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Atheism & cubs/scouts?

(55 Posts)
Himalaya Fri 16-Nov-12 17:11:29

DS wants to join the cubs. He says he is fine with saying 'do his duty to god and the queen' if that is what it takes to get in. I guess that is ok, as it is a meaningless statement if god doesn't exist and you have no duty to the queen. I do resent that he has to say it.

They are only accepting new kids if parents are willing to become Assistant Leaders. I said ok. I quite like the idea of the camping and activities etc... but reading into it I wonder 1) if they will have me as an atheist and 2) if i really can be involved if they expect adults to lead prayers and all kinds of other religious stuff.

Has anyone got any experience or advice here?

Is it really religious or is it just tradition?

BackforGood Fri 28-Dec-12 11:19:38

Sorry I misinterpreted what you said, GSL (see what I did there? grin), I skim read it as "Are all scouts expected to do all the badges". My apologies. Must stop posting after I should have gone to bed. smile

GayScoutLeader Fri 28-Dec-12 10:46:57

"No, of course all Scouts aren't expected to do all badges"

I didn't say that - I said that all badges should be open to all Scouts.

BackforGood Fri 28-Dec-12 01:01:43

I have to correct GayScoutLeader.
No, of course all Scouts aren't expected to do all badges - indeed, there was an article in Scouting not long ago as someone actually had completed all the activity badges, and it was thought to be a unique achievement, there are so many. Some youngsters go through some years without bothering to do any.
Re Scouts with additional needs, adaptations and adjustments are made. It is recomended you adapt things and look at the effort and progress the Scout has made.

*by 'Scout' I mean Beaver / Cub / Scout / Explorer / Nework member.

exexpat Fri 28-Dec-12 00:31:40

Oh, and what is the situation with disabled scouts/guides and badges with a component they are unable to do? Are they just excluded from those badges, or are concessions/alterations made for them?

Also, it doesn't seem beyond the bounds of possibility that the 'my faith' badge could have an option for those not affiliated to any religion to, for example, study the beliefs of a major world religion, attend a ceremony or service of some kind, and produce a report etc. I would have no problem with doing that as an atheist.

exexpat Fri 28-Dec-12 00:25:47

I joined because I was 10 and I had been in the linked Brownie pack which did very little that was overtly religious (I was consciously atheist from the age of about 7 or 8, so I would have noticed), then when I joined the guides we seemed to spend a lot of time sitting around writing prayers. I assumed the difference might have had something to do with the interests/inclinations of individual leaders.

Scouting movements in other parts of the world seem to be doing fine after removing the religious part of the pledge, so it seems odd that it could be seen as so essential in the UK, which is an increasingly non-religious country.

GayScoutLeader Fri 28-Dec-12 00:13:33

"Are all scouts expected to be able to do all the badges?"

As far as I understand it, yes, at least if they are given the time and resources.

"I couldn't take the all the religious content"

Why did you join? It is an explicitly religious (or at least spiritual) group.

exexpat Fri 28-Dec-12 00:08:24

Are all scouts expected to be able to do all the badges? I presume that the scouting movement is now open to children with disabilities who may not be able to do the whole range of badges. Excluding a large (and growing, according to the latest census data) section of the population just because they are unable to do one badge seems like a pretty flimsy excuse to me.

My main reason for quitting the guides after a few months, more than 30 years ago, was because I couldn't take the all the religious content, and I haven't enrolled either of my two DCs for the same reason, even though I'm pretty sure DD at least would enjoy the outdoorsy stuff.

GayScoutLeader Thu 27-Dec-12 23:59:58

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand atheists can be just as moral (or immoral) as people who believe in a god or gods. On the other, Scouting does have a religious component to it, such as the My Faith badge.

