News: Atheist Scout given a week to declare belief

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Baptist Believer, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
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    Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert has earned 37 merit badges, worked more than 1,000 hours of community service and helps lead a Boy Scout troop in his hometown.

    But the 19-year-old has another distinction that may lead to his removal from the Boy Scouts: He's an atheist.

    Last week, Lambert was given roughly a week by the Boy Scouts' regional executive to declare belief in a supreme being and comply with Boy Scout policy, or quit the Scouts.

    http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/West/10/31/atheist.scout.ap/index.html

    [ November 19, 2002, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: The Squire ]
     
  2. stubbornkelly

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    So, is the thumbs down because the kid's an atheist, or because he stands to be kicked out of the scouts because of it? Maybe both?
     
  3. Baptist Believer

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    While I'm not thrilled about him being an atheist, the thumbs down is for the way the scouts are trying to compell him to acknowledge a supreme being. They aren't very picky either... "Mother Nature" would be fine.

    This whole mess is sub-Christian.
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    This is a private orginazation and can make any kind of exclusion they want. Surely this kid knew what he was getting into before he joined and did all of this work. If he is unhappy with the rules, perhaps he should quit and form his own group which can be more inclusive and see if it is more successful than the scouts. My guess is that it would be a flop which would simply end up looking for government hand-outs.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. jonmagee

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    When any one joins an organisation we accept the rules.Those of you who were in the scouts, Do you not remember the scout promise?
    yours, Jon
     
  6. Rev. Joshua

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    Hmmm...

    "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout law, to keep myself physically fit, ..."

    Arrrrgggghhhh...that's as far as I can get. I can remember:

    "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent."

    Joshua
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    No one is arguing that...

    Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Remember, we're talking about kids starting Boy Scouts at about 12-13. Then again, maybe he "believed" when he started, but has become disillusioned and lost whatever childhood "faith" he had. This happened to my brother at 16... He asked too many of the wrong kind of questions at church and the youth group, led by the youth minister, went on the attack -- trying to win him back to the faithful by sending him anonymous letters threatening the fires of hell for not simply accepting everything at face value. He is 40 now and has renounced his faith in Christ.

    I have a lot of sympathy for teenagers who get a little mixed-up trying to balance the world's rationalism and a living faith, and I *know* that pressuring teens to be religious hypocrites is extremely destructive to true faith.
     
  8. stubbornkelly

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    Hmm. What really gets me about this particular case is that they've given him a deadline to come up with a faith. Rather, to declare one. That's the most disturning part, to me. "Just declare belief in some sort of higher power." They don't seem to demand that he actually believe in anything, just declare that he does. If that's good enough for their organization, then they've really lost whatever credibility they've ever had. And giving him a week to do so? That even emphasizes the point that it doesn't really matter that he believes, just that he says he does. And that's probably most disgusting about this whole thing.

    I agree with the kid - to declare a faith he does not have is not being a good scout (it's not a good thing for anyone to do). If that means he hsa to leave the scouts, well, the organization has lost a good one. It's really their loss.
     
  9. Johnv

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    I'm curious as to why anyone who's atheist would want to join an organization that openly requires a belief in a higher power. I'm also curious as to why the Boy Scouts waited this long to do something about it.

    Johnv
    former cub, webelo, and boy scout.
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    Based on this insight and what lots of teens go through when struggling with issues of faith, my guess is that his atheism is a fairly recent position.
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    The fact that they really don't care *if* he believes, only that he *affirms* he believes makes these "faith statements" meaningless -- except to people who like some integrity to their faith (or lack of faith). Boy Scouts who have made faith affirmations in good conscience should be incensed by the attitude seemingly portrayed here that religious faith is a matter of verbal assent.

    I certainly hope the view that was expressed by the scout leader in this story is not the official view of the Boy Scouts of America...

    If it is, I don't think I'll donate money to scouting anymore.
     
