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 Post subject: HELP!!! Need quick advice.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:21 pm 
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My son (7 years old) has been recruited by the boy scouts. This was done DURING school time and without our prior permission. They promised all kinds of fun for "cents a day". SO naturally our son wants to join.

I abhor the scouts because they do not allow homosexuals, athiests or agnostics join. During the application process we would even be required to swear to uphold the religious declaration...


By the way, we are ATHEISTS!!! And my son is as well.

He has a membership meeting in 40 minutes.

What would you guys advise?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:39 pm 
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I thought you were going to home school him. Is this a summer program he's in? Schools here started yesterday, but I don't know if the Scouts have gotten in the doors yet.

BUT in this instance I would simply explain to him that the Scouts isn't the best organization for him and be truthful as to why.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Many of my favorite memories are from my years of scouting. Lessons learned have saved my life more than once, I used to be an adventurer.

The choice is yours. Do you want your sone to get the most out of his childhood? Or satisfy your political codes that he neither understands or cares about. I'm sure he just wants to have some fun.

I'm sorry the BSA does not endorse the grinding of pre-pubescent genitals. I have no idea why parents would approve of their policy.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:46 pm 
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PT, I value your opinions quite a bit but I think you are being a bit unreasonable here. I didn't say anything about wanting to make sure kids get to grind genitals and most homosexuals don't just wander around trying to grind genitals with everyone they see of their chosen sex. How very uncharacteristic a remark that was and I find it to be, frankly, blatantly homophobic.

I have a problem with an organization that refuses membership to some because of personal traits. I would like to be as nondiscriminatory as I can while raising my son and having him join an organization that requires behavior like this is wrong:
Quote:
The Boy Scouts of America's position is that atheists and agnostics cannot participate as Scouts (youth members) or Scouters (adult leaders). According to the Bylaws of the BSA, Declaration of Religious Principle:

"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.* In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."[2]

During the membership application process and as a requirement to obtain membership, youths and adults are required to subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to agree to abide by the Scout Oath and Law, which include the words, "do my duty to God" and "reverent". *Youths are also required to repeat the Scout Oath and Law periodically after being accepted as Scouts. The BSA believes that atheists and agnostics are not appropriate role models of the Scout Oath and Law for boys, and thus will not accept such adults as leaders.
---
Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts ... troversies
*emphasis mine.
I got this from WIki, but I also when directly to the BSA site and got the exact same info from there.

Also. The things that you call my political codes have nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Its about what I consider right and wrong. While I consider it wrong to believe in god, I do, however, make efforts to have friends that do believe in god, as belief in god is not on the application for my friendship; same goes with homosexuality.

Considering that we are a family of atheists, who happens to have friends of both heterosexual and homosexual persuasions makes it difficult for me to condone a organizational relationship that makes rules, as part of its membership qualifications, that if you are gay or if you don't believe in god you cannot be of their group.

Having fun and remaining part of the same bigoted status quo of this world are too different things. As you well know, scouting is a huge deal and takes up large amounts of time. Seeing as how my son is my own, I believe it is my right and responsibility to provide him with a sound moral upbringing. One that doesn't preach the belief in magical creatures granting wishes and one that doesn't just not allow someone in the "group" because they may or may not like the same sex. Luckily, as his parent I get to chose, just as you, if you have children, may chose to teach them to believe in magical creatures that grant wishes.

I apologize for being on my soap box about this and I not wish to lose your camaraderie. But I also am constantly being assailed because I dare not believe in God and I am sick and tired of it. The things I teach my son are on a level that he can understand. He knows what a homosexual is and doesn't care at all. Same goes for an atheist, theist or agnostic. He's not stupid and I don't condescend him when I speak to him.

