First woman Scoutmaster, Catherine Pollard


Catherine Pollard died in Largo, Florida last week. She was 88. Catherine Pollard volunteered to be Scoutmaster for Milford, Connecticut Boy Scout Troop 13 from 1973 to 1975, when no one else would volunteer. Scout officials refused to accept her application at the time, citing a perceived need for male role models for boys. Eventually the troop dissolved when no one else stepped up as Scoutmaster.

In 1988 Boy Scouts of America abolished gender requirements on all volunteer positions, and made Ms. Pollard the first woman Scoutmaster.

A funeral service is set in Milford for Monday, December 18. Her casket will be carried on a fire truck from the Milford Fire Department, for whom she volunteered in different positions for years. When the ban on female Scout volunteers was lifted, it was the Milford FD that sponsored a troop so Pollard could be Scoutmaster.

My Scout registration covers most of the years since I signed up as a Cub Scout on my 8th birthday, all but a small handful of the past 45 years. Abolition of gender restrictions for leaders occurred a year after I graduated from law school, the longest period I was not active (I had to resign as Cubmaster when I started law studies). Within a couple of years I was Advisor to a large aviation interest Explorer Post sponsored by American Airlines, and I had the opportunity to work with women volunteers and professionals for the first time. They brought new spirit and skills to Scouting.

In particular, a professional in the Longhorn Council (Fort Worth), Martha Gollaher, cut through red tape, offered valuable advice, and in other ways made it possible for 75 kids a year to get aviation experience available nowhere else. The Post had dual charters in Longhorn and Dallas’s Circle 10 Council. Gollaher was the person who kept it going.

Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work with dozens of outstanding women in Scouting. They each have brought value and new perspectives to a program that is still among the best things a boy can experience. Each of the three units for which I am Charter Organization Representative has women in key leadership roles.

It seems odd, now, that Catherine Pollard had to fight her way in, just over 30 years ago.

Sometimes, the more things change, the better they get.

Coverage of Pollard can be found here:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Bonnie’s History Buzz. And a special tip of Baden-Powell’s campaign hat to Kathryn Knowles, Alice Galipp, Anna Murphy, Judy Henry, Mrs. Stanfield, Mrs. Lundgren, Mary Almanza, Martha Gollaher, Chasity McReynolds, and several dozen other women who make Scouting go.

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52 Responses to First woman Scoutmaster, Catherine Pollard

  1. [...] weeks ago I was looking for a good photograph of the late Catherine Pollard, the woman who became the first well-known de facto woman Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America.  Ms. Pollard filled in in 1973 through 1975, when [...]

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  2. [...] Does anyone have a photo of the first woman Scoutmaster, Catherine Pollard? In the order of an Author’s Query:  Do you, or does anyone you know, have a photograph of the first woman to be a Scoutmaster in the U.S., Catherine Pollard, of Milford, Connecticut? [...]

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Exactly right, Lynn.

    Thanks for stepping up!

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  4. lynn says:

    I am a female scoutmaster who stubbled upon this post. Just let me tell you I do like the outdoors. There were men who were asked to step up, some even former Eagles. I STEPPED UP because they didn’t we have seen many boys become Eagles in our troop. I don’t do it alone it takes a team of great leaders to get it done. Never forget behind most scouts is a mom who believes in the program and behind most male scoutmaster is a great aupportive wife at home.

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  5. Dan says:

    Flakey:

    in·sin·cere   [in-sin-seer] Show IPA
    adjective
    not sincere; not honest in the expression of actual feeling;

    I’m talking about not being honest with yourself about what you really feel.

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  6. Flakey says:

    sincere
       [sin-seer]
    adjective,

    free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness;

    I am sorry, are you calling all atheists hypocrites, or deceivers, instead of liars?

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Reverence to God, and reverence to the beliefs of others — reverence to the idea of faith. I noted earlier:

    . . . the 5th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook explained,

    All your life you will be associated with people of different faiths. In America we believe in religious freedom. Taht is why we respect others whose religion may differ from ours, although for reasons of conscience we do not agree with them. Their customs may be different from ours, but their hearts are just as true, their faith just as sincere.

    From the Christian view, failure to honor the right of others to be different is close to sin — the thing that got Sodom and Gomorrah smoked, according to the prophet Ezekiel. God demands it of Christians.

    Scouting used to demand it of all Scouts. Now? Now several Christian sects are told to take a flyer, that their faith isn’t quite correct in Scouting’s eyes. Odd.

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  8. Dan says:

    Ed,

    The 12th point… Reverence… is to God, not man.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    An atheist on the other hand says that there is no God, therefore there is no way that they can stand with the Scouting organization.

    No, it’s Scouting that says it can’t stand with the atheist, no matter his values, no matter his patriotism, no matter.

    No good reason.

    Stephen Girard, for example, was a man of high morals, and he saved our nation, literally, during the War of 1812. A man in the tradition of George Washington (who had difficulty with Christianity in much the same way Girard did, and who avoided Christian sacraments through most of his life). Why would Scouts disassociate from such great men?

