/ Any Scouters care to comment?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
I guess there are lots of Scout volunteers on these forums. Do you agree with this?

Scouts exclude schoolboy (11-yr-old) for not believing in God

http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/Scouts-exclude-schoolboy-believing-God/story-17109998-detail/story.html
jonnie3430 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I didn't believe in god either and just didn't say the words when making the oath or saying a prayer, I also wanted to be in the scouts and accepted a bit of give and take, it looks like this bloke wanted the scouts on his terms and had views that didn't match. If he has such strong views about this, can you imagine every time he comes across other strong views? "STOOOOOP, I need to think about this, no, nope, you'll have to change it, I have strong views..." He needs to grow up.
AWR on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm not a Scouter but in my opinion, if he doesn't believe in God, why does he want to be part of a group that obviously does?

I bet he's a snotty, spoilt little brat and the only reason it's in the paper is that his parents are the pushy kind who don't take kindly to them/their spawn getting their way.

(Agnostic by the way...or at least I think I am...)
Timmd on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)

> I bet he's a snotty, spoilt little brat and the only reason it's in the paper is that his parents are the pushy kind who don't take kindly to them/their spawn getting their way.
>
> (Agnostic by the way...or at least I think I am...)

Or it could be he's just an honest 11 year old who's dissapointed at not being able to do something which seems fun and sociable?

I'm amazed at how negatively some people on here judge others without any grounds too.
Only a hill - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Speaking as a Scout leader I would never exclude anyone who wanted to be a Scout but didn't believe in God. The actual requirement is that the child "must have some kind of faith", which can be as loosely interpreted as you wish; I like to interpret it as having an inquisitive and open mind and a belief in one's own character. If that means the child is completely Atheist, then good for them--it should not be grounds for excluding them.

And FWIW, Scouting is not a religious organisation.
AWR on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Or it could be he's just an honest 11 year old who's dissapointed at not being able to do something which seems fun and sociable?
>
> I'm amazed at how negatively some people on here judge others without any grounds too.

Even if you cut out my assertion that the kid's a spoilt brat, the point stands; why would he want so much to join a group that doesn't share his 'strong views' - views so strong he feels the organisation should change it's core values for him instead of accepting his views exclude him from joining the Scouts and finding something else that's "fun and sociable" (and non-religious) instead of whining to the local chip-wrapper?

I don't believe in Allah, so I'm not going to try and change the belief system of my local Muslim social group so I can join.
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to jonnie3430:

Who needs to grow up, the 11 year old boy?

By grow up, down you mean lie to maintain a status quo that does actually benefit anyone, except a bit of institutional privilege.
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> Speaking as a Scout leader I would never exclude anyone who wanted to be a Scout but didn't believe in God. The actual requirement is that the child "must have some kind of faith", which can be as loosely interpreted as you wish; I like to interpret it as having an inquisitive and open mind and a belief in one's own character. If that means the child is completely Atheist, then good for them--it should not be grounds for excluding them.

Not a view shared by many Scout Leaders, Districts, Counties or the Scout Association.

> And FWIW, Scouting is not a religious organisation.

The Scout Association and all the affiliated Churches etc may disagree.

Only a hill - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
> [...]
>
> Not a view shared by many Scout Leaders, Districts, Counties or the Scout Association.
>
> [...]
>
> The Scout Association and all the affiliated Churches etc may disagree.

I have been involved with Scouting for over 16 years and the only time I have heard the slightest hint of any kind of religion is when we swear in new Scouts. It simply does not come up--or at least it hasn't with the troops I've been involved with (obviously some troops may conduct themselves differently).
jonnie3430 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

Eh? If you actually read my post I gave an example of how to do it while maintaining integrity and joining.
TMM - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I had a similar dilemma whilst a Scout.

When I signed up as cub I'd happily spout anything it allowed me to play games and light fires. It was pretty similar whilst in Scouts except I had a growing conciousness that I was having to say something I did not actually believe.

I was excluded by our Scout leader following the once a year discussion on the Scout Promise. It was also my burgeoning republicanism that was a problem. Why should I have to 'do my duty to god and the queen'.

The Scout Promise

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law

The Scout Law

A Scout is to be trusted.
A Scout is loyal.
A Scout is friendly and considerate.
A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.
A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.

The Scout Motto

Be Prepared
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to jonnie3430:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> Eh? If you actually read my post I gave an example of how to do it while maintaining integrity and joining.

Not all Scout troops are the same, I suspect the troop in question would not accept your option, I am not sure it is a great example of integrity either.
Carolyn - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TMM:

There have been alternative wordings available for years, but all involve a god of some description

At the risk of derailing a good rant, here's the official line
http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/library/hqdocs/facts/pdfs/fs322016.pdf

Although I agree, in many troops, religion of any kind doesn't appear apart from the promise.
Neil Pratt - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

it raises two main issues really:

should organisations be allowed to exercise discrimination about who can and cannot become a member?

If "yes", then is it legitimate in the case of the Scouts?

Underpinning this is a broader issue about whether one group should be allowed to impose it's view of the world on another, which I suspect is what the original post was maneouvering for...

thebrookster on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: So let me get this straight. We have the Scouting movement, whose purpose is to prepare kids for life, and instill a certain amount of moral fibre and values (obviously I am paraphrasing somewhat here). And we have an 11 year old boy, who wants to put his own views in instead? Hmmmmmmm.
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> I have been involved with Scouting for over 16 years and the only time I have heard the slightest hint of any kind of religion is when we swear in new Scouts. It simply does not come up--or at least it hasn't with the troops I've been involved with (obviously some troops may conduct themselves differently).

30 years myself. Is your group not affiliated to a church? Different groups do things in different ways, but check the Scout Association, very definitely a religious organisation.
nickyrannoch on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm kind of torn. If he had to make this promise to receive an education or healthcare the outrageous but membership organisations are entitled to make their own rules. however, it seems a little small minded to exclude some who could learn and make a contribution to the movement and society from his involvement.

Personally I pledged my service to god and queen while saluting the union jack in the full knowledge it was a means to the scout football team and the sausage sizzle.

there is a difference between selling out and pragmatism and perhaps both sides could think about this.
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:

Can you make your point a bit clearer!
Parrys_apprentice - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to jonnie3430:

one of the comments on the news story had a good point. We should be also hearing from disgusted republican children who don't want to serve the queen.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:

> We have the Scouting movement, whose purpose is to prepare kids for life, and instill a certain amount
> of moral fibre and values (obviously I am paraphrasing somewhat here). And we have an 11 year old boy,
> who wants to put his own views in instead?

He isn't objecting to values, moral fibre or preparation for life.
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Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:

> I bet he's a snotty, spoilt little brat and the only reason it's in the paper is that his parents
> are the pushy kind who don't take kindly to them/their spawn getting their way.

If you read the article it doesn't sound like that.
Blue Straggler - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to thebrookster)
>
> Can you make your point a bit clearer!

Bit rich coming from someone who wrote
"By grow up, down you mean lie to maintain a status quo that does actually benefit anyone, except a bit of institutional privilege"
Philip on 18 Oct 2012
This applies to more than just Scouting. As it isn't a religious group but a group with religious components (we used to have compulsory church parade unless of non-CofE faith in scouts) it should move with the time.

Initially an all Christian UK membership was probably a fair assumption, Scouting has changed with the times and accepts other faiths. A growing atheist rather than simply agnostic section of society will mean it needs to change again.

Scouting doesn't require the religion - it's not like sunday school. You can have discipline and a desire to do your duty to more than just the Queen and God. It's about time the scout promise was updated to refer to doing your duty to society in general and abiding by the laws of your country.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:

> the point stands; why would he want so much to join a group that doesn't share his 'strong views' - views
> so strong he feels the organisation should change it's core values for him instead of accepting his
> views exclude him from joining the Scouts

The point is that Scouts do *not* have "core values" about this that are a large part of Scouting activities. The fact that they allow Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians and all sorts means that any "core principles" on this point are diluted and vague to the point where they don't amount to much.
Hannah S on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

No we are not affiliated to a church. Scouting is NOT a religious organisation it just thinks that people should have faith/values/beliefs in something.

I think that people who have a belief in something, will then find life easier to be nice to others and have respect for things hence being a better person, therefor in my personal view it fits with the core aim of scouting. this doesn't make us religous.

I can also add, being a religious person isn't a bad thing I do get abit miffed by all the I dont believe therefore everyone eles is wrong.
I have my faith, I dont care if you do or not but it should work both ways an nonbeliver shouldn't care that I do have faith as apposed to the God bashing I see daily on here.
AWR on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Ditch_Jockey:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> should organisations be allowed to exercise discrimination about who can and cannot become a member?
>
> If "yes", then is it legitimate in the case of the Scouts?

Yes, any organisation can apply criteria to those who wish to join - the statment in the article from the Scouts says as much too.

If any other organisation can so it, why not Scouts? They don't have a legal or moral obligation to do anything with anybody...as I said before, maybe the young man in question should find a youth organisation which shares his values and standards to join instead of trying to force his own on an already well established organisation.
MG - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannah S:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> No we are not affiliated to a church. Scouting is NOT a religious organisation it just thinks that people should have faith/values/beliefs in something.
>
> I think that people who have a belief in something, will then find life easier to be nice to others and have respect for things hence being a better person, therefor in my personal view it fits with the core aim of scouting. this doesn't make us religous.


Hmmm. These nice fluffy people have in my close experience resulted in one leader leaving because of pressure to attend church, and one guide leaving due to being a Muslim and feeling like a fish out of water in an overtly Christian organisation. If seems to me Scouts/Guides clearly are religious and effectively Christian but are afraid to say so. It would be more honest and fair to just be up front about it.
Only a hill - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MG:
> These nice fluffy people have in my close experience resulted in one leader leaving because of pressure to attend church, and one guide leaving due to being a Muslim and feeling like a fish out of water in an overtly Christian organisation.

Seriously?!

I have never seen or heard of anything like that in Scouting and I can only conclude this must be a freak incident.
Andy DB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: As a scout leader I always claim to be agnostic (an allowable option) on the basis that I can't prove the absence of a deity and so am still waiting for further evidence on the subject.

I have no real problem its historic and pledging my allegiance to god has the same personal meaning as pledging allegiance to tesco by getting a club card.

This kid is making the point that hundreds have made in the past and will make in the future and hopefully the scout association will eventually wake up and small the coffee. Personally pragmatism took preference over swearing allegiance to something I don't believe in.

From past debates this rule is usually applied to adult volunteers on the basis that they have to promote spiritual development in Young people and can't possibly do this with out a religious view! Personally I feel that having explored the religious options and concluded that on the balance of evidence there probably isn't a god I am in a better position that was told they are CofE and never really considered the options. Hey Hoe eventually the scout association will catch up.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Ditch_Jockey:

> Underpinning this is a broader issue about whether one group should be allowed to impose it's
> view of the world on another, which I suspect is what the original post was maneouvering for...

I was mainly wondering whether adult Scout volunteers in general agree with this sort of discrimination.

As for whether it should be allowed: one issue is public money, and I think they get some public subsidy in various ways but not a major part of their income. If it's entirely private then fine, but even private organisations can face criticism for discriminating (for example golf clubs that won't accept women, country clubs that won't accept blacks etc).

You can also ask whether this sort of discrimination is compatible with charitable status. It's notable that the Equality Act had a specific exemption in it exempting the Scouts and Guides from its provisions -- that is rather dubious.
cfer - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

>
> And FWIW, Scouting is not a religious organisation.

As a scout leader myself I can tell you it is although it is no longer a strictly christian organisation, when meeting the appointments committee I was questioned on my religious beliefs and said although not a believer I do believe in 'christian' morals this seemed good enough for them and what I base my acceptance of scouts into my group, ie as long as they dont lie, steal, cheat or behave in a dishonourable way we are happy to accept them

Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannah S:

> I think that people who have a belief in something, will then find life easier to be nice to others
> and have respect for things hence being a better person, therefor in my personal view it fits with
> the core aim of scouting.

How about having a belief in democracy and human rights? Is that sufficient to satisfy you?
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill: On the form I looked at to help with the scouts a few years ago it explicitly stated that you had to have a 'faith', the type was undefined.