  12. Me2

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    I would have to Lean towards a private organization keeping up their private organizational rules, regulations, and standards of conduct. The kid WAS ALLOWED to remain in its organization up to that point in time and participate with its members who all agreed to those same standards.

    I would also add that 19 is TOO old to remain as a Scout. He would have to be allowed to stay as a Scout Master, Leader or Helper. He then could be an example to future scouts entering Its location.

    But, now that the news has spread of his opinions..

    He's just being a Jerk with a point he wants to be made. A spoiled little brat with an attitute that he's not getting his own way. He's being very vindictive. Probably with parents that fully support his efforts of dismantling a worthwhile club for young boys.

    and maybe,.. He can teach the other scouts around him just what a real jerk acts like..
    Some one who doesn't believe in a higher authority.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Yep. No one has argued against that as far as I can tell…

    Yes… Interesting. I wonder why the Scouts are suddenly having a problem here. The only thing I can guess is that this scout’s religious outlook has changed recently – or he’s decided to stop being a hypocrite.

    Interesting point. I only did Cub Scouts (I didn’t care for it – I was only in it because my parents sponsored a group because of my brother) and I completed and left the program without joining a Boy Scout troop, so I wasn’t sure of the upper age limit. I’ve heard of most Eagle Scouts being somewhere around 17 or 18. Is that correct?

    Taking a stand for something you truly believe in is not being a “jerk” in my book. I’ve taken stands for Christ that upset people before and I wasn’t doing it to be a jerk.

    Where are you getting this information? Do you know him or someone who knows him?

    A club that likes to promote the value of faith, but (at least in this case) makes it clear that faith is little more than lip service…

    I think the Scouts are probably still a very good organization, but, in my opinion, they are flat wrong in this case.

    Meanwhile the scout leadership is teaching scouts that real faith in a higher authority is not important… only making an affirmation regarding the existence of a higher authority – even a “higher authority” as meaningless as “Mother Nature”. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Me2

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    Hi BB, I was an Eagle scout..I thought it an honor. given by a group of men who stood behind a young boy who believed in simply bettering himself.
    18th birthday is the limit..

    I professed at the time in "a" God..even I wasn't that ignorant in believing in evolution or pure chance that our world happened to become. The Leadership of the troop mentioned in the article stretched the requirement to allow the boy to simply believe in a higher authority, which by my standards was very generous OF THEM. It Is a PRIVATE organization.

    Just as your church is private, You hand pick the membership. Is your desire to take away that right of the organizational leadership, or another private organization to be able to do the same?.

    The Boy Scouts of America are just following the Civil codes of the Land..
    Heck...They even teach them to these young boys..
    (apparently this scout didnt acheive his citizenship merit badge)

    Private standards are Private standards....
    It You Dont wish to follow them..Please Kindly Leave.

    The Organization Exists for ONLY people who desire to follow the same standard format of rules. Parents choose these organizations because of the standards that are maintained and RESULTS ACHEIVED...This scout should be ashamed for causing the uproar after receiving the award by the men that are attempting to teach this scout good behavior.

    This Boy's Time IS Up..He Now Can Stay Depending On The Decisions made By The Boy Scouts of America's Higher Authorities..Whether This Boy Believed in THEM or not..

    Standard are necessary in this society. Many a young man came out of organizations that are praised for their strict requirements and leadership. Some private organizations are simply not allowing homosexuals and athiests to subvert the standards that the organizations are attempting to instill in its participants.

    Maybe Yours ? ...Hhhmmm. :D :D :D

    Me2
     
  15. ChristianCynic

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    This guy is probably just trying to slam the Boy Scouts and put himself in a spotlight at the same time. He may beccome a second-rate celebrity, with offers to put his story on websites, maybe even a book deal. The American Atheist Association, the Democratic Party, and the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs may single him out as a victim of "intolerance" and what is negative about America; namely the Boy Scouts, for one thing. I don't where the idea really began that standards must be destroyed if somebody doesn't like them. But one thing is for certain... either the Scouts or that guy involved has not been honest for quite some time. Either he has been an atheist representing an organization which does have a statement of belief in God [the G is capital in that statement he must have affirmed], or else the organization has let him get by with falsely affirming that statement or refusing to affirm it. When the seesaw breaks in the middle, they both fall on their backsides, but the one closer the firm ground has less of an impact. The Scouts, in their firm ground of a long-held belief in God, should prevail.
     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    Congratulations on your accomplishment.

