 that "The Boy Scouts is a private, not-for-profit organization engaged in instilling its system of values in young people." BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA AND MONMOUTH COUNCIL, et al., PETITIONERS v. JAMES DALE For more information, see the question on how the BSA is organized and the question 'Is the BSA, or their affiliates a place of public accommodation or a business establishment?' ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: What is the BSA position on homosexuality? Date: 8 Feb 2002 Q. What is the BSA position on homosexuality? A. It should be kept in mind that even though different people will relate the meaning of the BSA policy in different ways, it is important to stress that in Scouting, small groups of parents and community organizations across the country (chartering organizations), with a diversity of ideologies, will continue to choose leaders and in other ways deliver the Scouting program. As a community organization, we trust their judgment and hold all volunteers accountable to the highest standards of behavior. For the the relationship of community organizations and the BSA see: "We are an organization that is simply about helping young people = grow into caring, concerned, and responsible citizens. The issue of gay rights is larger than Scouting and is being debated = throughout our society with no immediate end in sight. We must keep our focus on today's young people and not let socio-political debate distract the community from serving children through Scouting." - From a Statment by Indianhead Council, MN Current BSA Position Statements are here Fiction vs. Fact - A quick reference developed to assist in dispelling commonly found inaccuracies regarding Scouting and the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Press Releases February 2002 BSA Board Affirms Traditional Leadership Standards June 28, 2000 Boy Scouts of America Sustained by United States Supreme = Court In Support of Values This message is provided to share some viewpoints about = recent media coverage and to communicate the standards and values of the = Boy Scouts of America. A collection of resources from the BSA that communicate the values of Scouting - including letters, articles, speeches, quick references, and a bimonthly newsletter. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: Has the BSA ever asked their membership if they want the Leadership policies? See the BSA publication: 'In Support of Values Research Edition' No. 02-593-1(01) It is online at: ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: What is the position of the people who say that it is OK to have gay members in the Boy Scouts of America? A: The following was compiled by a number of people who have taken the position that it is OK to have gay members in the Boy Scouts of America in this group. It is not ment to represent everyone who does not agree with the BSA policy. Question: Doesn't the Bible prohibit homosexuality? Answer: No. Read literally, the Bible says nothing about homosexual orientation, only about sex acts between men. And even there, it only prohibits certain kinds of sex acts, and only to Jews. The relevant passage is Leviticus 18:22 -- "Ve'et zachar lo tishkav mishkevey ishah to'evah hi." (And-(accusative-particle) male don't lay like-you-lay woman "to'evah" that) The word "to'evah" is the same word as in Deut 22:5, which prohibits women from wearing pants: " *toavat* Adonay Eloheycha..." (it's an abomination to the Lord your God) The rabbis interpret this as a prohibition of male-to-male anal intercourse, which they considered to be the only form of "laying a woman" that could be done to a man. Now there are other rabbinical strictures that evolved later, but the Biblical passage refers only to males, only to Jews, and only to anal sex. How do we know this is just to the Jews? Because Leviticus 18, like many other chapters, begins with boilerplate language that says just that: "Vayedaber Adonay el-Moshe lemor Daber el-beney Yisra'el ve'amarta alehem ..." (God spoke to Moses, telling him to Speak to the *Israelites*, and say to *them*:) But aren't these universal sexual morality for everyone? No. Three verses earlier is a sexual rule for heterosexuals that very few non-Jews obey: "Ve'el-ishah benidat tum'atah lo tikrav legalot ervatah" "And do not approach a woman who is taboo from her period; this is a sexual offense". (The taboo is described in Leviticus 15:25ff and covers the time of her menstruation and seven clean days thereafter.) It's hard to see the logic that says that Leviticus 18:22 should apply to everyone, but Leviticus 18:19 shouldn't! Now of course, particular religious denominations have both added restrictions and leniencies to these rules. For instance, most Orthodox rabbis rule that the prohibition of homosexual sex extends to B'nei Noach (everybody). But aside from the fact that there's no reason for the BSA to favor Biblical religions over others, there's certainly no reason to favor the extra restrictions of some denominations or to mock or disparage the leniencies of others! Question: Wasn't it unnecessary for the Scouts to have a policy against homosexuality in the past, since it was against the law, and there was a presumption that scouts and leaders should be law-abiding? Answer: No. Once again, the ambiguous use of the term "homosexuality" to refer both to orientation and to particular sexual acts creates this confusion. The law did not forbid homosexuality, but, like the Bible, only particular sex acts. And most such laws forbade oral and anal sex between opposite-sex partners as well as same-sex partners. Question: But doesn't allowing homosexuals to lead scout troops set a bad example? Why wouldn't they teach by their mere presence that homosexual sex is condoned? Answer: There are two answers. First of all, Boy Scouts hire leaders who do all kinds of things, and provided they don't do them in front of scouts, it's not treated as any kind of endorsement. This would include gamblers, drinkers, smokers, divorced people, and so forth. They are allowed to have their private vices, and even to avow them (e.g. let it be known publically outside of scouting that they are smokers) so long as they don't model them for the boys (e.g. smoking at an event). The fact that this argument is used only for homosexuals smacks of a double standard. Secondly, let us return to the distinction between orientation and sexual behavior. Even if the troop acknowledges that the sexual behavior is wrong (which we have seen in another discussion is not universally held, only in some religions), we are forbidden to presume that a person of homosexual orientation is actually engaging in improper sexual activity. A fortiori, we are forbidden to presume that he is recommending it to the boys. This is both wrong and hypocritical. After all, most unmarried heterosexual men engage in improper sexual activity, and most boys in scouting know or suspect this. Does this mean that we should have a rule banning unmarried men from serving as scout leaders because their presence teaches that premarital sex is proper? Once again, we have a double standard, and also a violation of the basic principle of not stereotyping one's fellow. In fact, this principle *is* not only an American principle, but it is also in the Scout Law and in the Bible. Where in the Scout Law? From A Scout is Friendly, Lowell writes: "... No matter how strange, or how barbarous, or how absurd the conduct of another person may appear, it is the duty of every broad-minded man to put himself in that other's place sufficiently to understand with his own imagination what the other's actions mean from that other's point of view. This breadth of mind is necessary if we want to form true judgements and to be just in interpreting the acts of other people, and it is part of the intelligence of which we have just been speaking as necessary 'to help other people at all times.'" Where in the Bible? Right in the center of Torah. The Book of Leviticus, chapter 19 verse 15 ends with "b'tsedek tishpot amitecha", which means "in righteousness judge your people". This verse is interpreted by the rabbis to mean that you should give people the benefit of the doubt. It is the foundation of the modern presumption of innocence. Here is a summary of the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim (famous commentator on the laws of improper speech, among other things) on that principle: "If one sees a person what said or did something, whether something Bein Adam L'Makom (between man and G-d) or Bein Adam L'chaveiro (between man and fellow man), and it's possible to judge the speech or action favorably and give the benefit of the doubt, if the person is a 'yirei Elokim' (sincerely G-d fearing individual), we are obligated to judge him favorably even if the action in question is more logically interpreted negatively. "If the person is a 'beinoni' (average person) in that he is generally careful to avoid sin yet on occasion falters, and the doubt could be equally interpreted favorably or unfavorably, one is obligated to follow the favorable judgement. This fulfills what our Sages say, that one who jugdes his fellow favorably will receive favorable judgement from G-d; he also upholds the commandment (Lev. 19:15), 'Judge your fellow people righteously.' Even if the speech or action seems more likely to have a negative judgement as its interpretation, it is proper that the matter should be considered a doubt, and not as a definitive, negative evaluation." This principle applies a fortiori to the case where one doesn't see a person say or do anything, but merely learns that he is in some category of people.