As this didn't appear to be negotiable I chose not to be a hypocrite (I refused to swear on the bible when doing jury season for the same reason) I declined to help.

And now 50% of posters will say I should have lied! What an example of moral instruction and fibre!
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:

> Yes, any organisation can apply criteria to those who wish to join ... If any other organisation can so it,
> why not Scouts? They don't have a legal or moral obligation to do anything with anybody..

This is simply not so these days. First, the Equality Act 2010 places all sorts of requirements and restrictions even on private associations, and, second, having charitable status comes with obligations.

For example, Sainsbury's is a private organisation, that does not mean it can refuse to hire women and refuse to serve blacks.
GrahamD - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Sounds odd to me too, but variability is to be expected across an organisation relying so heavily on its volunteer leaders. If that leader is a religeous zealot - that will be reflected in that troop.

For my part I didn't have a problem with the 'promise' because once out the way it was knots and bridge building, fire lighting, camoing, british bulldog and the odd football kick around.
Only a hill - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
The whole point (to my mind) is that the term "faith" can be interpreted as creatively as you want.

Personally I would describe myself as agnostic, but I have faith in human resourcefulness. Does that make me a hypocrite as a Scout leader? I don't think so!
In reply to Carolyn: That sounds all very sensible and an attempt to be welcoming to all, shame they just can't put some squishy language in for overt atheists as well. There can't be many at that age besides anything.

Personally I'd tell my kids just to say it, if you don't believe in god its pretty meaningless anyway - and it seems to be one of those no skin off my nose sort of situations. I think you gain much more from being in the scouts than you would lose from spouting a line you don't believe in.

Fundamentalists in both directions will probably wish to differ!
Irk the Purist - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Scouting is currently a religious organisation and that's that. It used to be Christian but now accepts people of all faith. Notionally it says that scouts should be exploring their faith and will accept scouts who don't believe on that basis. But they must say the promise. It's a mess, however you look at it.

There is a disconnect between people who actually run scout groups and Gilwell and there always has been in more than one respect. Religion being one of them. My group run regular religious evenings because we have to if we want the badges (and the kids do want them) but they explore all faiths and none and that's how it should be in my opinion. Apart from that the only time religion comes into it is when they're invested (the promise) and once a year when they renew their promise at St George's day. This has even been moved out of the church to the local bandstand recently.

I would happily accept an atheist into my unit and in fact the last time we did a survey, 100% of my explorer scouts considered themselves atheist as did the leaders. Totally hypocritical I guess but in the absence of a non-religious alternative I'm happy to swallow that and I guess so are the kids. It's ridiculous and I can feel the pressure mounting for the powers that be. One day it might change and I hope it does.

In the meantime, kids like the one in the article need to decide whether to say the words and have all the benefits (he gets to keep his soul by the way) or not join in.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> shame they just can't put some squishy language in for overt atheists as well.

Plenty of Scouting organisation do, for example here's the one from Switzerland: http://www5.scout.ch/en/about-us/promise-and-law

Indeed, the world-wide scouting body would probably make a policy decision allowing this, were it not that they are held hostage by the USA, whose scouting movement is heavily controlled by churches, for example the Mormons who require all their kids to be in Scouting and so sponsor vast numbers of troops.
jonnie3430 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to jonnie3430)
> [...]
>
> I am not sure it is a great example of integrity either.

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."

I think Katherine Hepburn had a point.
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Hannah S on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Hannah S)
>
> [...]
>
> How about having a belief in democracy and human rights? Is that sufficient to satisfy you?

Yep any sort of belief you loosely hang the term god on to so you can make your promise is good enough for me in my troop.
simon c on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
Think the Finnish on is pretty rounded

The Ideals of a Scout are
To respect others
To love and protect the environment
To be reliable
To build friendship across boundaries
To feel one’s responsibility and to take action
To develop oneself as a human being
To search for truth in life

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scout_Law pretty interesting variations across the world.
Andy DB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Interestingly I am led to believe that guiding UK have replace the "to god" with "my beliefs". Which unless you have had a full lobotomy you would struggle to not have beliefs.
timjones - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> I guess there are lots of Scout volunteers on these forums. Do you agree with this?
>
> Scouts exclude schoolboy (11-yr-old) for not believing in God
>
> http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/Scouts-exclude-schoolboy-believing-God/story-17109998-detail/story.html

Do you really expect anyone to be able to make sensible, meaningful comments based on a single slightly sensationalist newspaper story. I suspect that there is more to this than we are being told.
Hannah S on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Andy DB:
nope that hasn't happened but it has changed from

god to my god so it's everyone own personal thing as oppposed to the same for everyone.
Rollo - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: This makes me significantly angry!

Banned from the Scouts for having the courage and hoesty to tell the truth and not just spout the little lie.

I do like the Scout Law though and suggest that we should adopt it!


The Climber Law

A Climber is to be trusted.
A Climber is loyal.
A SClimber is friendly and considerate.
A Climber belongs to the worldwide family of Climbers.
A Climber has courage in all difficulties.
A Climber makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
A Climber has self-respect and respect for others.
dissonance - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> I think you gain much more from being in the scouts than you would lose from spouting a line you don't believe in.

Undermines the entire ethos though doesnt it? Giving kids the lesson that its ok to treat parts of promises as optional if you dont like it.

muppetfilter - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Surely the fact the Bear "I dint lie about Everest, the SAS, That poncey Altitude gyrokite thingy and Buggering up your BMC insurance premium" Ghrylls is ungodly enough for any Atheist. He fails on the basic premise of scout laws....

I promise to tell the truth
Be kind to animals
tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannah S:

> I think that people who have a belief in something, will then find life easier to be nice to others and have respect for things hence being a better person,

do you know anyone who doesn't have a belief in anything?!

or do you mean that having a belief in something supernatural makes it easier to be nice?!

I'm not quite sure how that works?
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> Bit rich coming from someone who wrote
> "By grow up, down you mean lie to maintain a status quo that does actually benefit anyone, except a bit of institutional privilege"

Except for my phone deciding to change a couple of words, that seems pretty clear to me, but then I wrote it so I guess I know what I meant. I suppose if someone didn't understand they could ask me to explain a bit more. I think that would be perfectly reasonable, don't you?
tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> The point is that Scouts do *not* have "core values" about this that are a large part of Scouting activities. The fact that they allow Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians and all sorts means that any "core principles" on this point are diluted and vague to the point where they don't amount to much.

They do also allow in lying atheists.

It's just the honest ones that they don't like.

tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to cfer:
> as they dont lie, steal, cheat or behave in a dishonourable way we are happy to accept them

I thought that they are allowed in if they are atheists but are prepared to lie, but not allowed in if they are atheists but insist on being very honest about that?

Irk the Purist - on 18 Oct 2012
Be nice.

The recent Scout bashing threads on here are beginning to make me think a lot of people had some really bad experiences in village halls up and down the country.

What's the beef?
tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> Personally I'd tell my kids just to say it, if you don't believe in god its pretty meaningless anyway...

See - I think that is the thing. It might be meaningless to you to lie. But to some people (and I think especially younger people) they can really feel very strongly that the lying is wrong and that they would be compromising deeply held values by doing so.

That act would be full of meaning for such a person.
The New NickB - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannah S:

I believe in things, I have values, I just don't believe in a supernatural being and I don't believe that values are inherently religious.
Scarab9 - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
> [...]
>
> I have been involved with Scouting for over 16 years and the only time I have heard the slightest hint of any kind of religion is when we swear in new Scouts. It simply does not come up--or at least it hasn't with the troops I've been involved with (obviously some troops may conduct themselves differently).

while I know individual troups (or whatever they're called) differ in the way they're run to an extent, surely you only need to read the OP to see that the Scouts HAVE got a religious side to them or the kid wouldn't have been excluded? Not to mention swearing something that has a religious aspect as you've just said.
In reply to tlm: I don't see it as any more hypocritical than celebrating Christmas despite being an atheist. It's a social norm, they are necessary for a civil society. I would expect my kids to thank their mum or their gran for a "nice meal" even if they hated it. It makes the world go round in an easier way. I might say "nice to meet you" to someone who I thought was a bore just because I was brought up that way. So lies can sometimes show respect to others as much as the truth.

And by meaningless, I mean more in the logical sense than in the 'not bothered' sort of sense.
dissonance - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> I might say "nice to meet you" to someone who I thought was a bore just because I was brought up that way. So lies can sometimes show respect to others as much as the truth.

There is a massive difference between your examples and making a promise/oath.
The bore would get a rather different response from me in a court room since the promise to tell the truth would take precedence over hurting feelings.
Likewise if someone managed to get me to promise to tell the truth about whether their bum looks big in that skirt the result could well be upsetting (hence why chances of getting that promise is slim).

thebrookster on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: (Also in response ot NickB's request above):

As has been said before, the Scouting movement is not a religous movement, but it does hold faith as being an important value.

Now, I may well be barking up a tree here, but to me what is being asked for are the core values that underpin most religions, as in the respect your neighbour/treat your fellow beings decently etc. The scouts use their vows to uphold this, and ask you to pledge to God and King as a sign of it.

What seems to be being suggested is that the Scouts have to restructure something that has remained essentially unchanged since the movement began, all because an 11 year old has decided he does not believe in God (and lets be honest, what is really being reflected here are the parents views). (I am taking this from the article, not this forum BTW.)

Whilst I can see that the lad may not have objected to the values/moral fibre/prep for life etc itself, I do feel that as a society we need to take a step back and start looking at the bigger picture, instead of nit-picking, which to me is what all this is about. Someone has taken a particular part of a vow and decided they disagree with it, and have decided to cause a stooshy over it, yet when you take the step back and lookat why it is there in the first place is it really all that bad? Plenty of others have taken the vows whilst not believing in a God, in fact a good friend of mine is actually a Scout Leader now, having done all levels up to Queen Scout, he simply uses the vow to symbolise the values HE believes in.

If the lad wishes to join the Scout group, then he needs to find a way to let their principles sit with his conscience, not try and change a worldwide movement because of one small detail.
Ramblin dave - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) (Also in response ot NickB's request above):

> Now, I may well be barking up a tree here, but to me what is being asked for are the core values that underpin most religions, as in the respect your neighbour/treat your fellow beings decently etc. The scouts use their vows to uphold this, and ask you to pledge to God and King as a sign of it.

I'd imagine that not lying when you swear an oath is probably one of those values, no?

> What seems to be being suggested is that the Scouts have to restructure something that has remained essentially unchanged since the movement began

We're not talking about restructuring the entire movement here, just letting people omit two words from the promise if they want to.

> all because an 11 year old has decided he does not believe in God

And I'm sure that that's never happened before and will never happen again...
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tom_in_edinburgh - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) (Also in response ot NickB's request above):

> If the lad wishes to join the Scout group, then he needs to find a way to let their principles sit with his conscience, not try and change a worldwide movement because of one small detail.

What's wrong with trying to change a worldwide movement? Isn't trying to change society for the better the way we make progress? The oath has already been changed to accommodate Muslims and Hindus even Buddhists so why shouldn't it accommodate atheists. There are a lot more atheists than Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in the UK. Equally why should people who think an inherited monarchy is undemocratic be banned from the scouts.

The whole concept of a children's organisation which provides fun activities that kids will naturally want to take part in with their friends and then linking membership to an oath subscribing to religion and monarchism is fairly unpleasant. The Scouts would be better off making a clean break between their organisation and religious and political views.

Kieran_John - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I, in all honesty, had no idea that scouts had anything to do with God or faith. I just thought it was an activity group for young kids.
Ramblin dave - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Although I guess a literally minded atheist republican could argue that their duty to God is nothing because God doesn't exist, and their duty to the Queen is nothing because they don't believe in her authority, and hence they can promise to do nothing with an entirely clean conscience...
MJ - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:

As has been said before, the Scouting movement is not a religous movement, but it does hold faith as being an important value.

If that's the case, why can't they provide an alternative oath for atheists/agnostics, as done in the Armed Forces (probably the same for other Government employees and in court)?

Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> I don't see it as any more hypocritical than celebrating Christmas despite being an atheist.

What's wrong with celebrating Christmas as an atheist? Christmas trees, Santa Claus, presents, food, family, mistletoe, tinsel, mince pies, mulled wine ... um, I'm struggling to see anything religious there, maybe I'm doing it wrong?

(OK, there are a few carols, I admit)
Carolyn - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Carolyn) That sounds all very sensible and an attempt to be welcoming to all, shame they just can't put some squishy language in for overt atheists as well. There can't be many at that age besides anything.

I completely agree (and am quite happy for my 6 year old to repeat the promise after a leader - neither he nor us as parents were asked to think about it in advance ... I'm only aware of the implications from my involvement in Scouting until my early 20s).

I think it dates from a time where "Duty to God & Queen" was shorthand for leading a moral life in Britain. I don't think that's the default position any longer. I think the alternative versions (for other religions) had more to do with Scouting spreading across the globe than other religious beliefs becoming more widespread in the UK. Equally, the suggestion somewhere higher up that a belief in democracy could be used instead of "Duty to Queen" - I'm pretty sure Scouting exists in countries where that wouldn't be a popular promise.

Neither do I think belief in a higher being is necessary to fulfil the organisation's stated aim:

The aim and method of scouting
The aim of scouting is to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical,
intellectual, social and spiritual potential, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as
members of their local, national and international communities.

The method of achieving the aim is through the provision of exciting and adventurous activities
with progressive training based on the scout promise and law guided by adult leadership.

I reckon I can quite happily achieve my spiritual potential without commiting to a firm belief in a God....

But ho hum. I think they still tie themselves in knots over gay leaders, and combine that with religion and you've got a fine tangle to deal with ;-)
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to thebrookster:

> but to me what is being asked for are the core values that underpin most religions, as in the respect
> your neighbour/treat your fellow beings decently etc.

Ok, so let's ask this 11-yr-old kid whether he's willing to accept core values of respecting your neighbour and treating you fellow beings decently. If he says "yes", then he's accepted (and the fact that he's an atheist and doesn't want to swear a "God" oath doesn't matter, right?).

> What seems to be being suggested is that the Scouts have to restructure something that has
> remained essentially unchanged since the movement began ...

In the early days it was explicitly Christian, it has since been "restructured" to include lots of other religions; plenty of other countries have "restructured" the oath to include the non-religious.

> ... all because an 11 year old has ...

The issue is far wider than one kid.

> yet when you take the step back and lookat why it is there in the first place is it really all that bad?
> Plenty of others have taken the vows whilst not believing in a God ...

Isn't that confused? Why is the word "God" there "in the first place" if it's ok to not mean it? If it is about "values/moral fibre" as you put it, then why is it ok to make a false promise? Can you expound on "why it is there in the first place"?
Carolyn - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
>
> What's wrong with celebrating Christmas as an atheist? Christmas trees, Santa Claus, presents, food, family, mistletoe, tinsel, mince pies, mulled wine ... um, I'm struggling to see anything religious there, maybe I'm doing it wrong?

Well, the "Christ" part of Christmas might be a bit of a giveaway? May was well just revert to celebrating midwinter, eh? ;-)

Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Carolyn:

> Well, the "Christ" part of Christmas might be a bit of a giveaway?

I guess so, in the same sense that Sunday churchgoing is all about pagan worship of the sun.

> May was well just revert to celebrating midwinter, eh? ;-)

Which, err, most of us have.
Duncan Bourne - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tlm) I don't see it as any more hypocritical than celebrating Christmas despite being an atheist.

I don't see anything hypocritical in that. I am an atheist and I celebrate Christmas/Saturnlia/Mithrasmas/Winter Solistic whatever you want to call it. I also celebrate Dvali and any other excuse for a party. I see them as social events and traditions that are important in themselves for their social bonding. if someone asks me do i celebrate Christmas because I believe in God? I am honest and say no I celebrate it for its entertainment value in the same way as I would dress up in horror costume on Halloween or dress as a Pirate on pirate day.
tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tlm) I don't see it as any more hypocritical than celebrating Christmas despite being an atheist. It's a social norm, they are necessary for a civil society.

That's my point. You might see it as not hypocritical. Another person might feel differently, might not celebrate Christmas etc. Some people are very black and white about such things and really feel uncomfortable about bending rules to make life easier.
tlm - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MJ:
> (probably the same for other Government employees and in court)?

Yeah - you don't have to swear anything religious in a court. You are given alternative, none religious text.

Ramblin dave - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tlm) I don't see it as any more hypocritical than celebrating Christmas despite being an atheist.

Or going to a bonfire night despite not wanting to violently oppress Catholics?
marsbar - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: It's there for historical reasons I guess. I would personally rather it wasn't, but it is and I defend the association's right to have it there. If you want to be a Scout then make the promise, if you don't want to then quit whinging and go join a youth club or something. Scouts isn't publicly funded and has the right to choose who joins within reason.
captain paranoia - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Well, let's see what the horse's mouth has to say on the issue of Scouting and Religion:

On the one hand we have this:

http://scouts.org.uk/supportresources/search/?cat=25,285

"The Scout Association is not directly and immediately concerned with the religious education of its Members."

"That responsibility is with the religious families to which the Members belong, although some sponsored Groups will have a more immediate responsibility towards their Members' religious development."

On the other hand, it goes on to say this:

"However, the purpose of The Scout Association includes 'to promote the spiritual potential of young people'. This responsibility is a fundamental part of The Scout Association and needs to be achieved through the programme, method and structure of Scouting."

And there's this:

http://scouts.org.uk/supportresources/36/religious-duty-as-leaders?cat=25,285&moduleID=10

"Prayer and worship take place at the moments when we enter into a direct relationship with God and become aware of God's presence."

And the Scout Promise:

http://scouts.org.uk/supportresources/2943/scout-promise-law-and-motto?cat=7,132&moduleID=10

Here are their Key Policies:

http://scouts.org.uk/documents/POR_Sept%202012_chapter2.pdf

The first Key Policy is 'The Religious Policy', which states:

"All Members of the Movement are encouraged to:
• make every effort to progress in the understanding and observance of the Promise to do their best to do their duty to God;
• belong to some religious body;
• carry into daily practice what they profess."

Then there's their policy on Leaders:

"Note: With reference to religious belief, the avowed absence of religious belief is a bar to appointment to a Leadership position."

Key Polices, Chapter 2, page 2, column 2. Atheism and paedophilia are both bars to being a Scout Leader.

Let's not look at the Beaver Scout Promise:

http://scouts.org.uk/supportresources/2659/promise-and-motto?cat=11,16&moduleID=10

"I promise to do my best
To be kind and helpful
And to love God."

In previous forum discussions, it appears that the world scouting movement is somewhat torn on the issue of religion, but, since the US is very powerful within world scouting, it is they who are insisting on maintaining the religious aspect to it.

It may also explain why some British scouting groups take an easier line on the religious part of the Scouting Promise, and come up with 'weasel words' to get around what is being said: "if you don't believe in God, or you're a republican, then you have no duty to either God or Queen, so it's easy to do your duty to them (i.e. nothing at all)". This strikes me as a disingenuous lawyer's trick, and is hardly encouraging a Scout to be honest, or trustworthy (as per the first item of their Scout Law).


On balance, I'd say that The Scout Association is a religious organisation.
DancingOnRock - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Duty to the Queen simply means duty to your country.

The Duty to god bit is a bit more complex. There are/used to be sections of the progress badges that required you to explore your spirituality.

Way back when we were allowed to send kids out on their own, there was a solo three day hike. You camped remotely on your own

Probably a bit outdated now as most of the adults on UKC would worry if they were out if sight of their car for more than 8hours on their own.
In reply to tlm:
> Some people are very black and white about such things and really feel uncomfortable about bending rules to make life easier.

Well may be, fortunately society is generally flexible enough to deal with those who can't be. Most people realise though that compromise tends to help a lot in life.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> Most people realise though that compromise tends to help a lot in life.

I bet that most people would not even dream of expecting a Jew or a Muslim to "compromise" by swearing fealty to a god they didn't believe in.
Bulls Crack - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I didn't believe - and still don't - and made it obvious I expect....and received a bit of grief for it from scoutmasters; which I think made me even more resolute in my atheism.

Ludicrous in reality but seen in their own terms (as they do) it makes sense.
Coel Hellier - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> ... seen in their own terms (as they do) it makes sense.

Does it? To require belief in a specific god and to require adherence to specific religious ideas might make sense, but the very vague and ill-defined "you can interpret this however you want, we won't even ask, so long as you at least pay lip service" just smacks of "you can say that the emperor's clothes are any colour you like, and style you like, so long as you agree he is clothed".
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Timmd on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:
> (In reply to Timmd)
> [...]
>
> Even if you cut out my assertion that the kid's a spoilt brat, the point stands; why would he want so much to join a group that doesn't share his 'strong views' - views so strong he feels the organisation should change it's core values for him instead of accepting his views exclude him from joining the Scouts and finding something else that's "fun and sociable" (and non-religious) instead of whining to the local chip-wrapper?
>
> I don't believe in Allah, so I'm not going to try and change the belief system of my local Muslim social group so I can join.

Erm, it doesn't say anywhere at all that the boy wants the Scouts to change.

If you're going to have a heated debate, be precise and heated at least. (:-))

It's healthier not to be heated though, so peace to all mankind and things.



DNS on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices:

I have no strong views either way, but 'fit in, or f*ck off' may well apply. I don't believe membership of any organisation to be compulsory in this country.

I was a scout, and must have mouthed suitable words, but never saw my personal faith as n issue.

My ability to be an astronaut was foiled by ability, height and the absence of a UK manned space programme. It took a few years, but I got over it.
Bingers - on 18 Oct 2012
In reply to TMM:
> The Scout Motto
>
> Be Prepared

My 11 year old is very rarely prepared. I think I might force him to leave the Scouts or at the very least sue the Scout Group for not making him prepared.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to DNS:
> (In reply to MountainsAreBetterThanOffices)
>
>
> My ability to be an astronaut was foiled by ability, height and the absence of a UK manned space programme. It took a few years, but I got over it

You appear to have found your calling since then, which appears to be fishing for red herrings...
geebus - on 19 Oct 2012
Should anyone have asked and I'm sure others knew; I was openly atheist and a scout from 11-16.

I wanted to join because you got to do interesting things.

Thankfully my group was far from serious on the 'formal' stuff and was more about kids running around forests having fun and learning some useful (ish, I still do use various knots and plenty of camping stuff, albeit maybe say for holding a car engine up and camping at a motorcycle racing weekend).

We did do the parades followed by church services, but even the leaders saw them as a bit of a chore.
This is one of the reasons I did end up with them rather than the air cadets; they got guns and planes, but were also a lot more officious.
Rollo - on 19 Oct 2012
In reply to Carolyn: Well, the "Christ" part of Christmas might be a bit of a giveaway? May was well just revert to celebrating midwinter, eh? ;-)


That's why we call it Xmas ;-) pagan family festival!
edwarddonegal - on 20 Oct 2012
You might like to know how Irish scouts get around such things
You have a choice of which one, both are held esteem

On my honour I promise that I will do my best,
to do my duty to God,
to serve my community,
to help other people and
to live by the Scout Law.

OR

On my honour I promise that I will do my best,
to further my understanding and acceptance of a
Spiritual Reality,
to serve my community,
to help other people and
to live by the Scout Law.
marsbar - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to edwarddonegal: I like that.
john arran - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to edwarddonegal:

On my honour I promise that I will do my best,
to further my understanding and acceptance of the true nature of existence,
to serve my community,
to help other people and
to live by the Scout Law.
verygneiss - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I have been an atheist all my life, or at least as far back as my memory extends, and I was also in the Scouts from the age of 12 onwards. It was quite a traditional troop, now I think on it, as we said the Lord's Prayer after each evening. I went along with this, I didn't (and don't) have any problem with a little lying to smooth over a minor detail like this. I do have principles, but I tend to apply them in situations which actually matter. The fact that I needed to lie to join (I don't believe in god(s) nor do I have much time for monarchies) doesn't bother me at all.
mark s - on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Hannah S)
>
> [...]
>
> do you know anyone who doesn't have a belief in anything?!
>
> or do you mean that having a belief in something supernatural makes it easier to be nice?!
>
> I'm not quite sure how that works?



