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The Boy Scouts at 100

The US division of the Boy Scouts turns 100 today. The movement began in Britain under the leadership of General Robert Baden-Powell. An American publisher, William Boyce, met a Boy Scout in London and was so impressed that he decided to bring scouting to the United States. It grew rapidly during World War I and reached its peak with 6.5 million members in the 1972:

Supporters say the scouting experience builds strong, confident leaders. They point with considerable pride to its roster of former Scouts who went on to great achievement, including President Kennedy, astronaut Neil Armstrong, baseball great Hank Aaron and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

"I think the Scouts have changed America profoundly, because as of now, 110 million people have worn the Scout uniform in one way or another. And the moral lesson and the experiences that have been imparted to them have obviously percolated through society as a whole just too profound to really enumerate," said Wills.


Link via Fast Company | Image: Norman Rockwell

I really enjoyed the scouts as a kid. However I can not support an organization that that discriminates against atheists and homosexuals. I'm really sick of this attitude that atheists are lesser Americans because we don't worship a god.
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I don't support any organization that gives up its beliefs and morals to bow to political correctness. The Boy SCouts have give far mor eto this earth than gays or athiests.
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I went to my hometown BSA banquet this weekend in Huntsville TX. It was absolutely dominated by an overreaching Christian theme. Including a 3 song set by a horribly out of tune Christian Rock band and most awards going to a single homeschooled family of scouts. It was bizarre. Most of the local troops don't even meet in the 100 year old log cabin scout lodge(really nice big building) but instead meet at the church that sponsors the troops. scouts now get the majority of their funding from churches, mostly Mormon. Just have to follow the money to know why scouts have changed.
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As an atheist, I'm sure you don't complain that you can't be a practicing Catholic, right? So what's your problem with not being able to join an organization which has a belief in God as a core principle? Go start your own atheist scouts group or something.

As for homosexuals, the Scout Oath itself says Morally Straight, ie. in keeping with good morals, presumably as defined by the BSA organization. Why would you want to affiliate yourself with a group which is opposed to your own moral compass? Just because you like camping? Organize your own camping group which supports your moral view points.
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"The Boy SCouts have give far mor eto this earth than gays or athiests."

I'll make sure that next time I want to discriminate against someone, that I first donate a lot of money to a good charity.

"I don't support any organization that gives up its beliefs and morals to bow to political correctness."

But, would you support an organization that gives up its beliefs and morals at all? The Boyscouts didn't disallow gay scouts or leaders until the 1990's. Nor did they bar athiests.

The Boy Scouts have a lot to offer as an organization. They provide a service that is very much needed in our society and I can't imagine what would lose if they were to go away. That's why it saddens me even more that some people are not allowed to join and participate in, what could be, a very amazing group. I wish the Boy Scouts would look more to what the Girl Scouts have been doing.
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The Boy Scouts represent growth, character development and leadership training for boys that are at an age when they are learning to become young men. Reverence for a creator and respect for traditional societal values are core foundations for this training. The BSA is one of the finest organizations in our country and they are worth our admiration and support. Happy birthday, Boy Scouts
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Look I am OK with the Boy Scouts hanging onto the "reverence" and "morals" ideals, nothing wrong with that. But it has snowballed into a full blown Christian themed group at this point. I also am OK with Alcoholics Anoymous saying that there is a higher power, that fits as well. Can't the kids just have a well rounded scouting experience instead having so much focus on Jesus at the expense of other religions? The Girl Scouts seem to balance that pretty well. BSA can keep a few snippets refering to God but don't freaking overdo it OK. everything in moderation.
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The scouts have become just another Christian youth group. People aren't upset at this because they necessarily oppose Christian youth groups, but because Scouting is increasingly losing its more universal legacy.
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I quit the Scouts in Middle School. We had all worked hard on a variety of badges, and at some big meeting with all the parents and local celebrities, only the Scout Master's son was called up to receive his badge.
Scout Master: "Sorry guys, your badges were outta stock." Orly?
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Most of you people need to get over yourselves. I am proud to say that I am an Eagle Scout, and the experience was one of growth and learning. A few bad apples have ruined the experience for everyone. The BSA is a private organization, if you don't like what they stand for, don't join. No one is forcing children into Boy Scouts, nor have they ever. Before rambling on about "gay hating", get your facts straight. Better yet, try thinking before you speak, it's better for everyone.
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The Scout troops in my area are pretty popular, inclusive and there's all kinds of kids. Friend's kids are in Scouts and they are pretty open minded types.

