The ACLU's Thirty Years War

Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2005 06:25 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Are the Boy Scouts as a group based on 'religious values' the only ones with the following principles? If so, would everybody benefit from being religious? If not, then maybe the Boy Scouts are getting an unfair rap from the ACLU and some others in left wing wacko fringe groups?

The Meaning of the Boy Scout Oath
Excerpted from page 45-46, Boy Scout Handbook, 11th ed,
(#33105), copyright 1998 by BSA, ISBN 0-8395-3105-2
and from page 420-421, Webelos Scout Book, 1998 edition,
(#33108), copyright 1998 by BSA, ISBN 0-8395-3108-7

Before you pledge yourself to any oath or promise, you must know what it means. The paragraphs that follow will help you understand the meaning of the Scout Oath.

On my honor . . .
By giving your word, you are promising to be guided by the ideals of the Scout Oath.

. . . I will do my best . . .
Try hard to live up to the points of the Scout Oath. Measure your achievements against your own high standards and don't be influenced by peer pressure or what other people do.

. . . To do my duty to God . . .
Your family and religious leaders teach you about God and the ways you can serve. You do your duty to God by following the wisdom of those teachings every day and by respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.

. . . and my country . . .
Help keep the United States a strong and fair nation by learning about our system of government and your responsibilities as a citizen and future voter.

America is made up of countless families and communities. When you work to improve your community and your home, you are serving your country. Natural resources are another important part of America's heritage worthy of your efforts to understand, protect, and use wisely. What you do can make a real difference.

. . . and to obey the Scout Law; . . .
The twelve points of the Scout Law are guidelines that can lead you toward wise choices. When you obey the Scout Law, other people will respect you for the way you live, and you will respect yourself.

. . . To help other people at all times; . . .
There are many people who need you. Your cheerful smile and helping hand will ease the burden of many who need assistance. By helping out whenever possible, you are doing your part to make this a better world.

. . . To keep myself physically strong, . . .
Take care of your body so that it will serve you well for an entire lifetime. That means eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly to build strength and endurance. it also means avoiding harmful drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and anything else that can harm your health.

. . . mentally awake, . . .
Develop your mind both in the classroom and outside of school. Be curious about everything around you, and work hard to make the most of your abilities. With an inquiring attitude and the willingness to ask questions, you can learn much about the exciting world around you and your role in it.

. . . and morally straight.
To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.

Note that the Boy Scout Oath has traditionally been considered to have three promises. Those three promises are delineated by the semicolons in the Oath, which divide it into three clauses. The three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:

Duty to God and country,
Duty to other people, and
Duty to self

DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your FAMILY and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.

Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country's good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.

DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE: Many people need help. A cheery smile and a helping hand make life easier for others. By doing a Good Turn daily and helping when you're needed, you prove yourself a Scout and do your part to make this a better world.

DUTY TO SELF: Keeping yourself physically strong means taking care of your body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.
What religion do you suppose they mean when they say God? Does it say what God they mean?
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Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2005 06:58 pm
No, nor have I ever seen a Scout Master profess any particular God nor any particular religion for that matter. Traditionally troops sponsored by churches will attend their sponsor church on Scout Sunday, but any scouts who for whatever reason choose not to participate may opt out with nothing whatsoever said or implied by anybody. The troop at my church numers between 50 and 100 boys at any given time and maybe half participate in Scout Sunday. Nobody thinks a thing about those who do not participate. None of the boys or scoutmasters in the troop we sponsor are members of our church.
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Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2005 09:32 pm
. . . and morally straight

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ebrown p
Reply Fri 12 Aug, 2005 10:31 am
Since this is really a thread about the ACLU, we should all reflect on its charter...


The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.

Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) and the Nineteenth Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.

The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

* Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
* Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
* Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
* Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor.

If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled.

The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency.
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Reply Fri 12 Aug, 2005 11:20 am
Be Prepared ! ! ! -- Tom Lehrer

Be prepared! That's the Boy Scout's marching song,
Be prepared! As through life you march along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well,
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell.

Be prepared! To hide that pack of cigarettes,
Don't make book if you cannot cover bets.
Keep those reefers hidden where you're sure
That they will not be found
And be careful not to smoke them
When the scoutmaster's around
For he only will insist that it be shared.
Be prepared!

Be prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' solemn creed,
Be prepared! And be clean in word and deed.
Don't solicit for your sister, that's not nice,
Unless you get a good percentage of her price.

Be prepared! And be careful not to do
Your good deeds when there's no one watching you.
If you're looking for adventure of a
new and different kind,
And you come across a Girl Scout who is
similarly inclined,
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared.
Be prepared!
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ebrown p
Reply Fri 12 Aug, 2005 11:29 am
<<psst Set. You are a little late with that...>>
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Reply Fri 12 Aug, 2005 11:34 am
I'm just havin' a little fun in a thread gone way too serious . . . i'm constitutionally opposed to seriosity . . .
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Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2005 05:35 pm
I'm a Scout Leader who believes in the principles of the ACLU but who also thinks that they and a great many citizens of the US have the wrong idea about the separation of Church and State. I also think that the BSA is NOT a religious organization, but rather an organization whose members are required to be religious. There is a difference.

Nonetheless, for the fun of this debate, (and I do love a good reasonable, intellectual debate) let's assume that it is true that the BSA is a religious organization. Some, rather many in my opinion, seem to think that once an organization is deemed "religious" in nature the "STATE" (I'll not define this now) is required to take a hands off approach in both regulation and in participation. This however is not what the First Amendment states.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Where the words "Separation between Church and State" derive from is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Conneticut to allay their fears that the federal government intended to establish a "National" religion.

I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

This is used often in the defense of the exclusion of religion from agencies of the "STATE". But remember, Jefferson was trying to assure the Conneticut Baptists that they would be able to continue worshiping as they would and that the "STATE" would not hamper them, nor would it establish a state religion in opposition to them. He was NOT stating that religion has no place in our secular society.

Having said that I will state that I am against mandatory guided public prayer in "STATE" sponsored public schools. I am not against a moment of silence, reflection, etc. but I am against forced prayer. In other words, I do not wish to impose my own religious beliefs upon anyone else but I should not be restricted from displaying my religious beliefs in public. When I wear the BSA uniform, I am proclaiming that I profess a belief in God (among many other things). Should I be prohibited from wearing the uniform in our nation's capitol, a public school building, on a public sidewalk? Many would say yes, because they wish to exclude religious belief from public life.

It appears obvious to me, that the fear of religious zealots causes many to wish for the elimination of religious belief. I fear zealotism myself. It is a powerful and often mindless force. But those who would defend the rights of the individual, like the ACLU, should recognize that "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

So getting back to my original premise that the BSA is a religious organization, so what? Should the "STATE" not be able to assist an organization because it is religious? If so then, churches should not be given access to any public lands, forums, or means of justice or defense. Hey maybe we should extend this to any who profess a belief in religion. I hope that most reasonable people would agree that this is unfair. But the BSA has been excluded from public lands in San Diego, via the assistance of the ACLU. Should the US Army be prevented from rendering assistance to the BSA? If so, then they should be prevented from rendering assistance to any "private" group. So immediately prior to defending your life from an invading force the American Soldier is required by law and the ACLU to ask you if you profess any belief whatsoever. If you answer affirmatatively, then you die.

In conclusion, I think that in general the ACLU is a good and necessary entity and I believe that the people who run the ACLU are good and well meaning individuals. However, I do feel that they have a bias where the BSA is concerned and I think that as an organization dedicated to the protection of individual's rights the ACLU should re-think their policy regarding the BSA and do so with an objective eye.
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