I'm surprised more haven't picked up on that comment from Hannah s...

If you believe in god you will be a better and happier person !!!
Bullshit of the highest order.
Having an imaginary friend will never make you a better person.

Toccata on 21 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

By repackaging 'God' I managed to pass 10 wonderful years with the Scouts without even a vague sense of unease. I simply redefined God as 'everything we don't yet understand', which was my definition as a 10 year old (so don't start quibbling). After Scouts I continued to do my duty to 'God' by doing a PhD, thus chipping my own little bit from the pedestal of faith.

Curiously for a lifelong atheist, all my children are baptised and I still occasionally go to church. But that's another story...
Camm on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
I had about 5 years in the Scouts, it got me into climbing as well! I miss it that much I've thought about volunteering but I don't think it would be the same.

I've always probably been borderline agnostic/atheist.

The only real time god came into it was when I said my promise when becoming a beaver then becoming cub then becoming a scout, I don't think I even said a promise for explorers or even bought a uniform!

The only other time god came into it was when someone would say "Oh for god sake!!" or "Jesus Christ why did you have to set fire my tent?!"



davepotter2011 - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to Hannah S:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> No we are not affiliated to a church. Scouting is NOT a religious organisation it just thinks that people should have faith/values/beliefs in something.
>
> I think that people who have a belief in something, will then find life easier to be nice to others and have respect for things hence being a better person, therefor in my personal view it fits with the core aim of scouting. this doesn't make us religous.
>
> I can also add, being a religious person isn't a bad thing I do get abit miffed by all the I dont believe therefore everyone eles is wrong.
> I have my faith, I dont care if you do or not but it should work both ways an nonbeliver shouldn't care that I do have faith as apposed to the God bashing I see daily on here.

Here. Here. Well said Hannah
ERH - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Rule is- agnosticism is fine, atheism is not. if you can't deal with it then don't join.

sounds like a bit of a pratt to me...

Agnosticism incidentally is the only sensible position for a science minded person to take. Atheism is the strong belief in an unproven world view. makes you think...
ERH - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to ERH:

Oh, and-

People often comment to me on how people try to pass on their religious beliefs to their children, and how terrible this is- that they haven't had a chance to make up their own mind

Well, it happens with atheism too as in this situation. disagree? did you have a fully made up view of God/religion by the time that you were 11 without it being force-fed to you?
Coel Hellier - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to ERH:

> Agnosticism incidentally is the only sensible position for a science minded person to take.
> Atheism is the strong belief in an unproven world view. makes you think...

No, atheism is not a belief, it's an absence of belief -- it is simply a lack of theism. Most atheists don't claim any certain "belief" in an "unproven world view", and most atheists are also agnostics.

Coel Hellier - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to ERH:

> Well, it happens with atheism too as in this situation. disagree? did you have a fully made up view of
> God/religion by the time that you were 11 without it being force-fed to you?

How do you know that in this case the kid is simply parroting a parental opinion? Since you ask, no I didn't have a settled and "fully made up" view at age 11, but I did have views.

It's interesting that the same people who declare that an 11-yr-old's view doesn't amount to much also consider it vital that 11-yr-olds should express and declare the views they want them to.
winhill - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to ERH:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Agnosticism incidentally is the only sensible position for a science minded person to take. Atheism is the strong belief in an unproven world view. makes you think...

Clearly not in some cases.
neilh - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I suspect and hope that the leader involved has dumped this lad because he is a pain in the backside, and has probably used the god theme to get rid of him.

In our troop - linked to the local C of E church -we have all sorts- aethists, muslims, hindu - and the like.Good grief half of them are...wait for it.....girls!!!Still makes the blood of people over a certain age boil in rage.Its pathetic reaaly.

Me- although I am a leader - i never go to the three church services - remeberance sunday, st georges day and some county thing a year the troop goes to.Not my thing.

Fantastic organisation, does wonders for 500,0000 or so young people evry week.
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David Reid - on 22 Oct 2012
In reply to neilh:

If the scout association did a count of how many members practiced thier religion they would be stopped in thier tracks, changed days and full of parents who think throwing money around helps the organisation
Jim Hamilton - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to neilh:
>
> Me- although I am a leader - i never go to the three church services - remeberance sunday, st georges day and some county thing a year the troop goes to.Not my thing.
>
What sort of example is that to your Scouts ? - to dip out events because it's "Not my thing" !

As suggested above I think the Scouts should drop the Queen and God reference to avoid tying itself up in PC knots, and include something about doing your duty to your country.
neilh - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to David Reid:
Do not understand your comment, can you explain in English?
neilh - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Jim Hamilton:
Terrible is n't it. There again at least I volunteer to help out....do you do anything?
lummox - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to neilh: Just an observation- what a lot of Scouting types there are on UKC ! Where I spent my formative years, you would have been laughed at long and hard for being in the Scouts ; )
timjones - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to neilh) Just an observation- what a lot of Scouting types there are on UKC ! Where I spent my formative years, you would have been laughed at long and hard for being in the Scouts ; )

There are people who laugh at others everywhere. Fortunately most people have the strength of character to appreciate how shallow they are and get on with their own lives regardless
lummox - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones: Oh dear. Clearly humour bypassed.As a 10 year old in inner city Leeds, Scouting was considered for pansies.
Clarence - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

> As suggested above I think the Scouts should drop the Queen and God reference

Not half, I really miss Scouting but I was told I was no longer required when I "came out" as an atheist.
Garbhanach - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Some have said that Scouting is training for life but back when Baden Powel a military man who found that his military training manual Aids to Scouting was being used by teachers and youth organisations, then went on to form the Scouts and they were very much a training group for war with uniforms and staffs as guns and very similar to the Hitler youth organisations. A time when doing your duty for God and country was used a lot in the propaganda on both sides.

As an ex scout I would have liked to see them move on and change but they have not so I congratulate the lad for standing up for what he thinks and saying it, if more went down that path then maybe things would change.
Toerag - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: my troop is affiliated to a church, yet our religious activities are minimal - Ignatious' prayer of generosity is said at the end of each meeting, and we go to the three church parades each year. About 4 scouts turn up. We do use the scout law as our 'religion' and it works well. The lads don't seem to notice or care about religion, but then again we have very few ethnic or religious minorities (probably not the right word) in our area.
neilh - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Garbhanach:
They have moved on along way, that is why it is growing at something like 5% a year and has 1/2 m people involved in it.At our place we have 45 10/14 year olds and a waiting list of about 20.

If it was as archaic as you describe then why on earth is it still succesful. The numbers involved in it these days are staggering, and its a voluntary organisation.
timjones - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to timjones) Oh dear. Clearly humour bypassed.As a 10 year old in inner city Leeds, Scouting was considered for pansies.

No humour bypass here. I'm just a little sad that any 10 year olds feel the need to bow to such peer pressure rather than having the balls to get on with their own lives.
lummox - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones: Don't be sad on my behalf. I discovered the countryside and climbing without recourse to any gods or monarchs : )
timjones - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to timjones) Don't be sad on my behalf. I discovered the countryside and climbing without recourse to any gods or monarchs : )

I'm not sad about anyone on an indivdual level it's the collective bowing down to pressure from a few sad tw^ts that I totally fail to understand. You'd need to be a real pansy to let them sway you ;)
Wainers44 - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Garbhanach:
> >
> As an ex scout I would have liked to see them move on and change but they have not so I congratulate the lad for standing up for what he thinks and saying it, if more went down that path then maybe things would change.


So even as an ex Scout you seem to find it hard to see the difference between Scouting and Hitler Youth?? Wow, That must have been some Scout Group you attended!

Being more positive, you didnt say how you think Scouting should change. Care to elaborate?


lummox - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones:
> (In reply to lummox)
> [...]
>
You'd need to be a real pansy to let them sway you ;)

Thus speaks a country boy. You only had cattle trampling you to worry about ; 0
timjones - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to timjones)
> [...]
> You'd need to be a real pansy to let them sway you ;)
>
> Thus speaks a country boy. You only had cattle trampling you to worry about ; 0

Strangely enough we can't just spend all our time with the cattle. However the cattle probably do a good job of teaching you how to react to the idiots you meet in other areas of life. Act with confidence and they don't have the balls to do anything about it ;)
lummox - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones: Hmm, you clearly aren't familiar with Chapeltown ; 0
timjones - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to timjones) Hmm, you clearly aren't familiar with Chapeltown ; 0

It's not about place it's about the mentaility of this type of moron. They are invariably cowardly at heart and will back down if you stand your ground.
lummox - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones: Sadly Tim, that's bollocks. Too many people killed or injured but I commend your sentiments.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Two points come to mind here.

May be this thing is another example of kids growing up to quickly.
As an 11 year old I wasn't to bothered about religion, I was interested in being with my mates, football, canoeing, camping, climbing, fell walking, etc so I joined the scouts, made my oath & grew up so far to be reasonably normal 52 year old.
It seems to me that young Georges parents (or somebody around him with influence) have denied him part of his child hood, the question of "when he's grown up enough he can choose for himself" shouldn't have come up at 11 years of age, it should have been more of "if you want to join the scouts ok".

Now the question has be raised in his scout troop, it could be argued that what has worked for x years is now threatened by one 11 year old. Why? I hear you say. Well this & every other scout troop is lead by adult volunteers, they run the troop according to their views & the rules of scouting, if one or more children hold different views then they have two options, shut up and get on with it or they can leave and find another troop or a willing adult who has similair views to themselves and is willing to set up and run a scout troop. Please understand that the adult leaders may and in this particular instance do seem to hold equally strong views, young George may end up closing his local scout troop down, by denieing the adult leaders their rights.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> It seems to me that young Georges parents (or somebody around him with influence) have denied
> him part of his child hood, the question of "when he's grown up enough he can choose for himself"
> shouldn't have come up at 11 years of age, it should have been more of "if you want to join the scouts ok".

As far as one can tell from the reports the parents did indeed say "if you want to join the scouts ok" -- indeed he had been attending -- and it was then a discussion between the boy and the scout leader that led to the difficulty, and that George was the one who decided not to take the oath. So is what you're saying that the parents should force him to?

> it could be argued that what has worked for x years is now threatened by one 11 year old.

This issue is much wider than one boy, indeed some countries have deliberately created an alternative promise. If some national scout movements think that that is worth doing then it concerns more than one boy.

> young George may end up closing his local scout troop down, by denieing the adult leaders their rights.

By denying the leaders their rights to require belief in god? I'd be sympathetic if there were any genuine beliefs and religious activity that the scouts require, but in practice there isn't, their acceptance is so wide (Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains) that the required beliefs amount to very little, and this is really only prejudice against the non-religious.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It could be argued that George had already been less than honest, there is not secret with regards to Scouting & the church so why had he been going for several months? Why didn't he just accept that this is not what I want and just leave? The fact that it has got to us discussing it on here suggests that he or somebody around him is attepting to force the issue.

Some countries have banned scouting, just because they have should we?
Scouting is lead by a governing body who hold certain views, some may find those views old fashioned, but there is nothing to stop those people from setting up an alternative organisation. But they'd rather force their views onto the governing body & it supporters. Its much easier & means they don't have to do any of the hard work involved in setting up & running such an organisation.

Scoutings governing body believe that there is only one god, as far as I am aware they don't dictate as to which religion you worship that god by. Like I said if you hold such strong views set up your own alternative.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> there is not secret with regards to Scouting & the church so why had he been going for several months?

What is a "secret" and what an 11-yr-old might have become aware of are different things. There are posters up thread who weren't aware of any religious angle in Scouting, and in many troops there isn't any.

> Why didn't he just accept that this is not what I want and just leave?

Maybe because he does want all the actual scout activities, just not a part of an oath that is pretty unrelated to those activities?

> Some countries have banned scouting, just because they have should we?

That's an irrelevant question. My reference to scouting in other nations was to demonstrate that this issue is wider than one boy.