Takes all kinds you know. There's extremes everywhere.
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I have two boys, both who have turned out to be empathetic, kind young men-without the assistance of Boy Scouts, religious delusions, or misconceptions about sexual preferences. It would be so much better if the Boy Scouts would just be honest and call themselves "The Heterosexual Christian Boy Scout Association". A little honesty would be refreshing for everyone, wouldn't it?
It IS wrong is when they are allowed to hold assemblies in grade schools to recruit children. (Separation of church and state, anyone?) Yes, this happened with both my boys, and I wasn't informed of the event until afterwards, when they came home with pamphlets and sign up forms. On the plus side, it did provide an opening for the discussion of discrimination and religious intolerance, so that was something.
BTW, Sandman, there actually are atheist sponsored summer camps, etc. available, but does anyone really believe for a moment that any public school would allow THEM to hold recruitment assemblies for elementary children? Of course not. Fair is fair.
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Having just seen my son get his Eagle Scout award this saturday and having been involved in scouting for 12 years with him. I think that most of the scout bashing comes from people with little character who probably make sport out of any group that they don't personally belong to or identify with. Soouting like any group with so many members cannot be clearly classified as "gay bashing" or fundamentally pure christian. Scouting is a very well rounded organization which has the primary purpose of turning young boys into honorable men. Like any organization there are some involved that take certain aspects of it to the extreme but those are the exception and not the rule. Believe me, I have seen my fair share of idiots in scouting but many, many more people were outstanding individuals.
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@ uberuber

The public schools have to give permission to the Scouts (Dens, Packs, Troops) in order to use their facilities. If you want to take up issue with someone, take it up with the school in question.

@ Mr. Rational

Well said.
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[Comment unapproved]

Dial it back a notch, people. You may love the Boy Scouts or you might hate them. Show some politeness to those who disagree with you -- at least here at Neatorama.
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My son just got his Eagle this past Thursday and he's only 14. In the Boy Scout Handbook, it displays many religious awards that you can earn. Most of them are Christian, but there are also Jewish, Hindu and Moslem religious awards.
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Boy Scouts aren't fundamentally Christian...It's more about recognizing a 'higher power' than having it be jesus. When I went to Philmont, the daily devotional they gave us had more readings from the kor'an than the bible.
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I have a lot of respect for the boy scouts. I was a boyscout and so was Hergé (the writer of Tintin)and he is one of my personal heroes. On the other hand, I can't see why the boy scouts couldn't leave out the Christian morality, in practice it's always been more about instilling a community spirit, discipline and practical skills. Accepting Jesus into your life and barring homosexuals from joining doesn't seem particularly community-spirit-like, unless you feel that homosexuals and non-Christians have less to learn from the boyscouts.

On the topic of morality and "clean-living", it was at a boyscout camp that me, my friend and several other boys learned how to drink...and we've kept it up since ;)
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scot: "The Boy SCouts have give far mor eto this earth than gays or athiests."....

WOW...your not discriminating at all *facepalms* im not familiar with the accomplishments of the homosexual community, however... i really think you need to watch this video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdVucvo-kDU

peace, <3 , n \m/
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I hate to break it to all of you who are angry at Jesus and Boy Scouts but as A woman ScoutMaster and I accepted the position because my son's Troop needed someone to step up to the plate (we didn't have any men who were willing to do so). But yes most Scout Troops, dens whatever are affiliated with Churches. You need to get over that. Jesus loves you - all of you no matter who you are or what you've done or are doing. And if you don't believe in Him. At least He believes in you. As far as Scouting - If you or your son doesn't want to hear a message like that while out on a camping trip in the middle of no where for a few minutes while the rest are Thanking God for the morning meal or the lunch or the diner then let him hold hands over his ears for a minutes. It will not hurt him. As far as homosexuals - I'm not one - i don't know what to tell you but honestly as a Christian all I can say is Jesus loves you and I'm sure your mother loves you but putting a homosexual male in with a bunch of boys is like putting a straight teenage boy in with a dorm room with a bunch or teenage girls. Don't be dumb. There are reasons why they are kept out of Scouting. Get over it. better safe than sorry or better to stay away so you would never be accused of something you would never do.
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