There was an older link about scouting, but I'm not finding it. Here is where I'm stuck.
I have a 6 year old boy who is also an only child. He loves, even craves, more time with other children and; I feel that peer interaction and self identification, away from parents, is very good for him. However, because the Boy Scouts (Girl Scouts have made other choices that are more inclusive, from my understanding) continues to be a Christian Organization I do not wish to allow them that much access to my child. I also do not wish to fund them, more than my taxes do already.
The other complication comes from the source of my son's interest. He found out about it by a flyer at school.
My instinct is to set up a meeting to respectfully discuss with the principal why I feel that allowing a religious organization to contact our children in a public school when parents are not present is inappropriate and unreasonable without multiple alternatives. (Muslim scouts? Druid camping?) This is not the first item, there is also an after-school group that meets with children, but there is not clear outline as to why children are set up with them, and it is a church, but done through the school. He is also growing increasingly upset about the pledge issue. I would go to the teacher, but it is a school issue, not one classroom. I'm very involved in the school and have already been in direct contact with the teacher.
How would any of you approach this and does anyone know of a good nature program in central IL?

Tags: Church, Schools, Scouting, Separation, State, and, of

Views: 33

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Living in SC we have come across many of these same issues. In fact before we were pretty sure we were atheists we did allow our son to go to scouts for one year. It was the only extra-curricular activity available to boys his age beyond soccer (he did not want to play soccer). We were aware of all the controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts and their exclusion of gays, but we did not explain this to our six year old, too complicated. Well, as it turned out we had to explain later because a parent of another scout approached our son at one of the meetings and said: "Take your hands off your hips the others will think you like boys and not girls". I was not there and lucky for this guy, but my husband was and he was too shocked to respond. He just took our son out of harms way and later explained to him what the guy meant. We are not prudes about sex or sexuality. We are tolerant of the sexual preferences of others and this provided an opportunity to discuss this with our son, however if this man were to say this to any other child, that child would walk away confused and may ask his parents to explain and I suspect he would only become more confused when his parents would start spouting about gays and the bible and god.

In short, if I were you I would steer away from this particular group. Perhaps 4H or something. It is somewhat more ambiguous about religion and it would provide your son with some very helpful life skills as well as exposure to both sexes. Also, I don't know if you know this but recently the Boy Scouts of America have been in the news again, it seems that they too have been guilty of their own cover ups with regard to sexual abuse and young boys.

With regard to the school allowing religious organizations access to the kids, this is rampant in the south. One thing you can be sure of your child will follow your beliefs much more closely than you think. Our own children have expressed a belief in god and we have not suppresed it, we have encouraged them to explore it, but to question the validity of the claim. We have been trying to help them develop their critical thinking skills and this has helped them to come to similar conclusions with regard to the existence of god. So I would not worry about this too much with your son, but I would certainly let your principal know that you are not happy with the practice of allowing religious organizations access to the kids. It will not make you a very popular person around the school but I suspect you can handle that. Being an atheist thick skin is a must. If your principal objects then you should suggest that he/she allow other groups (Muslim, Jewish...atheists) and see how he or she responds to this. It might be quite comical.

It is an up mountain battle but we must keep it up.
Thank you, as he gets older it gets more and more difficult to really know what is influencing him when I'm not with him. Fortunately he still talks to me a great deal and I try to make time for us to just talk on a regular basis, without it being too boring.


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