Jan 31, 2001 Subject: Where does it say that the BSA feels that sex belongs in marriage? The Boy Scout Handbook deals with sex and marriage on pages 376 and 377 of the current edition. eleventh edition, 1998 printing. The message is very = clear. Sex belongs within marriage. Also, see the Family Life Merit Badge booklet, specifically pages 32-33. View the Youth Protection video for Venturers.
Jan 31, 2001 Subject: I thought the BSA did not teach about sex, why should it make any difference if the Scoutmaster lives a lifestyle that some do not consider sexually moral? The Scoutmaster Handbook states: Page 132, Chpter 11: "Scoutmasters should keep in mind that boys should learn about sex from their parents, guardians, or others empowered by their families to guide them. No Scoutmaster should undertake to teach Scouts, in any formalized manner, about sexual behavior. If a Scout comes to you with questions of a sexual nature, answer them as honestly as you can, and whereever appropriate, encourage him to share his concerns with his parents or guardian, spiritual leader, or a medical expert." This says to answer any questions of this type as "honesty as you can" and then, wherever appropriate, encourage the Scout to share his concerns with a parent or other appropriate person. In the Boy Scout Handbook at the bottom of page of 377 the Scout is encouraged to talk to Scout leaders (among others) on questions about growing up, about relationships or about sex. ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: What is the BSA position on girls in Scouting? Date: 16 Sept 1998 Q. What is the BSA position on girls in Scouting? A. The BSA is a coed organization with some single gender programs and some mixed gender programs. Coed programs include: Learning for Life (all school aged youth), Exploring (14-20), Sea Scouting (14-20), and Venture Scouting (14-20). Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Varsity are for young men. Adult Leadership positions in all programs are open to both genders. From a BSA Position Statement issued 6/6/91: The Boy Scouts of America is chartered by Congress " promote... the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues..." The Girl Scouts, U.S.A., operates under a similar Congressional charter for the benefit of girls. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were designed to meet the emotional, psychological, physical and other needs of boys between the ages of 8 and 14. Boys in this age range seek out and enjoy group activities with other boys. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were carefully developed with these considerations in mind. The Exploring program, however, is designed to provide a variety of programs for both boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 21. Approximately 40% of the nation's more than one million Explorers are female. There are no plans to restructure Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to allow for the registration of girls. JSsd 6/6/91 Doyle, Kevin Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:38:12 -1000 xxx was able to recall enough of the discussion where he heard about the possibility of a BSA task force of co-ed Cub Scouting (thanks, xxx) for me to go back to the source (a Philmont Training Center discussion group Q&A) and get the scoop. I spoke with Rick Williamson, director of BSA's Cub Scouting division and here's what I learned: There is no task force or committee currently looking into, or studying, co-ed Cub Scouting. The National Cub Scout Committee does have, as part of its long-range plan, a plan to establish a task force in 2002 to look at Cub Scouting and the family to see if we are meeting their needs. This may involve changing our program to better accommodate family needs. One of the recommendations may or may not be that we need to be co-educational to better meet the needs of the family. There could be a lot of other changes or no changes recommended at all. Whether or not that is even an issue will be determined by the Family Needs Task Force in the year 2002. As most of you are aware, the National Cub Scout Committee regularly uses task forces to look at all aspects of the Cub Scouting program to see if Cub Scouting is meeting current needs. These have included task forces on uniforming, advancement, CS Trainer wood badge, camping, etc. The task force on family needs will provide a welcome assessment of how we are doing in this area and recommendations for doing better. Kevin Doyle Aloha Council ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: What is the position of the BSA as related to God and religion? Date: 8 Feb 2002 The BSA owns two organizations: Learning for Life/Exploring and the BSA traditional Scouting programs. Learning for Life/Exploring holds all of the vocational training programs within the BSA effective August 1, 1998 (e.g., Law Explorer Posts) as well as its program for school aged youth. There are no youth requirements in Learning for Life/Exploring (LFL) pertaining to God and religion. Leadership criteria in LFL/Exploring is set by the chartering organization. Learning for Life/Exploring participants are not required to adhere to BSA membership requirements. For more information on Exploring, see: The following policy is for members of the BSA, that is the participants of programs within the BSA Scouting organization: Cubs, Scouts, Sea Scouts, Varsity & Venturing. A Press Release in Feb of 2002 the BSA Executive Board stated: “In affirming its existing standards of leadership, the board also=20 agreed that duty to God is not a mere ideal for those choosing to associate with the Boy Scouts of America; it is an obligation, which has defined good character throughout the BSA's 92-year history.