> Scoutings governing body believe that there is only one god ...

No, actually they don't. Scouting worldwide is much broader than monotheism and includes religions with lots of gods or none. For example they allow Hindus and they allow Buddhists, indeed they allow Buddhists to say an alternative oath of "Duty to my Dharma", where "Dharma" is not the name of a god but means "teachings", so the phrase means roughly "duty to my religious principles".

So, they're happy with kids who don't believe "there is only one god" so long as they're religious. But a non-religious boy is not ok. That is not a "strong principle" it is just prejudice against the non-religious.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So, they're happy with kids who don't believe "there is only one god" so long as they're religious.
> But a non-religious boy is not ok.

I should qualify that -- a non-religious boy who is willing to take the oath insincerely is of course ok, no further questions will be asked. It's only the non-religious boys who have enough principle to feel that being insincere is inappropriate who they won't accept.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I can only go from my experience, the experince of my kids & grandson, all the troops in my home town were affilated to a church & went to church parade (my son's went to troops in the town as well) my grandsons troop also goes to church parade & its in Begium.

> Maybe because he does want all the actual scout activities, just not a part of an oath that is pretty unrelated to those activities?

Not sure what point your trying to make here, except what ever the child wants give it to him. I wonder if he had a problem with the uniform as well? Or the salute.... maybe he'd prefer a two fingured V.

>That's an irrelevant question. My reference to scouting in other nations was to demonstrate that this issue is wider than one boy.

I asked the question so it is irrelevant, its just you can't or don't want to answer it.

I won't copy your next point, but in answer I would say that the governing body has not dictated what god is they have left that open to different religions. Not sure how you came up with the last paragraph, its just a case of they hold views that you & others may or may not believe in, their not forcing you or any one else to change your views, unlike you.

I also noticed that you ignored the possability of setting up your own alternative to scouting. Like I said, a lot of work & requires a lot of time & effort, much easier to force your views onto others, isn't it?
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> I should qualify that -- a non-religious boy who is willing to take the oath insincerely is of course ok, no further questions will be asked. It's only the non-religious boys who have enough principle to feel that being insincere is inappropriate who they won't accept.

Didn't see this before I responded.
My point was that at 11 years old, it probably shouldn't be to high on his/her list of priorities, its not a case of being insincere or dishonest. As I said, George had been going to scouts for 10 months so he will have been aware of the oath & almost certainly what it contained.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

Whoops...

Obviously should have read "I asked the question so it is relevant, its just you can't or don't want to answer it."
wilkie14c - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
coel, I totally fail to see what this thread has to do with people from liverpool.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> Obviously should have read "I asked the question so it is relevant, its just you can't or
> don't want to answer it."

OK, then I'll answer the question. No, we should not ban scouting just because some other countries have.

Now, wasn't that answer so obvious that it wasn't worth the trouble of me typing it out? (Which is why I didn't bother the first time.)
beardy mike - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison: No the question is why it has any relevance whatsoever. Surely the purpose of the scouts is to introduce kids to the outdoors and to help them through some difficult teenage years, so that they become decent upstanding members of society, without prejudices and with an open mind to the fantastic world which surrounds us, no matter what they believe (which includes believing there is no god). Having an oath that in itself is prejudiced does not really reflect that intent, instead it says everything you need to know about it, that there is a religious (and for that matter a nationalistic) motivation over and above just helping kids. I would say that's rather unfortunate. It seems this kid actually understands the meaning of an oath unlike most other kids and feels he doesn't want to lie by taking the oath which he knows he can't uphold.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> all the troops in my home town were affilated to a church & went to church parade

Some troops are sponsored by churches and have significant religious content. Other troops are not and don't.

> Not sure what point your trying to make here, except what ever the child wants give it to him.

No, the point is that there should not be unnecessary barriers to kids participating in scouting. Since there is no fundamental principle here (which one can see by the fact that Buddhists are allowed to take an oath that does not refer to any gods), this unnecessary barrier should not be there.

> the governing body has not dictated what god is they have left that open to different religions.

Which is where they've abandoned any sort of principle, especially when they're ok with religions such as Buddhism which don't even have a god (at least in many variants).

> I also noticed that you ignored the possability of setting up your own alternative to scouting.

Scouting is a charity in this country, and gets some public subsidy, and to me those things come with responsibilities not to have unnecessary barriers to participation.
Garbhanach - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Wainers44:
> (In reply to Garbhanach)
> [...]
>
>
> So even as an ex Scout you seem to find it hard to see the difference between Scouting and Hitler Youth?? Wow, That must have been some Scout Group you attended!
>
> Being more positive, you didnt say how you think Scouting should change. Care to elaborate?

The point I was making is that when scouting first started it was similar to Hitler youth and doing your duty for God, country and the monarchy was part of the propaganda of the that time. Now I and quite a few posters above think these oaths should be dropped , I thought that the changes wanted were obvious.

Personally though interested in helping youngsters find confidence and adventure in the wilds I wouldn't do it through Scouting due to the oaths, and Scouting might be popular but the Scouts are lacking leaders in some areas I am sure many potential leaders are either barred or put off because of the God and Queen oaths, so it's the kids that are missing out in the end which is a pity.


IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Not really, If you had typed
"No, we should not ban scouting just because some other countries have."
In you original answer, you's have typed less letters than
"That's an irrelevant question. My reference to scouting in other nations was to demonstrate that this issue is wider than one boy."

Enough of the pettyness.

Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> Enough of the pettyness.

My original answer explained why your question was entirely irrelevant to anything I had said.

crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> Scouting is lead by a governing body who hold certain views, some may find those views old fashioned, but there is nothing to stop those people from setting up an alternative organisation.

The "fit in or f*ck off" approach (as it was called above) that you advocate for those unwilling to pay lip service to a god will undoubtedly persuade some kids to take the latter option. While that doesn't bother you, you might find that potential leaders and assistants also don't offer to help out, for which the scouting association suffers.

The scouting movement is quite within its rights to adopt the FI or FO policy (at least I presume they are) but it will be interesting to see how moral this approach is deemed to be in 20 or 30 years (here's a guess: substitute Jew for atheist and compare).

> But they'd rather force their views onto the governing body & it supporters.

You seem to imply that no-one currently in scouting agrees with this boy. And yet leaders and parents are just normal people, who might like their kids to be taught to respect the Scout Laws, but perhaps don't see the necessity or logic in forcing kids to swear an oath that they don't believe. Witness the number of people on this thread who are involved in scouts and didn't realise there was a religious connection!

> Scoutings governing body believe that there is only one god, as far as I am aware they don't dictate as to which religion you worship that god by.

They believe there's only one god? (but they don't know which one it is?) Do they make Hindus and Buddhists choose their favourite god and worship that one then?

The governing body are of course way behind the curve, but they've already realised that they can't get away with discriminating against Jews and Muslims and so on. (Some of them might even think that Jews and Muslims can have morals, even though they don't derive from Christianity? Hannah S, you might like to clarify?)

> Like I said if you hold such strong views set up your own alternative.

It's not for me to decide. Although I have helped out with scouts in the past I'm not able to at the moment (and would think twice about it as it currently stands). But it's only a tiny step from where they are now to do away with all the god-waffle and concentrate on what's important, neatly summarised by the Scout Laws and I think this change will come from within sooner rather than later.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I believe that I did mention my experince of troops was that they were all affiliated to churches. I was not aware that some weren't.

You keep ignoring the point, set up your own movement, don't force your views onto others. I'm sure the government will give you subsidies as well. Who knows your brand may be better than theirs, but it will be "your" organisation set up "your" way just like scouting is "their" organisation set up "their" way.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

> The scouting movement is quite within its rights to adopt the FI or FO policy (at least I presume they are)

Well they are, just, owing to a specific exemption which they asked for and got in the Equality Act 2010 as it applies to charities.

Section 193: "It is not a contravention of this Act for a charity to require members, or persons wishing to become members, to make a statement which asserts or implies membership or acceptance of a religion or belief ... [this] applies only if ... the charity, or an organisation of which it is part, first imposed such a requirement before 18 May 2005."

> it will be interesting to see how moral this approach is deemed to be in 20 or 30 years

That above provision, that it is only legal for a charity to do it provided they were already doing it before 2005, gives some indication how this might be viewed in the future. Is it moral to do something that would be illegal if you started doing it now?

Note also how specific the wording is, namely "make a statement which asserts or implies" -- in other words a charity cannot require its members to *have* such a belief, nor can it require them to participate in any religious activities, but they can require the "statement which asserts".
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> You keep ignoring the point, set up your own movement, don't force your views onto others.

However, modern equality legislation is very much about "forcing" societal standards on others. To be a charity comes with obligations, so does being an employer, so does providing a public service. As I said up-thread, Sainsbury's cannot refuse to hire women or refuse to serve blacks just because it is a private organisation.

The point is that Scouting has no actual principle on this issue, any such principle has long been diluted to the point of vacuity, all they have is prejudice, and that is incompatible with being a major, nationwide charity.
timjones - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to lummox:
> (In reply to timjones) Sadly Tim, that's bollocks. Too many people killed or injured but I commend your sentiments.

So how many people have been killed or injured for daring to attend Scouts?
beardy mike - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison: What's setting a new group up got to do with anything. It's irrelevant what climate the scouts were set up in which was undoubtedly more unquestioningly religious and nationalistic - the world is no longer the same and is a more accepting place. Why would the scouts not wish to promote unquestioning equality? Who knows, they may even convince a few unbelievers?
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear.
Scouting has a governing body (no idea how its selected or who its is), they hold certain views & scouting by and large "seems" to stick to those views, at least in public. I hope I have not given the impression that I wholey or in part agree with the, my views are my own & not up for discussion. There may even be some within scouting (possibly even people on the governing body) who don't agree with the present course. I assume that there will be some discussion(s) within the governing body, districts, etc as to the future direction of scouting, not just with regards to religion.
What is the alternative to the FIFO approach? Don't forget that some people want their children to belong to a scouting movement with religion.
The descission must come from within, but I guess that the media will dictate the outcome, as it so often does.

I am not saying that young George or those that agree with his views are wrong, just that there is a very real likelyhood that scouting will be forced to move against its wishes, when it has done nothing to stop those of opposing views to set up their own alternative.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If scouting has no principle to speak of on this issue then the governing body will be able to overrule the troop leaders.
If the troop leader(s) is showing illegal prejudice then that can be dealt with in the proper legal manner.
My guess is that neither of these is true.

I agree that the world is a very different place from when scouting started, but it does not mean that anyone has the right to force it to drop its legally held values.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

Why should they change?
They have rights just like everyone else. Your comments are biased to the point of denying that they have any rights to stay as they are, they may be out of touch ... or not. Thjats their choice, in their organisation, if you hold different views set up your own organisation. Otherwise your even worse than they are.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> Don't forget that some people want their children to belong to a scouting movement with religion.

But it already isn't one. There is no requirement a for scout to be religious or participate in religion or to agree with any particular religious doctrines, the only requirement is to take an oath with some very vague religious content. That is not enough religion to amount to anything.

> there is a very real likelyhood that scouting will be forced to move against its wishes

Note that UK Scouting has never held a poll of its adult volunteers on this issue. I suspect that you'd find that many, perhaps most, would readily accept a change.

The reason they won't change is affiliation to the World Organisation of Scouting Movements, who won't allow it (err, except for certain countries who have got away with having the "God" bit optional) -- and the reason the WOSM won't allow it is that it is heavily influenced by highly religious America. And America's BSA is, in turn, dominated by certain denominations such as the Mormons who require all their children to take part in scouting and so sponsor vast numbers of troops.

So, I can't really see much actual principle or genuine required religious content in any of that. It would indeed be interesting for the Scout Association to poll its volunteers on this.
Ramblin dave - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
As far as I can tell, noone's suggesting that the Scouts be forced to change by some as yet unstated agency, more that their governing body is out of touch with the general membership, and that if this sort of thing keeps happening then they're likely to lose a lot of leaders and helpers, which would be of much greater detriment to the movement (and to society as a whole).