If people of no faith were allowed to join, they wouldn't be able to do the My Faith badge. So what should be done? Should all faith-based challenges and awards be removed (so that all Scouts can, potentially, do all the badges) or should there be a two-tier system within the Scouts where some badges are only open to some people? The former isn't something I like, but nor is the latter.

exexpat Thu 27-Dec-12 23:56:09

If you had read on a few posts, you would have seen I corrected that to say that it is only in the US that they don't accept gay scouts.

GayScoutLeader Thu 27-Dec-12 23:47:57

"There is also the issue that they won't accept openly gay scouts. "

Em, no. That isn't the case. I actually used my civil partnership certificate as one of the forms of ID when I applied to be a leader.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 07-Dec-12 18:49:29

Thanks jammy - that's good to know. thanks

HarkTheJammyAngelsSplodge Fri 07-Dec-12 13:09:21

I just thought I'd mention, the consultation underway includes a question on whether aethiests should be allowed to be leaders, so it's not just focussing on the kids' beliefs.

Himalaya - I'm an aethiest Assisstant Beaver leader, i.e. one of those in charge with the blue jumper and necker on. Our group isn't affiliated to any church or religious organisation and for the vast majority of the time have very little religious involvement.

I had my Leader interview a few weeks ago and thankfully nothing at all was asked about religion - it was more to check I'm a safe person to have round kids. I've not taken the promise yet, more out of having a disorganised Group Scout Leader I suspect, and am hoping to keep my head down on that one until the Scout Assc. have made a descision on all of it.

If you've not already, I'd just ask informally about it. I suspect the groups are that desperate for parents to help out (as leaders or otherwise), they brush over the faith bit. There might be exceptions for those attached to churches etc though.

exexpat Tue 04-Dec-12 10:24:49

Here's that BBC version of the story in a clickable link. Definitely good news that they are moving with the times - Scout organisations in several other countries already have a non-religious version of the promise.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 10:21:14

Today in the Times (which unfortunately is now subscription so I can't link) there's one article saying the Guides are going to update their oath and probably drop God from it.

it also says the Scout movement 'has announced that it is to write a special pledge for atheists who become members, but feel they cannot promise to do their duty to God. '


I expect this story has been covered in other papers, if anyone wants to link but preferably not the Fail

It also has a commentary by their religion correspondant on the subject which ends 'Children who do not believe in God should not have to learn to lie to gain access to all that Scouting offers. '

It doesn't really say whether this affects leaders, which is what the OP was asking about, but its excellent news.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 08:23:48

>So what do you think should be done?
>Ban interfaith groups?
>Or insist they admit people with no faith?

Depends what sort of 'interfaith group' you're talking about. If its something like an Ecumenical council, great.

However, the term 'interfaith group' is often applied to groups set up to contribute to policy making or ethical debates. Those certainly should admit people of no faith, they are all too often unrepresentative at the moment.
This has nothing to do with the scouts issue (which isn't exactly an 'interfaith group', that's not its primary purpose), its more important.

technodad Tue 04-Dec-12 07:14:36

technodad Mon 19-Nov-12 21:50:45

Thanks night

The maisons have a similar membership policy to the Scouts. That is a powerful message!

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 19-Nov-12 21:49:51

So what do you think should be done?
Ban interfaith groups?
Or insist they admit people with no faith?confused

nightlurker Mon 19-Nov-12 21:37:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nightlurker Mon 19-Nov-12 21:37:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

technodad Mon 19-Nov-12 21:34:53

I am saying that being inclusive to all parts of society except one is discriminatory.

I gave a couple of examples.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 19-Nov-12 21:32:04

Oh, I am reading. Just to be clear, are you saying that only interfaith groups are discriminatory?

technodad Mon 19-Nov-12 21:26:24

Don't worry Dione, I don't think you are bothering to read my posts.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 19-Nov-12 21:18:26

And the scouts only allow people of faith to attend. They are both faith based organizations. One allows only those of Jewish faith, the other just asks for faith.

technodad Mon 19-Nov-12 20:59:42

Mind you, I support your view that the Jewish Boys Brigade do discriminate on grounds of sex, but not religion.

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