“ -BSA Board Affirms Traditional Leadership Standards Note that the BSA does not define what constitutes belief in God, but does define what Duty to God is. From the Bedrock of Scouting Values Speech "The bedrock of Scouting's values is literally and figuratively ... duty to God .... "On my honor, I will do my duty to God and my country ..." To Scouting, the question is NOT: Can a person be honorable without a belief in God? Rather, our commitment is that no child can develop to his/her fullest potential without a spiritual element. The Boy Scouts of America is not a religion ... it is an organization with strong religious tenets. It is a movement that is committed to developing the entire child ... spirituality is very important in that total development. That is why we hold to duty to God. Whether it is the Judeo-Christian ethic; or a Buddhist, Protestant, Mormon, Catholic, or Native American ethic; or that of any of the other great religions of our world, the Boy Scouts of America is committed to the proposition that no child can develop to his/her fullest potential without a spiritual element in his/her life. In looking ahead to their adult years, Scouting is in accord = with the teachings of the world's great religions and is committed to the concept that sexual intimacy is the providence of a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage. Also, consistent with the world's great religions, the Boy = Scouts of America is committed to respecting the dignity of individuals or values with which we disagree. In four places in the Scout Oath and Law .... when you read the descriptive terms ... you will find comments related to respect. But, respect doesn't mean abdication of one's values. Nor does it mean the forced inclusion of others' values in your life. What it does mean is the recognition of the right of people to have opinions, values, and lifestyles other than yours and for all to be tolerant of each other's differences. When the Boy Scouts won the United States Supreme Court case, you didn't see us "celebrating in the street." The issue was not to vanquish a young man who is an inappropriate leader within Scouting. The issue was the maintenance of our constitutional right and our commitment to providing those faith-based values to our constituency in a respectful manner. Scouting has never sought to impose its values on anyone. We = welcome all who share them, and we respect the right of others to walk a different path. We don't expect everybody to agree with our standards and values ... but we do think it's fair to expect others to respect them." From the BSA National Executive Board, June 12, 1991: Reaffirmation of the Position of the Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God. Be it resolved that the following reaffirmation of the position of = the Boy Scouts of America relating to the duty to God be, and hereby is, enacted that the bylaws, rules and regulations, and literature of = the Corporation reflect this reaffirmation accordingly. In 1985, America celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Since 1910, eighty million Americans have subscribed to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, which have stood the test of time. The National Executive Board of the BSA proudly states, through its mission statement, that the values which the organization strives to instill in young people are those based upon the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. A Scout pledges: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law...." The first Boy Scouts of America *Handbook for Boys*, published in August 1911, declares that " boy can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God." (page 215) The latest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, published in 1990, reads: "A scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others." (page 561) While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God. The following statements are additional information on the BSA position: The Boy Scouts of America has always been committed to the moral, ethical, and spiritual development of our youth. Scouting is not a religion, but duty to God is a basic tenet of the Scout Oath and Law. Scouting does not seek to impose its beliefs upon others who do not share them. Virtually every religion is represented in Scouting, and the BSA does not define or interpret God. That is the role of the Scout's family and religious advisors. Scouting respects those who do not share its beliefs and it would not ask others to alter their faith in any fashion in order to become Scouts. They too are free to follow their own beliefs. Rather, the BSA membership believes that the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are