Catherine, cutting off my finger the day before school was to start here kinda threw my plans off track and mostly I've been in recovery mode for a while now. I am getting more able to function daily now and I have given the promise that I would let him try until the end of august (by the way, they started on Aug 8th). So we have another week to go and then we will have a family meeting to make the best decision possible for us all. [/code][/quote]

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:45 am 
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Quote:
Catherine, cutting off my finger the day before school was to start here kinda threw my plans off track and mostly I've been in recovery mode for a while now. I am getting more able to function daily now and I have given the promise that I would let him try until the end of august (by the way, they started on Aug 8th). So we have another week to go and then we will have a family meeting to make the best decision possible for us all


I tend to forget that some states start school much earlier than do the schools around here. I hope your finger is getting better, too. What did you do about the Scout meeting last evening?

I still believe that honest communication with children is so necessary to their sense of security and well-being. While I don't advocate giving them more information than they ask for at the age of 7, your son seems like a bright little boy. I know that you have described some of the stupidity that has gone on at his school in the past year and how aware of it he seemed to be. Based on what he already knows about your family's social and religious beliefs, he should be able to mesh the resistence you have to the Boy Scouts with those beliefs. You'll know if he's understanding it or if he's puzzled.

Probably the most difficult aspect of living where you do for your son is going to be your family's views on religion, which echo my own beliefs. The FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) might have some good advice for you.

Freedom From Religion

One of the books you can order from that site is entitled Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children by Dan Barker.
Just Pretend encourages kids ages 6-12 to apply the tests of reason to any idea, fairy tale, myth or religion.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:51 am 
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Thank you so much for the idea of the book! What a great idea. I'll be ordering it immediately.

And thanks for listening to all my moans and groans lately.

Luckily, my son is super bright and he does understand a lot. But I never give him too much info and stop when his questions stop (and sometimes before...he's asked what sex is-cuz you hear the word EVERYWHERE...and I explained it was how babies were made... He didn't ask anything else-HOORAY. But then the other day he did ask me how exactly you get pregnant...I totally flaked and sorta just said we'd have to talk about it later. And he said the most hilarious thing "its ok if its too inappropriate for me to know about yet mommy." See, this is how clever he is!) Sorry for the diarrhea of the fingers here (too much typing)...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:50 pm 
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I think the response into the BSA thing should simply be: "Sorry, not at this time. We've got other things we'd like our kid to pursue. But thanks anyway."

Not sure about your kid, but it seems kids can be easily swayed not to join this or that after a bit of talking. You probably don't have to go into your valid social reasons. You might share a local parks and rec schedule with him and see if there's anything else he'd like to try.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:52 pm 
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Great idea, CZ!

Did a bit of searching around for alternatives to scouting and found a few diamonds among the glass:

Why this mama bear's cub can't be a scout

Quote:
Regular readers of my blog know that I lead a very active and ambitious troop of Brownies. Since moving to Connecticut, Girl Scouting has provided me with a place to learn, stretch, grow and create. I have been pleased and privileged to become part of a group of women who, each in her own way, is seeking to guide girls along their paths to enlightened adulthood. For my troop, that has sometimes meant sharing my own world views and teaching some fairly challenging vocabulary for second graders –- words like "tolerance" and "diversity."

And therein lies the rub.

You see, although Jonah is only three now, eventually he's going to head off to first grade, and he's going to be recruited by the Boy Scouts, which is huge in my town. He's going to come home with a piece of paper and ask "Can I join?" Or his best friend is going to sign up and invite him to come, too. Or someone is going to know about my success in Girl Scouts and ask me to be a den mother.

The answer to all of those requests is a polite but resolute "No."

The motto of Girl Scouts of the USA is "Every Girl, Everywhere." On the other hand, the Boy Scouts of the USA have chosen to bar homosexual boys and men from participating, and have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to be allowed to continue this policy. Shockingly, or perhaps not so, depending on your point of view, the Supreme Court supported the Boy Scouts and they remain an exclusionary organization.