    I reread the article... he is actually *helping* with the scouts now.

    In my opinion, atheism is not so much a lack of belief in God, but rather an anger or disgust at religion in general. To declare oneself and atheist, you declare that you are not part of a religious system.

    Even a non-existent one (i.e. "Mother Nature") In my opinion, the leadership of the troop was not being generous (although I'm certain that was their intent), but instead completely demeaning the nature of faith affirmations by asking only for a statement and placing a time limitation on it. This is the issue that I'm concerned about.

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.... I know... *No one* is arguing that point :rolleyes: They have the right to say 'everyone must renounce their faith within ten days or else be kicked out' if they really wanted to do it. That is the right of the leadership to determine. It is also my right to determine if the organization is upholding their integrity since I contribute to some United Way charities. (Some United Way groups support Boy Scouts.) I also have the right to stop giving if I don't like what they are doing.

    This issue is not so much about rights, but what the purpose of the affirmation of a higher power is all about if it is essentially meaningless like the leadership in this case seem to indicate.

    Um, no they're not... As you just stated, they are a private organization and this rule is a private rule. Citizens who live under the civil codes in regular society are not required to take religious tests or make affirmations.



    They are certainly teaching scouts something about religious affirmations...



    He will probably do that... On his way out though, he is making a point about the blatant problem of what a scout's word means/doesn't mean.



    The result for some scouts will be that they see their word is considered to be meaningless.



    This really isn't about good behavior. This is about the hypocrisy of the leadership.



    This sort of thing makes very poor leadership. In essence, the leadership is telling scouts that it is okay to say anything as long as it keeps you out of trouble. ("I did not have sexual relations with that women... Ms. Lewinsky...)



    How did homosexuals get into this conversation? :rolleyes:



    What's that supposed to mean? :rolleyes:

    Look... I wouldn't have had much of an issue with this if the leadership had simply said that if this man professes atheism, he's out. That's the cost of taking an unpopular stand.

    But what is cooked about this is that he has a week to decide if there is a higher power (like you can put a time limit on someone to come to this important of a conclusion) and also the willingness to accept a nonsense "higher power" like "Mother Nature".
     
  17. jonmagee

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    May I also suggest their is hypocrisy in the young person too. He knew the rules that governed the admission into Scouts and despite the fact he no longer beleives he still wants to be in an oganisation that declares a beleif of some kind!
    Those of you who advocate the scouts change the rules to accommodate the lad, would you do the same for your church???????? I hope not

    yours, Jon
     
  18. Joseph_Botwinick

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    This is where we disagree. Nobody else but you here seems to think there is a problem with the policy. If the spoiled brat doesn't like their policy, then he should simply leave and form his own orginazation that is more inclusive. See my previous commments as to how successfull I think that would be.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  19. Baptist Believer

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    I don't know if I would call that hypocrisy... He's not saying one things and doing another.

    I think some people are under the impression that I want the Scouts to change their policy of requiring a statement of faith... That's not correct.

    I think the *way* the scouts are handling it is the problem.
     
  20. Baptist Believer

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    This is where we disagree. Nobody else but you here seems to think there is a problem with the policy.[/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]You've made an assumption here. I don't disagree with a policy of having a faith statement. I disagree with the way the scout leaders seem to think it doesn't mean anything because they are willing to accept a statement affirming "Mother Nature" -- essentially a statement that is meaningless -- just so the teen can meet the letter of the law.

    How do you know he's spoiled?
     

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