central to the BSA goal of teaching the values of self-reliance, courage, integrity, and consideration to others. Scouting may not be for everyone, but for eight decades, Scouting has provided meaningful programs and adventure to more than eighty million young people in the United States. [end of letter] For more information on BSA organization's leadership requirements see: The Cub Scout Leader Book and The Troop Committee Guidebook The BSA organization teaches Scouts that the First Amendment religious liberty principles are our national "ground rules" for living with our deepest differences. Scouts are taught the "3Rs" of religious liberty -- rights, responsibilities, and respect. What it means to recognize that everyone has the inalienable right of religious liberty. Why is it important that citizens take responsibility for guarding that right for all others, even those with whom they disagree. And how we can learn to debate our differences with civility and respect. The BSA organization is a member of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). The BSA holds to the fundamental principles of the movement. Duty to God is a Fundamental Principle of the WOSM (see below for more on the WOSM). The WOSM has testified at = court cases in the United States in support of the BSA (see Walsh vs. BSA). The Learning for Life/Exploring subsidiary does not have any restriction in this area for youth, or adult leaders. Leadership criteria in = LFL/Exploring is set by the chartering organization. Youth are considered participants and not members. A history of the BSA on this point can be found at: Recent press releases from the BSA on this subject can be found here: There are a number of organizations who take issue with the BSA policy. Some information on their positions can be found at: There are a number of organizations who agree with the BSA policy. Some information on their positions can be found at: The Claremont Institute The War on the Boy Scouts Concerned Women for America National Review ---------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: What is the Declaration of Religious Principles (DRP)? Date: 31 Oct 2002 The BSA owns two organizations: Learning for Life/Exploring and the traditional BSA Scouting programs. The following policy pertains only to leaders in the BSA Scouting programs (not Learning for Life/Exploring), that is the leaders within the BSA Scouting organization: Cubs, Scouts, Sea Scouts, Varsity & Venturing. The Declaration of Religious Principles (DRP) is a term used to describe the BSA policies and definitions surrounding religion. It is a definite position on religious principles. The DRP was first published in the original Boy Scout Handbook in 1911 and written by John Alexander (see the chapter on Chivalry). The following excerpt of the DRP is taken from the Adult Application: The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America's policy is that home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principles and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership. When an adult leader signs the adult leader application they declare that they subscribe to the DRP. The DRP is printed prominently on the top of the instruction page in the adult leader application and is also on the youth applications. The full DRP can be found in the BSA Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee Guide and the Cub Scout Leader Book. The DRP section of the bylaws date back to the founding days of the BSA and was printed in the 1911 Boy Scout Handbook. Youth members of the organization are not asked to understand or subscribe to the DRP. Parents are advised on the Youth application that the leadership is restricted to qualified adults who subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. The BSA recognizes the importance of religious faith and duty: it leaves religious instruction to the member's religious leaders and family. Members who do not belong to a unit's religious chartered organization shall not be required to participate in its religious activities. Note the following while reading the DRP: The DRP does not require nor forbid a belief in a Supreme Being. The DRP does not talk about being a 1st class or 2nd class citizen, it talks about the quality of citizenship a member can obtain. The BSA does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion.* The BSA does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages, membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a church, synagogue, or other religious association.* The BSA respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious organizations. Scouting believes in the right of all to worship God in their own way.* Throughout life Scouts are associated with people of different faiths. Scouts believe in religious freedom, respecting others whose religion may differ from theirs.* (* indicates this is taken from further notes on the DRP in the BSA Advancement Policies and Procedures Committee = Guide)