Also that by insisting on keeping a non-specifically religious element to the promise, the people responsible for this decision are being hypocritical. They aren't maintaining it as an organisation that promotes their specific (Christian) beliefs, since they've already accepted that people who believe that Christians are worshippers of a demon sent from hell to trick humanity into eternal damnation (or something like that) can be members and also people who don't believe in any sort of God but are willing to lie occasionally, they're just maintaining a rather arbitrary exclusion based on their prejudice. There's no law against being hypocritical but it'd help if people admitted that this was what's happening.

Actually, I'd go the other way and suggest that any nominally Christian scout or scout leader who doesn't regularly attend church should be excluded from the organisation. If they're going to get on a high horse about their right to set their own rules, they should be willing to stick to them.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You are making a very broad inaccurate statement, the oath mentions god, therefore the intention is there, all be it loosely. It is not held by all leaders, troops, etc that does not mean that the GB does want it to be, just that it isn't enforced (or enforcable). How much religion should there be? to allow the GB the right to govern their own organisation?

As far as I am aware scouting has never been a democracy (although I bet its not a dictatorship either). And I have no doubt that many leaders disagree with its present position on many issues. But I would imagine that the leaders can put pressure on the GB on strongly held views and get the changes they require.

What other countries do is upto them, using the arguement of this country has done this & that country has done that is even worse than sticking your head in the sand. It leads to indecission & tells everybody that you have no values or at least none that you feel are worth while getting your hands dirty for.

You entire arguement seems to be anti-religious, which is your right. Just like the governing body of scouting has its rights, however weak they may be.
Remember they aren't denieing you your rights, they're just saying not in their organisation.
Wainers44 - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Garbhanach:
> (In reply to Wainers44)
> [...]
>
> The point I was making is that when scouting first started it was similar to Hitler youth and doing your duty for God, country and the monarchy was part of the propaganda of the that time. Now I and quite a few posters above think these oaths should be dropped , I thought that the changes wanted were obvious.

I am staggered that you draw that comparison based only on duty etc. Hitler Youth had just so many other undertones that I think that to compare them is ridiculous....and actually insulting.

If the only changes you had in mind were related to the oaths issue then fair enough but I thought you were making a wider point.

There are some interesting views on here, and I suppose it has made me think about what is being sworn and why. However given other things going on right now, in a society who's laws dictate that it must pay prisoners compensation for denying them the vote while failing to deal with a serial child sex offender so prominent that he must be known to 99% of its population, I think I will save my anxiety for other problems.

Scouting allows access to outdoor activities long since dropped from most education programmes. Yes its a bit quirky and not to the tastes of some, but in my view long may that continue!
crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> Sorry, I didn't make myself clear...<snip>

Thanks for the explanation, I see where you're coming from better now.

> What is the alternative to the FIFO approach? Don't forget that some people want their children to belong to a scouting movement with religion.

I think/hope that the FI criteria will be widened so as to ensure that fewer kids like George have to FO. The basic values of the modern scouting movement don't seem to me to be in contradiction to any reasonable religious or humanistic worldviews, and seems to value openness and inclusivity.

I'm sure that some practising Christians might prefer an actively Christian movement -- Bear himself is sometimes given the 7:45 bollocks-spouting platform on the Today program -- but many of them will be happy with the current more inclusive policy of "anything vaguely religious". In any case, I suspect that they are also in a small minority in the scouting movement, as with the rest of the UK.

> The descission must come from within, but I guess that the media will dictate the outcome, as it so often does.

Some of those on this thread arguing for greater inclusivity are or have been within, remember.

I don't see why you think the media will dictate the outcome though. They don't dictate the outcome on other issues of discrimination in privite charities, like the CoE and the Catholic Church.

> I am not saying that young George or those that agree with his views are wrong, just that there is a very real likelyhood that scouting will be forced to move against its wishes, when it has done nothing to stop those of opposing views to set up their own alternative.

Scouting as a whole will decide. Where does force come into it?

If a majority of leaders and parents put pressure on the leadership to change, is that force? Surely the leaders and parents (and kids!) ARE the scouting movement, not Bear and the guys at the top?
captain paranoia - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to timjones:

> I'm not sad about anyone on an indivdual level it's the collective bowing down to pressure [...] that I totally fail to understand.

Sorry, I'm confused now. Are you talking about bowing down to collective pressure from those saying Scouting is for pansies, or bowing down to collective pressure from those saying you should make a false oath to God and Country just to become a Scout...?
Christheclimber - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I read in the Telegraph that he didn't believe in God because he didn't believe that the world was made in six days.
I know he is only 11 but this is a naive viewpoint considering the majority of Christians don't believe the world was made in six days either.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Who said it was out of touch with the general membership? As far as I aware no such statement was made in the press report that started this discussion, just that the boy, his parents & it would seem the reporter didn't agree that the boy should have to make an oath involving god. Or is the one wannabe scout now representative of the views of all scouts & scout leaders through out the country? Even the reporter didn't go that far. My point is simply that this boy, his parents, the reporter or memebrs of UKClimbing do not have the right to dictate how scouting should be run in this country. (There may be some UKCers who may be eligible to have a view on this, scouts & parents of scouts).

Your quite right "There's no law against being hypocritical".

Not sure about our leaders but we were, well it was 3 strikes & your out, if I remember correctly.

captain paranoia - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> You are making a very broad inaccurate statement, the oath* mentions god, therefore the intention is there, all be it loosely.

I think you should have a look at the links to the Scouting Association I posted earlier, and check out the variations to the Oath that are allowed. It may be that when you were a scout all those years ago, 'God' was the only choice, and it meant a Christian God. Things have changed...

*Of course, an oath has to make some reference to a deity; that's the definition. I was surprised to learn this when doing jury service recently, and discovered I couldn't make a non-religious oath; I had to make a rather long-winded affirmation.

oath oth,
noun a solemn appeal to a god or something holy or reverenced as witness or sanction of the truth of a statement;

(c) Larousse plc. All rights reserved

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sworn_testimony

Oath:
I swear by [substitute Almighty God/Name of God (such as Allah) or the name of the holy scripture] that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Affirmation:
I do solemnly and sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


beardy mike - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison: Er, no they don't, they are legally required to be non discriminatory. Their oath is clearly and openly discriminatory.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

I am forever gratefull to the guys who ran my scout troop, they opened my eyes to a world I wouldn't have seen in an industrial new town. If all scout troops & their leaders are like mine I would recommend it to any parent. I have a problem with outside influences putting pressure onto the GB, the pressure should come from scouts & troop leaders not from an 11 year old boy and a reporter.

I think you will agree that the media can pick and choose what issues it can discriminate against & when. To a large degree they can also dictate the outcome by what they choose to make people aware of. As an example consider the recent story of tax avoidance by senior Civil Servants, as a media story it was going fine until somebody mentioned that many reporters especially at the BBC used the same method of tax avoidance... then the story dissappeared.

Force may seem to be to strong a word, but if an organisation makes a descission at a pace not of its own making then I believe that "force" is correct. The pressure is not at present from the leadership or indeed the membership, its from an 11 year old boy who is not a scout and a reporter.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Sorry, I must be really bad at making myself clear.

I am not attempting to comment on what the content of the oath or oaths should be. I don't believe I have professed my own beliefs in this matter. Infact the only point I have consistantly tried to make is that I believe that the governing body has the right to decide for itself. Hopefully after consulting with district & troop leaders.

IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

So you claim that their oath is illegal, report it to the authorities.

I think you'll find your wrong.

loopyone on 24 Oct 2012 - host86-137-190-93.range86-137.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Coel Hellier: Scouts are a membership organisation they are entitled to have criteria for joining. If you can't bring yourself to say the scout promise then find something else to do instead.
loopyone on 24 Oct 2012 - host86-137-190-93.range86-137.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Note that UK Scouting has never held a poll of its adult volunteers on this issue. I suspect that you'd find that many, perhaps most, would readily accept a change.

I think your wrong about this. Certainly around these parts a lot of the scout, cub, beaver, brownie and guide leaders belong to local churches because no one else is prepared to give up the time to run them.
crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> I am forever gratefull to the guys who ran my scout troop,...

So you've been to scouts and thought it was a good thing. Me too. Do you think it's fair/decent/right then that that opportunity be offered to children who have been brought up to believe in a single god, or a 3-in-1 god, or a god-plus-prophet, or a mortal who achieved enlightenment, or elephant and monkey gods, or a god who spent some time in the US, or a god created by a science fiction writer; but not to a child brought up with belief in any of those things?

> I think you will agree that the media can pick and choose what issues it can discriminate against & when.

I don't think "discriminate against" is the right phrase here. They certainly choose what stories to cover according to their biases (and to maximise revenue). But the media comprises bodies that cover the whole spectrum of public opinion.

> To a large degree they can also dictate the outcome by what they choose to make people aware of. As an example consider the recent story of tax avoidance by senior Civil Servants, as a media story it was going fine until somebody mentioned that many reporters especially at the BBC used the same method of tax avoidance... then the story dissappeared.

There are plenty of newspaper that like nothing better than bashing the BBC - take at look at almost any of them right now! I actually find the BBC is pretty good at reporting its own mistakes. Much more so than any other daily paper.

> Force may seem to be to strong a word, but if an organisation makes a descission at a pace not of its own making then I believe that "force" is correct. The pressure is not at present from the leadership or indeed the membership, its from an 11 year old boy who is not a scout and a reporter.

The 11 year old boys are not there for the convenience of the governing body, whose 'rights' you seem to think are under threat. The governing body is there for the convenience of the boys (and girls now apparently). And just because you only heard of this problem through this post today doesn't mean it's only about this single lad. As Coel's pointing out many times, plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy.
crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to tatty112:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier) Scouts are a membership organisation they are entitled to have criteria for joining. If you can't bring yourself to say the scout promise then find something else to do instead.

What do you think about the fact that other countries have changed the promise then? Should the Muslims and Jews have been kept out?
thin bob on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
None of the people I was in Scouts with were religious, as far as I could tell. We already had 'church of england-style' prayers at school, so repeating the same stuff at cubs, scouts wasn't a big deal when ijoined.

Then I had to pretend to be religious to carry on doing the outdoor stuff I loved, i.e. reciting the promise, prayers at meetings, church parade a few times a year. So it taught me to be deceptive as well :-).

I only found out how religious my old scout leader was when i attended his funeral.

I would lie again if I joined again today as a scout; although a couple of guide-leader friends participate without being overtly religious, I won't lie to be a leader.

It's a great shame that people are excluded from such a great experience when 'god' could be replaced with a statement of belief in truth, honesty, empathy etc.
thin bob on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney: well said. why should religious activity and outdoors activity be conditional? About as relevant as whether you have brown sauce or tomato sauce on a bacon sandwich. Or no sauce. or no bacon.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

I think I have made my position clear several times now, my views on religion and how it should or should not be part of the oath are mine & not open for discussion.

On the BBC I saw BBC reporters defending the manner they have chosen to receive payment by. The reason they gave was because they also received money from other media sources, I assumed that could include newspapers. Funny, none of the papers showed this story & the BBC seemed to kill it within 24 hours.

I agree about the governing body being there for the children, but that doesn't mean that the children should dictate the standards the organisation professes or attempts to hold.
Again as I have already stated, I am not interested in what other counties have done. You & Coel both seem to have already decided how the discussion will end "plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy", nice to know your open minded about this.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to thin bob:
Sacrilege!!!!! You should be hung, drawn & quartered. Its got to be Brown sauce on Bacon.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Christheclimber:

> I read in the Telegraph that he didn't believe in God because he didn't believe that the world
> was made in six days. I know he is only 11 but this is a naive viewpoint considering the majority
> of Christians don't believe the world was made in six days either.

Well, no, the Telegraph doesn't say "because" there it says "and" there.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> You are making a very broad inaccurate statement, the oath mentions god, therefore the intention
> is there, all be it loosely.

However they allow Buddhists and Hindus to remove the word "god" and say "Duty to my Dharmma" (which in Buddhism does not refer to a god) -- at which point they've abandoned any principle there completely.

