United States of Motherhood: Can Boys, Undecided on Spiritual Beliefs or Agnostic, Be Boy Scouts? #BSA

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Can Boys, Undecided on Spiritual Beliefs or Agnostic, Be Boy Scouts? #BSA

Ok, help a mom out?  I'm trying to figure out what to do!

My youngest is showing a strong interest in Boy Scouts.  To be honest, before their policy change on gay scouts, I never considered it for my kids.  This decision was a difficult because I grew up with Scout: My Dad was a Scout Leader, there were always Scouts in our house and I saw the skills and positive traits which they were taught.  Heck even my husband is an Eagle Scout.  So now that the BSA has started to lighten up on the discrimination, I am opening up to the idea.  I still have reservations though when I hear stories of Eagle Scout troop leaders being discriminated against for their sexual orientation.

Here is the issue: We aren't religious and it's pretty unclear whether my kids even believe in a god. 

 I feel spiritual beliefs are very personal and should never be shoved down a child's throat. I've left that for my kids to discover for themselves and as yet, my youngest is on the fence. He's not an atheist per se, but also not a strong believer. I'd say agnostic if I had to put a label on it.

So does that automatically make him ineligible for Boy Scouts? My husband and I have discussed this and besides a strong ethical system, we understand a belief in god is required.

Are we wrong? 

Sure we could fudge this belief, but that seems antithetical to the whole point of the  integrity and character building premise of BSA that we want to instill in our son.

For now, my son is asking me daily about scouts...


Cindy deRosier said...

I'd tell your son that Scouts has a heavy emphasis on Duty to God and religious/spiritual growth. There could/will be prayers at meetings and there are requirements that are religiously-based (different ones at each age). As long as that doesn't feel uncomfortable to him, he'll be fine. He won't be the only Scout who has ever been unsure about God.

That said, if you have the choice, you might want to join a Pack/Troop that isn't directly sponsored by a church. We've been with three different Packs. One was chartered with the Rotary, one with a Methodist church, and one with a Catholic service organization and there have been quite a few differences.

Heather Murphy-Raines said...

@Cindy Oh good to know. We have a huge majority of chartered troops by churches and only one I have found so far (40 min roundtrip away) that is chartered by a veterans association. I sent a feeler out to that troop. We'll see!


Cindy deRosier said...

I'd suggest visiting the church-chartered ones too, just to get a feel. They're each going to be different. The closer he is to home, the easier it is to be an active participant and to get the most out of the program. Good luck!

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