Subject: I hear the US Government gives away valuable land and material to the BSA, is this true? Date: 12 Feb 2002 Q. I hear the US Government gives away valuable land and material to the BSA, is this true? A. As of this date, BSA receives no Government grants. Some federal agencies may allow the use of, donate, or sell different assets to nonprofit organizations: Federal land used by BSA for camps: Some Federal agencies may allow nonprofit organizations to use public land for camps as long as such nonprofit organizations are willing to perform services, as directed by the agency that will yield a valuable benefit to the public. (ref: 16 USC Sec. 539f) Gift or Sale of obsolete or excess material: Certain agencies may give or sell obsolete or excess material to and to any public body or private nonprofit organization. Sales under these sections shall be at fair value to the agency, including packing, handling, and transportation. (ref: 14 USC Sec. 641)
Subject: Can a BSA Scout participate in a Political Event Date: 8/4/00 The question of Scouts at a political event comes up every time there are campaigns. My understanding is that the policy is that it is OK for Scouts=20 to perform patriotic duties (like a flag ceremony) at a political campaign, but they=20 cannot be seen endorsing a candidate or handing out political fliers. Scouts are often seen with candidates of all political parties performing flag ceremonies. They should not be seen cheering on the candidate. The policy is: Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Art. IX, =A72, cl. 2 and 6: clause 2. "The officers and leaders of the Boy Scouts of America shall, when praciticable, cooperate in connection with civic or other public gatherings of a nonpartisan and nonpolitical character which gives Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Explorers [Ventures] an opportunity to render service in harmony with their training instead of merely taking part in parades or making a show of themselves in their uniforms." clause 6. " The Boy Scouts of America shall not, through its governing body or through any of its officers, its chartered Councils, or members, involve the Scouting movement in any question of a political character. However, this shall not be interpreted to prevent the teaching of patrotism and good citizenship as required to fulfill the Corporation's purpose. This policy shall also not limit the freedom of thought or action of any official or member as an individual." Cub Scout Leader's Manual: Chapter 7: Uniform Rules and Regulations "The uniform may not be worn by either Cub Scouts or adult leaders when: Involved in any distinctly political endeavor."
Subject: Does the BSA prevent Unitarian Universalists from becoming Scouts? Date: 21 May 1999 There are no specific restrictions on Unitarian Universalists becoming Scouts in the BSA. Unitarian congregations can still sponsor units if they feel their aims and purposes are compatible with ours, and Unitarian boys are welcome to join troops. There is a controversy surrounding the wearing of the UUA religious emblem with the BSA uniform. Although it has been reported by the UUA and = BSA representatives that this controversy had been resolved there seems to be a disagreement about the terms of the resolution. The UUA feels that both sides agreed to removing the offending material from the handbook and including a separate set documents with different wording. A letter was sent to the UUA from the BSA Religious Relationship Committee (and published by the = UUA at their web site) as follows:" May 7, 1999 Dear Dr. Buehrens: It has come to our attention that you have posted on the UUA web site a letter of April 28, 1999, in which you state that the UUA has revised its "Religion in Life" manual to the satisfaction of the Boy Scouts of America, referring to a letter of April 23 from Thomas Deimler of the BSA. Your letter goes on to say the following: "The new edition of Religion in Life will be available from the UUA Bookstore this summer. Along with each copy , the Association will separately provide a letter from me, along with resources appropriate to dealing with issues of homophobia and religious discrimination." Unfortunately, this simply reopens the entire issue of using boys as a venue to air your differences with the policies of the Boy Scouts of America. These circumstances were not contemplated when Mr. Deimler wrote his letter. Therefore, Boy Scouts of America is not in a position to authorize the awarding of the Religion in Life emblem to Scouts and the wearing of that emblem on a Scout uniform. Sincerely yours, Lawrence Ray Smith, Chairman Religious Relationships Committee The 1999 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association adopted a resolution encouraging UUs to join Scouting, supporting UUs who remain in Scouting, and supporting UU churches which sponsor Scout units. See The resolution also calls on Unitarian Universalists to work for changes in BSA policies. More information and the UUA response may be found at: The BSA web site is:
Subject: Is the GSUSA part of the WOSM? Date: 27 April 1996 Q. Is the GSUSA part of the WOSM? A. No, the GSUSA is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) For more information, see: The WAGGGS Web page at: = The GSUSA Web page at: =