> What other countries do is upto them, using the arguement of this country has done this & that country
> has done that is even worse than sticking your head in the sand.

It's not entirely up to each country if they want to affiliate with the WOSM. (Of course they could decide to leave the WOSM.)

> Remember they aren't denieing you your rights

Did I ever say that they were? What they are legally entitled to do is different from what they can be criticised for (cf. aggressive tax avoidance).
thin bob on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> (In reply to thin bob)
> Sacrilege!!!!! You should be hung, drawn & quartered. Its got to be Brown sauce on Bacon.

depends on the bacon, though, surely... ;-)
Go on, try tomato once....just on one half of the buttie...mmmmm, apostacy... :-)
beardy mike - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison: you seem to think the onus is everybody who disagrees with their stance to go and report it or to change it, or start again. It's not - it's up to any society to ensure that they comply with the equality act 2010. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equalities/equality-act/

I draw your attention to this: "The act prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace, when providing goods, facilities and services, when exercising public functions, in the disposal and management of premises, in education and by associations (such as private clubs)."

I.e. it is not up to the society whether they discriminate or not. It is illegal. By saying that you can only join the club if you promise to serve god and country, you are discriminating against those who willingly to not serve god. It is discrimination on the basis of belief or religion, and it IS illegal. Just because they do it doesn't make it less illegal. Just as the general synod recommending that women should not be allowed to become bishops is discrimination. Or that gays should not be allowed to marry.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

> ... and it IS illegal.

Unfortunately not, see my post at 17:08 today.

There's also sections about "protected characteristics" so it's not quite as simple as your post. For example, wouldn't we all agree that a church should be able to discriminate on religious belief over who it employed as a vicar?

crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> I think I have made my position clear several times now, my views on religion and how it should or should not be part of the oath are mine & not open for discussion.

Fair enough. I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from. You don't want to put pressure on or influence an organisation that you're not a member of? Do you think that it is wrong of the media to put pressure on, say, the Vatican to come clean about covering up child abuse? Or is that wholly a matter for the pope, and everyone should keep out?

> On the BBC I saw BBC reporters defending the manner they have chosen to receive payment by. The reason they gave was because they also received money from other media sources, I assumed that could include newspapers. Funny, none of the papers showed this story & the BBC seemed to kill it within 24 hours.

I've just looked this up. Predictably it appears in all the usual BBC-bashers, so the story did not just 'disappear'.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9601237/BBC-pay-shake-up-after-tax-row.html
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/350171/BBC-allows-25-000-staff-to-avoid-tax-
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3564745.ece
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2174268/148-BBC-stars-avoiding-tax-MPs-attack-immoral-tactic...

> Again as I have already stated, I am not interested in what other counties have done.

Can you clarify which point you are replying to? That makes discussion a lot easier.

> You & Coel both seem to have already decided how the discussion will end "plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy", nice to know your open minded about this.

What? What you've written makes no sense.
Coel Hellier - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> I am not interested in what other counties have done. You & Coel both seem to have already decided how
> the discussion will end "plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy",
> nice to know your open minded about this.

Can I repeat for the third time -- the first time you accused me of evading the question and the second time you accused me of pettiness -- that my mention that the change had been made in other countries was NOT meaning "and therefore so should we", but was instead a rebuttal of the idea that this is only about *one* boy. It isn't. The fact that other Scouting movements have deliberately allowed alternative oaths shows that the issue is very much wider than ONE 11-yr-old.
crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Good point.

And aren't 11-yr-olds allowed to hold a naive viewpoint? They are 11-yr-olds after all.

In any case, religion is often taught/indoctrinated to children in a very naive way: at school and sunday school we were led to believe that all these stories are literally true, by the same people that teach us about spelling and counting and it's only when we grew up enough to question the more ludicrous claims that the vicar or teacher in assembly retreats to metaphor/allegory/hand-waving.
thin bob on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Good point.
>
> And aren't 11-yr-olds allowed to hold a naive viewpoint? They are 11-yr-olds after all.
>
> In any case, religion is often taught/indoctrinated to children in a very naive way: at school and sunday school we were led to believe that all these stories are literally true, by the same people that teach us about spelling and counting and it's only when we grew up enough to question the more ludicrous claims that the vicar or teacher in assembly retreats to metaphor/allegory/hand-waving.

i felt it was a load of old tut before I was 11....'religion' taught me to lie :-)
I went to a church group for the table-tennis and floor-hockey (yes, and girls)..I got orange squash and a free bible. But no tops & fingers.
What *was* I thinking :-(

IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You already made the point regarding Buddhists and Hindus, it was unnecessary to repeat it. I did say "therefore the intention is there, all be it loosely", I make no attempt to defend their religious belief or otherwise. If you have a legitimate complaint it seems to be that they have failed to ensure that all scout troops don't agree to the narrow view of god you seem to hold.

Then let the WOSM dictate how they should proceed or let them decide to leave the WOSM.

Your correct, you haven't said they have no right to decide but you have openly and repeatedly citicised that right. You have expressed the view that they are wrong & must change their policy. You have not accepted the smallest possibility that you may be wrong & that most scouts, leaders or members of the governing body may hold different views than you. You have shown no evidence of having consulted with even a small minority of scouts, leaders or the governing body. You have come across as holding prejudiced views against scouts governing body based on little more than the fact that thier oath(s) are not totally adheared to.

Again I say, I make no attempt to defend what views they hold only that they have the right to hold those views. They don't go out, grab children off the streets and drag them into scout meetings. What kind of lesson are you giving to young people? Its okay to join a group then once your in it force it to change, why don't you look into the possabilities of my suggestion... set up your own organisation based on your principles.
IanHarrison - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

The question regarding the Vatican is a criminal matter & had to be brought out.

Thanks for the coverage on the reporters tax avoidance.

> Can you clarify which point you are replying to? That makes discussion a lot easier.

I believe I did that further down, you had stated "plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy", you & Coel seem to be suggesting that because other countries had already had the debate & decided to change their policies then when we have the debate here in the UK the conclussion will be the same. I have read what I wrote several times now & it make perfect sense.
crossdressingrodney - on 24 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
> The question regarding the Vatican is a criminal matter & had to be brought out.

OK. So the dividing line between when its OK for non-members to publically criticise an institution and when its not, is when the institution's behaviour crosses into criminality?

> Thanks for the coverage on the reporters tax avoidance.

No problem. It would be odd if those papers had chosen not to put the boot in!

> I believe I did that further down, you had stated "plenty of other countries have already had this debate and changed the policy", you & Coel seem to be suggesting that because other countries had already had the debate & decided to change their policies then when we have the debate here in the UK the conclussion will be the same.

Thank you for quoting!

No, that's not why I mentioned other countries. It was to counter a couple of claims made earlier. One of them, Coel addressed above: you (and others) were claiming that it is only this single 11-yr-old and a single journalist making a fuss. Clearly this is not the case if other countries have changed their policy.

Secondly because it illustrates that this policy is not the result of some deeply held principle, since they've already been changed in various places around the world.

> I have read what I wrote several times now & it make perfect sense.

It makes grammaticl sense, but not logical sense. I have an opinion on what the eventual outcome of this debate might be (albeit based only on my personal experience of scouting and others on this thread). How could making such a prediction preclude me being open-minded?
lazzaw - on 25 Oct 2012
George (the boy involved) lives at the end of my street. Friends who know him better tell me that it was him who raised the objection to saying the oath.

Interestingly George told one of his friends a few weeks ago that he was thinking of quitting the Scouts as he wasn't really enjoying it. I wouldn't like to speculate on whether that had any impact on his reluctance to say the promise.

I am told that the local scout group has made great efforts to allow him to continue at Scouts, offering various ways of interpreting the oath that he would not find objectionable. The group has 'gone higher' and have been told that saying the promise is an absolute requirement to being invested - the decision of saying the oath or not is out of the Scout group's hands.

George has been going to the Scouts for several months. Apparently after a year or so the group has had to insist that attendees are invested as Scouts. His parents could have found out about the contents of the promise if they had crossed the road in the last year to go the the Scout hall (and indeed he could have been invested or left according to his conscience if they had found out about the requirements earlier). One of his friends who started attending at the same time was invested months ago. George's brother may have continued as Scouts if he hadn't been asked to leave after non-payment of subs over a considerable period of time.

I am pleased to report that George has interests outside of the Scouts. Today he was singing in a local Church and his choir are looking forward to learning carols for Christmas, which will they will begin in a couple of weeks time
IanHarrison - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

> OK. So the dividing line between when its OK for non-members to publically criticise an institution and when its not, is when the institution's behaviour crosses into criminality?

We all criticise institutions we are not members of, but at what point does that criticism become destructive. I would suggest that once the media starts to get involved, they take one side & "raise awareness" to such a degree that the organisation is "forced" to change its position.

> No, that's not why I mentioned other countries. It was to counter a couple of claims made earlier. One of them, Coel addressed above: you (and others) were claiming that it is only this single 11-yr-old and a single journalist making a fuss. Clearly this is not the case if other countries have changed their policy.

But those other children were in other countries, George is the only one in the UK the report mentions. You seem to be assuming that these other countries made their changes because of "pressure" from scouts or media in those countries, do you have any evidence for this? Your arguement suggests that if secondary school children in 20 countries around the world don't have to wear school uniforms then we must have the same dicussion here in the UK and ban them.

> Secondly because it illustrates that this policy is not the result of some deeply held principle, since they've already been changed in various places around the world.

The governing body for scouting seems to have a realistic view that although scouting may be applicable in most countries, it may need ammendmant in others. You might like to consider this, are their scouting organisations in Mouslem countries & if so do they allow girls?

By the way which other countries & what has eached changed the wording to?

> How could making such a prediction preclude me being open-minded?

On reflection your are correct, it does not preclude you from being open minded.
I do however wonder what comments you or Coel would make it your prediction was shown to be wrong.

The problem is that young George wants to join but can't because of his strong beliefs, so he can't change it from the inside.
This leads us to another question does he, you or I have the right to require changes an organisation while not being a member of that organisation.
Lets say George was a scout & had reached the tender age of 14 (I believe this is the age they go upto Venture scouts), would you agree that the Scouts must change their age limits to allow him to remain within his scout troop if he wished?
beardy mike - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Only in the sense that a vicar needs to be able to perform their duties. The pre-requisite for that would be believing in god, and wanting to help people follow their faith, but not being a woman, gay, black or having a criminal record. To be able to help kids through life, and become a better, more compassionate, well adjusted person you don't need to believe in god. And in the case of the child they aren't employing anybody, they are serving.
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IanHarrison - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

Have you seen Lazzaw's comments?

Like many youngsters George has conflicts, but it would now seem he nolonger has problems with religion.

The sceptic in me would suggest a reporter smelt a story, and as we all know a good reporter "never lets the truth get in the way of a good story".
beardy mike - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: PS, having reread your post at 1708, it seems very odd that the government would make a caveat like that - it's basically say that discrimination is ok as long as it's been going on for a while!
marsbar - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: I don't think it is to do with the American BSA, because there is a very big difference here that they wouldn't like if they had any say, we have a clear positive statement and policy towards gay members and leaders.

It may seem to you that the religious side is too vague to be meaningful, to me that's actually a good thing. Personally I think organised religion has a lot to answer for, but I don't think being spiritual, whatever that means to you as a person, is a bad thing. As for the connection to the outdoors, don't people say they are closer to God in the mountains? It's certainly a way to feel peace, to see the world a different way, to clear your head.
Coel Hellier - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> If you have a legitimate complaint it seems to be that they have failed to ensure that all scout
> troops don't agree to the narrow view of god you seem to hold.

I don't have a "narrow view" of god, indeed I don't have any view of "god" really. And it isn't "scout troops" which form a view on god, it's individual scouts.

> You already made the point regarding Buddhists and Hindus, it was unnecessary to repeat it.

I'll now repeat it again. They allow Buddhists to take an oath which does not refer to *any* view of "god". That's not just interpreting "god" broadly, it's diluting any principle to the point of vacuity.

> ... you have openly and repeatedly citicised that right.

It's a free country where I'm entitled to criticise them if I so wish.