This policy -- which would be universally decried if the word "homosexual" were instead "African-American," "Jewish," "Democrat," or even "fat," and which, in my opinion, serves to perpetuate and institutionalize the negative and incorrect public perception of a correlation between homosexuality and pedophelia -- makes it utterly impossible for me and my family to support their activities.

So, eventually, we're going to have to explain a difference in policy to our children concerning their extracurricular activities. Emily may well grow up to become a Gold Award Girl Scout, but Jonah is going to have to stick to other things, at least until the Boy Scouts open their arms to every boy and man who wants to participate in their very fine and worthwhile program.

I hope that, in the next three years, for my son's sake, for other mothers' sons' sakes, and for the sake of what is right and just, they do just that
.



The above site really stood out for me because my sister-in-law, who is one of my best friends and one of the most liberal-minded women I know, has been involved with Girl Scouts for eons. I can't see her ever getting involved with any organization like the Boy Scouts. Their philosophies are so different from the GS.

__________________________________

SCOUT'S HONOR

Quote:
Dissociating from Discrimination:
Public entities, organizations, and corporations choosing to teach respect for all kids

Ever since James Dale first challenged the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for his expulsion, Americans have expressed their outrage at BSA's prejudiced policy. In the time since the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled that the Scouts have a right to discriminate, the public reaction has only grown stronger. Scores of religious organizations, corporations, schools and others have stopped sponsoring, funding, and giving special treatment to BSA; many more have publicly called on BSA to end its discriminatory practices. The following is a list of some of those who have stood up and opposed the Scouts' policy, both before and since the Supreme Court decision
.

_____________________________

[url=http://ffrf.org/timely/bsa.php]Boy Scouts Of America Practices Discrimination
[/url]

LINK TO ALTERNATIVE THOUGHT PROCESSES AND PHILOSOPHIES

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:35 am 
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Lefty, I would love to hear how you handled this. Alternative activities where your son can be with people his age and enjoy friendships are a great idea. Do you live in a city? Country kids can join 4H and generally enjoy the programs.

As for talking about sex, can you visit a Planned Parenthood office and pick up age appropriate information on how to talk with your son when the time comes? We had those materials when I was with Planned Parenthood and we loved to have people take an interest in being there for their children on such matters. In fact, we had people who put on programs--my own girl scout troop made their own badges in 'families' and the PP educator put on several meetings talking with girls and their mothers about sexuality. The mothers were very enthusiastic after going into it with grave doubts. It was a great program, and branched out to other programs for boys also.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:48 am 
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I wish boyscouts were anything like girl scouts. It would have been an easier decision.
We mostly just told him that we are an inclusive family and we don't want to teach exclusiveness or encourage it by supporting a group that teaches exclusiveness. He actually understood, though was sad about not getting to do the "camping". He's very intelligent and completely understands about inclusive and exclusive. We live in the south. My son and I are white and my husband is black. The school he attends is about 80% black. He is an inclusive kinda kid and didn't like the idea of a group that didn't let anyone who wanted to to join. (that's pretty much how we explained it to him; though we did use the words inclusive and exclusive because he understands language and we want him to be prepared for other times when he will have to make these decisions when we are not around to help.)
There is one planned parenthood here in Ms (wow, aren't you surprised there isn't one in every city! We do have an alarmingly high "unplanned pregnancy rate" around here...). It is in Hattiesburg, MS which is about 3 - 3.5 hours away from my house.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:37 pm 
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Your son is an athiest, he can't join. Problem solved. There isn't one. :roll:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:47 am 
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Lefty, you are a great Mom! Your son is so fortunate.

Being exclusive is what I didn't like about this area. In the days when I moved here, if you weren't related to everyone else you were not welcome. I hope it isn't like that now, lots of new people around, but it was then and as a child it hurt a lot.

I like that your son already knows what inclusive and exclusive are, and he choose to not join a group that doesn't welcome everyone. He already shows better judgement than most adults.

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