Subject: What is the purpose of GSUSA Girl Scouting? The purpose of girl Scouting is to inspire girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism, and service that they may become happy and resourceful citizens. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What are the requirements for membership in GSUSA Girl Scouting? Girl Scouting is open to girls between the ages of 5 and 17, and to men and women over the ae of 18, who make the Girl Scout Promise, accept the Girl Scout Law, and pay annual membership dues. These are the only requirements for membership. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is GSUSA's position on men in Girl Scouting? The Girl Scout organization does not discriminate. Every volunteer and staff position in Girl Scouting is open to men as well as women. Because we believe that female role models are especially important to young girls during their developing years, men working directly with girls are asked to serve as part of a leadership team that includes women. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is GSUSA's position on Boys in GSUSA Girl Scouting? Girl Scouting exists only to serve girls. Our eighty years of experience show that girls have unique needs and interests that are best met in a program designed especially for them, delivered in an all-girl setting. A great deal of research supports this conviction. We recognize that boys have unique needs and interests a well, which are addressed by organizations designed to meet their specific needs. It should be noted that Boy Scouts of America is a totally separate organization from Girl Scoiuts of the U.S.A. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is GSUSA's position on lesbians in Girl Scouting? The Girl Scout organization does not discriminate, but we do not endorse any particular lifestyle and do not recruit lesbians as a group. We do not permit sexual displays of any sort by our members. We do not permit theadvocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation. These are private matters for girls and their families to address. Girl Scout volunteers and staff must at = all times serve as appropriate role models for girls. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is the position of the GSUSA as related to God and religion? Date: 27 April 1996 Q. What is the position of the GSUSA as related to God and religion? A. Adopted at the GSUSA National Conference, 20-25 October, 1993: "THAT, since the Girl Scout organization makes no attempt to interpret or define the word 'God' but encourages members to establish = for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs, it is the = policy of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. that individuals when making the = Girl Scout Promise may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word 'God'." Stated explanation for policy change: "For some individuals, the word 'God', no matter how broadly interpreted, does not appropriately reflect their spiritual = beliefs. Since the belief in a spiritual principle is fundamental to = Girl Scouting, not the word used to define that belief, it is = important that individuals have the opportunity to express that belief in = wording meaningful to them. It is essential to maintain the spiritual foundation of Girl Scouting, yet be inclusive of the full range of spiritual beliefs. This [policy change] does not take the word 'God' out of the Girl Scout = Promise. It gives those individuals who wish to do so the option to state = their commitment to the spiritual concepts fundamental to the = Movement with a word or words more appropriate to their own beliefs. For = instance, an individual may say 'my faith' or 'Allah' or 'the Creator'." --------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject; What is GSUSA's position on atheists in GSUSA Girl Scouting? The Girl Scout organization does not endorse = or promote any particular philosophy or religious = belief. Our movement is nonsectarian, founded on American democratic = principles, one of which is freedom of religion. Each = individual decides if she or he can meet our membership = requirements, which include making the Girl Scout Promise. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is GSUSA's position on the wording used in the Girl = Scout Promise? The Girl Scout promise is always written as follows: On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law. The Girl Scouts provide flexibility in speaking the Girl Scout promise. An individual member may use the word or words for "God" that best reflect her own individual spiritual beliefs. The Girl Scouts believe that freedom of religion is a fundamental American right. While we believe the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, we do not atempt to dictate the form or style of a member's worship. In the event that a girl chooses what appeas to be inappropriate wording for "God", the Girl Scout troop leader, in conjunction with the girl's family, will help the girl find a substitute word or words. Flexibility in the Promise can empower girls to more closely examine their own spiritual beliefs and motivate them to discuss these matters with their families. The way in which a girl fulfills her beliefs is a matter for her to decide with her family and is not interpreted or defined by the Girl Scout organization. From: the GSUSA book "What We Stand For".