> You have expressed the view that they are wrong & must change their policy.

I haven't used the word "must", but yes I do think they are wrong.

> You have shown no evidence of having consulted with even a small minority of scouts, leaders or the governing body.

Amazing! Have a look at the title I put on this thread. I'll repeat it for you: "Any Scouters care to comment?". That is "consulting" the many scout leaders who read UKC.

Coel Hellier - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> George is the only one in the UK the report mentions.

Look, if you aren't aware that this sort of issue crops up quite often then you've not being paying attention. Yes, this one boy hit the headlines, but it affects plenty of others and has done over the years.

> You seem to be assuming that these other countries made their changes because of "pressure"
> from scouts or media in those countries, do you have any evidence for this?

Yep, that is exactly why they did it and yes it was because of pressure from scouts in those countries. This has been an ongoing topic of debate for decades in many different countries, repeatedly discussed at WOSM etc. It is not a new issue only about one boy!

> does he, you or I have the right to require changes an organisation while not being a member of that organisation.

Can we be clear that no-one has said anything about "requiring" change, it's about *advocating* change. You seem to be suggesting that any sort of criticism or discussion of the issue is illegitimate, well you're wrong on that. Especially concerning what is a UK charity which gets some public subsidy.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to marsbar:

I'd agree with that last sentiment, and think it is a good thing to look to assist younger people developing a 'spiritual' side- in the sense of seeing themselves in the context of a wider universe which is much bigger and older than they are

This may involve god for some people, or it may not. It also may change over time. I suspect what most of us believed when we were 11 has been modified since. It might even be that scouts who start out not believing in god develop a belief through contact with others who have this. What a shame that the scouts don't see this as an opportunity to share their beliefs and so maybe spread them, rather than excluding children who think differently to them.

I'm tempted to ask, what would Jesus
Coel Hellier - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> What a shame that the scouts don't see this as an opportunity to share their beliefs and so maybe
> spread them, rather than excluding children who think differently to them.

Yeah, it's a bit weird. Few religions would demand a formal declaration of faith from an 11-yr-old. CofE confirmation, Catholic confirmation, Jewish Bar Mitzah etc are usually 13 to 17 or so. I'd be astonished if any church in this country told an 11-yr-old that he couldn't attend a church service because he was unsure whether god existed and didn't want to make a formal declaration of faith.
Coel Hellier - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> Have you seen Lazzaw's comments? Like many youngsters George has conflicts, but it would
> now seem he nolonger has problems with religion.

That's not a fair interpretation of Lazzaw's comments. At no stage has it been suggested that George had "problems with religion". All he's said is that *he* does not feel that a religious oath is appropriate for *him* as something that *he* can say sincerely. He hasn't said that he wants Christianity outlawed and all churches closed down.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to marsbar:

I'd agree with that last sentiment, and think it is a good thing to look to assist younger people developing a 'spiritual' side- in the sense of seeing themselves in the context of a wider universe which is much bigger and older than they are

This may involve god for some people, or it may not. It also may change over time. I suspect what most of us believed when we were 11 has been modified since. It might even be that scouts who start out not believing in god develop a belief through contact with others who have this. What a shame that the scouts don't see this as an opportunity to share their beliefs and so maybe spread them, rather than excluding children who think differently to them.

I'm tempted to ask, what would Jesus do in this circumstance. Would Jesus really want 11 year olds, still trying to understand where they fit into the world, turned away from taking part in activities with their friends? Or expect them to lie to fit in?

Cheers

Gregor


I'm tempted to ask, what would Jesus
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Didn't realise I'd made a partial post earlier, I hate using this phone to post!!

marsbar - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: As I said above I like the Irish version.
crossdressingrodney - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:
I think Coel answered most of the points you raised in your last few posts.

> I would suggest that once the media starts to get involved, they take one side & "raise awareness" to such a degree that the organisation is "forced" to change its position.

But "the media" are not some unified mass. For example, I strongly suspect the readership of the Telegraph and probably the Times will agree wholeheartedly with your stance. The red tops don't care about religion or scouting much, the Guardian would probably side with me. The papers are rarely all in accord, especially on an issue like this.

> But those other children were in other countries, George is the only one in the UK the report mentions. You seem to be assuming that these other countries made their changes because of "pressure" from scouts or media in those countries, do you have any evidence for this?

They don't decide to change or keep their policies by flipping a coin. If they changed their policy, they surely had a reason to? My guess would be that they realised that Muslim boys share all the important values of the scouting association, and at the cost of a slight re-wording, they could open up the movement to a large group of boys who would otherwise be excluded.

> Your arguement suggests that if secondary school children in 20 countries around the world don't have to wear school uniforms then we must have the same dicussion here in the UK and ban them.

No. That would be a specious argument, and I think Coel and I both said above (when you asked a similar rhetorical question earlier) that that is not the argument we're making.

But if I felt that school uniforms were somehow immoral (I don't); and if the pro-school-uniform lobby said that it would be totally against the principles of the school uniform movement to allow children not to wear school uniforms; and if in other countries the school uniform movement had actually changed the rules to allow children not to wear school uniforms; then I would point it out.

More importantly, I don't understand why you seem to think that a few people having a discussion will necessarily lead to a ban? It's still up to the school uniform lobby to decide what to do.

> The governing body for scouting seems to have a realistic view that although scouting may be applicable in most countries, it may need ammendmant in others. You might like to consider this, are their scouting organisations in Mouslem countries & if so do they allow girls?

I believe there are scouts in Muslim countries and I believe there are Muslims boys in scout troops in the UK. I don't know if there are specifically Muslim branches of the scouts. I also don't know if they allow girls in scouts or if they have Guides instead, or if they have neither.

Remember that we only allowed girls into scouts relatively recently. Ask some leaders on here, but my impression was that was simply because it's difficult to send mixed groups of teenagers camping without them shagging.

> By the way which other countries & what has eached changed the wording to?

I don't know, I was going by responses on this thread.

> On reflection your are correct, it does not preclude you from being open minded.

Thanks.

> I do however wonder what comments you or Coel would make it your prediction was shown to be wrong.

Mine would be "that's a real shame. I had more faith in the scout movement".

> The problem is that young George wants to join but can't because of his strong beliefs, so he can't change it from the inside.
> This leads us to another question does he, you or I have the right to require changes an organisation while not being a member of that organisation.

Only the law could possible "require changes" from an organisation, not a person. And certainly not George. What power does he have?

> Lets say George was a scout & had reached the tender age of 14 (I believe this is the age they go upto Venture scouts), would you agree that the Scouts must change their age limits to allow him to remain within his scout troop if he wished?

No.
Coel Hellier - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> By the way which other countries & what has eached changed the wording to?

Since you ask: Countries that have an oath or an allowed alternative with no reference to god/religion include: Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, India, Israel, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark and France.
neilh - on 25 Oct 2012
I
>
> Remember that we only allowed girls into scouts relatively recently. Ask some leaders on here, but my impression was that was simply because it's difficult to send mixed groups of teenagers camping without them shagging.
>
Incorrect.For 30/40 years there have been mixed units.The serious changes started over 20 years ago. Most now are mixed 50/50. believe it or not scouting reflects modern society in the UK. It has to, otherwise it dies. As i
Christheclimber - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Christheclimber)

>
> Well, no, the Telegraph doesn't say "because" there it says "and" there.

I have just re-read the article his father actually says "He's a clever child and came to the decision himself. He doesn't believe in God and he doesn't believe that the world was made in seven (sic) days" As I say not many Christians do believe the world was made in seven or even six days.
crossdressingrodney - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to neilh:
> Incorrect.For 30/40 years there have been mixed units.The serious changes started over 20 years ago. Most now are mixed 50/50.

The current 50/50 mix is surprising news to me. Do girls also like to play British Bulldogs?

I don't remember any female scouts in Cumbria in the mid-90s (venture scouts, yes), and I don't seem to remember any on the international jamboree hosted in Cumbria more recently than that. Maybe Cumbria was behind the times? (No!)

Now that I think about it, out troop didn't accept girls; my sister would rather have joined than do flower-arranging and grave-rubbing with the guides. If I remember rightly, I think it was to do with the leader not being comfortable (or maybe allowed?) to take young girls camping.

> believe it or not scouting reflects modern society in the UK. It has to, otherwise it dies.

Great, that's what I'm arguing for too. Reflecting modern society, that is, not dying.

> As i

I hope you didn't suddenly stop reflecting modern society in the middle of your sentence?
marsbar - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney: We don't play British bulldog...
IanHarrison - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to marsbar:

In our troop back in the 70'S we could climb, canoe, scramble, etc but British Bulldog was banned..... it was felt that we were... er, a little over agressive, if I remember correctly multiple broken noses, several broken ribs & 2 broken arms, not all at once... over a 6 month period.
IanHarrison - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to IanHarrison)
>
> [...]
>
> That's not a fair interpretation of Lazzaw's comments. At no stage has it been suggested that George had "problems with religion". All he's said is that *he* does not feel that a religious oath is appropriate for *him* as something that *he* can say sincerely. He hasn't said that he wants Christianity outlawed and all churches closed down.

Of course it is. If he can't say it sincerely he obvioulsy does have a problem with it to some degree.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

he's not richard dawkins, he's an 11 year old kid

like i said, would Jesus really have turned him away? given its christian origins, it seems a remarkably unchristian attitude to take

matthew, chapter 19, verse 14

cheers
gregor
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Neil Williams - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to marsbar:

We do. And yes, the girls play as well.

Neil
marsbar - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Neil Williams: Fair enough. It's not something I've seen played for years.
IanHarrison - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to IanHarrison)
>
> he's not richard dawkins, he's an 11 year old kid
>
> like i said, would Jesus really have turned him away? given its christian origins, it seems a remarkably unchristian attitude to take
>
> matthew, chapter 19, verse 14
>
> cheers
> gregor

Thats probably the most sensible thing I have seen on here regarding this issue.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

thanks Ian!

i was in the scout movement from age 7 to 24, and there was never an overtly religious aspect to our group. we did attend church services on camps at times, but it didnt feel any different to the annual trip to church from school- a piece of routine ceremony. i'm not religious myself, but have no problem with the scouts being a movement that has a religious component to it.

however, i dont think it should exclude children who have no belief- even for purely pragmatic reasons; at that age, spiritual views are still being formed, and maybe the child will be inspired by a good leader and want to find out more about the spiritual aspect, who knows they may even change their mind and find a belief in god. they certainly won't if they are turned away.

but most of all, i dont think they should be excluded for the reason in my post above; i may not be a christian, but i can still see much wisdom in some christian teachings, and i wish that some christian organisations would pay more attention to what these actually say at times!

best wishes

Gregor
Irk the Purist - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

Well back in the mid 90's I went to an international jamboree here in sussex where I did my teenage reputation no favours at all by enjoying several diplomatic incidents with girls of the opposite sex.

I've also been to the world scout jamboree as an adult in the service team working on the subcamps as security/first aid etc . I would estimate from that experience that 50/50 is about right both in the UK and the World.

I guess there are figures if you want to look for them but I would definitely suggest that your memories of Cumbria are skewed or unusual.

In our district there were two groups who took girls and have done since I was a scout (early 90s I started) and certainly when I was a venture scout I was outnumbered as a male for many of the happiest years of my life. In my explorer unit we are normally about 50/50 although not at the moment because we've just had a massive intake of hideous teenage boys.

Coel Hellier - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to IanHarrison:

> Of course it is. If he can't say it sincerely he obvioulsy does have a problem with it to some degree.

There's a big difference between not being a believer and so not wanting to take a faith oath, versus having "problems with religion".
crossdressingrodney - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:

Very interesting.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not in the habit of air-brushing girls from my memory. I certainly remember a few girls on our joint camps, but they were girl guides (being Welsh, no international accords were broken by a few late night tent visits).

But, as you say, my memories (or Cumbria's scouting demographics) could be skewed, if this total lack of girls in the scouts (not ventures) seems unlikely for time and place.
IanHarrison - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

I was born way to early.... girls in scouting!!!!!
We shared a christmas party with the guides once, no idea why it wasn't repeated.

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