Subject: What is GSUSA's position on boys in the organization? "Girl Scouting exists only to serve girls. Our more than eighty years of experience show that girls have unique needs & interests that are best met in a program designed especially for them, delivered in an all girl setting." From:
Subject: I heard most United Ways Have Dropped BSA funding, is it true? Date: 23 Oct 2002 There are a number of lists of United Way agencies that are said to not support the BSA being circulated around the Internet. Political interest groups of either conservative or liberal orientation are using these lists to communicate a message slanted to their agenda. Almost all of these lists are inaccurate. The United Way is a system of 1,400 separately incorporated, independent organizations. Each raises money in an annual fund-raising campaign and allocates funds to local health and human service agencies. During the height of the homosexual policy controversy in the United States (1999-2001) and with a lot of pressure from homosexual political advocacy groups, a very, very small number of United Ways, about 40 of the 1,040 agencies (approx. 3 percent), announced that they were removing funding from BSA traditional Scouting operations. However, the majority of the BSA's funding from United Ways already didn't go to the BSA traditional Scouting operation but rather to the "other programs" the BSA Councils conduct to fund at-risk,special needs, handicapped, and in-school programs...most of which fall under the Learning for Life umbrella now. It should not be surprising then to find that out of the 40 or so United Ways that announced they did not support the BSA over half continue to support the BSA Learning for Life program or have resumed simply donating funds to their local councils to be used as the local councils see fit. This leaves approximately 1 percent of the independent United Way agencies not supporting the BSA in any way. As you can see, we are talking about very small numbers here. Related sites:
Subject: What is the position of the WOSM as related to God and religion? Date: 7 Feb 2000 A. Duty to God is a Fundamental Principle of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). When we talk about an Oath or Promise must have Duty to God as a requirement for WOSM membership, we must do so in context of the WOSM requirement. Unless otherwise stated, single quotes indicate quotes from the pamphlet Fundamental Principles by WOSM (see below) and double quotes indicate quotes from Chapter 1 of the Constitution of WOSM. 'The principles are the fundamental laws and beliefs which must be observed when achieving the purpose (of the Scout Movement). They represent a code of conduct which characterizes all members of the Movement. Scouting is based upon three broad principles which represent its fundamental laws and beliefs. They are referred to as "Duty to God", "Duty to others" and "Duty to self". As their names indicate, the first refers to a person's relationship with the spiritual values of life; the second, to a person's relationship with society in the broadest sense of the term; and the third, to a person's obligations towards himself.' "Duty to God" "...adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom." Note that the body text does not use the word God. In that way, (the WOSM feels) the clause covers religions which are non-monotheistic, such as Hinduism, or those which do not recognize a personal God, such as Buddhism. 'The above-mentioned principles relating to the spiritual, social and personal dimensions constitute the fundamental laws and beliefs upon which Scouting rests. Consequently, the program of all Scout associations must provide maximum opportunities for the growth of young people on the basis of these principles....the promises and laws of national associations, when first drafted and whenever modified, are subject to the approval of the World Organization.' The Fundamental Principles of the WOSM
Subject: I heard Wiccan's can't be BSA Scouts, is it true? Date: 31 Oct 2002 There are Wiccans in the BSA and there are Wiccan Scouts. There is not a recognized national religious emblem for Wicca. The reason, according to BSA spokesman Gregg Shields, to is: "religious emblems = are the property of approved religious scouting organizations and are awarded at their own discretion. For example, he said the National Catholic Council on Scouting and the National Jewish Committee on Scouting each have their own unique religious emblem." "There is no national Wiccan organization," Shields said. "So, that's why there is no religious award for Wiccans." "He encouraged any Wiccan group that would like to charter a troop in their community to submit an application to their local BSA council for consideration." Michael L. Betsch, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2002
Subject: Are there any councils that ignore BSA policies? Date: 14 June 2003 As of this date there are no councils that ignore BSA policies. All councils must agree each year to follow and enforce BSA policies when they renew their contracts with the BSA. ------------------------------ End of rec.scouting.issues FAQ ************************** _________________________________________________________________ STOP MORE SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*

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