    George Washington used to be cited as an example in the old Scout Handbooks. But he couldn’t pass the current leadership tests. What’s up with that?

    Scouting should be proud to stand with such people. Atheist? So what? Why is that the one religious category you refuse to grant reverence to, as the 12th point of the Scout Law requires?

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Regarding George, John, Thomas, Ben, Stephen, Abraham, and others…. Please enlighten me. I’m not understanding your point. Are you proposing that all of these are atheists or something?

    Atheist, deist or Unitarian — not one meets the religious standard for leaders or Scouts in BSA. BSA’s loss, and a silly one at that. In the case of Stephen Girard, a profound disrespect for American history and heritage of freedom. Girard is exactly the sort of guy who would be a great supporter of Scouting, except, now he’d be turned away. No good reason. What’s the point?

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  11. Dan says:

    Ed,

    Scouting is not a Christian organization, although it was founded by one. Therefore, associating myself with this organization, as I said before is a CHOICE I make. And if I do, I must respect the pillars of the organization. One of them being Duty to God. However, no particular religion or belief system is recognized as part of scouting, therefore, I have no issue with those who are doing their Duty to God being in Scouting. Now on the other hand, to I believe that all of these are true religions that are actually doing their duty to an actual God… no… not necessarily, but that’s one thing. An atheist on the other hand says that there is no God, therefore there is no way that they can stand with the Scouting organization.

    No Free thinkers? Brother, you have no idea who you’re talking to. I’m about the most opened minded person you’ll come across. Of course you wouldn’t know that, ’cause you don’t know me, but in my free thinking, I have come to know the true and Living God, and I have a relationship with Him as real as any friend, or my wife… this is where my free thinking has lead me… into the knowledge of the truth. After all, isn’t that what free thinkers are looking for…. truth in life… or are free thinkers subjected to never discovering any kind of truth.

    Hmm….

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  12. Dan says:

    Ed,

    I’m serious when I say that I truly have no angst against those who do not share my belief. My belief is that there is one true God, and that there are many religions who worship prophets, philosophers… but not their creator. What you are saying is that just because I believe this… I am passive-aggressively “slamming them”. On the contrary, I care about those who don’t know Him, and I pray for them, and I do everything I can do every single day of my life to share the truth with them. If you call that passive aggressive, then I guess I am.

    The “Miserable Superstitions” quote you made, was not me. That was Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting. I was making a point. I think you probably got it now.

    Regarding George, John, Thomas, Ben, Stephen, Abraham, and others…. Please enlighten me. I’m not understanding your point. Are you proposing that all of these are atheists or something?

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  13. Dan says:

    Flakey,

    I think you meant liar, not lier… and not being sincere doesn’t mean being a liar. Check the dictionary on that one bubbuh!

    :)

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    you’d see that never once did I slam any other religion.

    It’s the passive-aggressive slamming that bothers me. Not once did you slam any of those faiths you consider inferior to the one you hold, which, you claim is the right one, in contrast to all those other ‘miserable superstitions.’ But not once did you slam them, nosiree. Not openly and honestly, anyway.

    Nor have you answered my questions: Why are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, the fiscal savior of our nation Stephen Girard, Abraham Lincoln and others like them unqualified to be Scouts, or Scout leaders?

    And why is it that a Hindu can’t be a good scout? Yeah they’re not Christian but last time I checked you don’t need to be Christian to be a good American.

    No problem with Hindus. Adi Shakti works just as well as Jesus, for formal purposes, in Scouting. Just no Unitarians or atheists — no thinkers or free thinkers.

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  15. Flakey says:

    “pretend non-belief in God?”

    “Every human has it in them to know there is a creator, to not admit that is dis-honest”

    How can you even say you respect atheism when you call them all dis honest, and pretenders, that lie to others, and themselves?

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  16. Flakey says:

    “Nor did I slam atheism! Please, point it out dude, you won’t find it ’cause it’s not there”

    “The reality is, I totally respect your belief to not believe in God. I just know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are not sincere.”

    There pointed out for you in your own words, you called every atheist a liar.

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  17. Dan says:

    James,

    You have me completely baffled with this:

    ———————————————
    Robert — Again, You’re ok with, for example, Hindu’s starting their own version of boy scouts and getting all the priviliges of your boy scouts right? Meaning the use of public buildings, same tax status. All of it right?

    And why is it that a Hindu can’t be a good scout? Yeah they’re not Christian but last time I checked you don’t need to be Christian to be a good American.
    ———————————————-

    When did I ever say I h ad an issue with a Hindu or any other religion?

    DID YOU KNOW WHEN YOU RESPONDED TO ROBERT…. You were responding to a quote I put from the founder of Scouting? ROBERT LORD BADEN POWELL..

    How cool is that?

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  18. Dan says:

    James,

    Ha… I was fishing for a sore spot and found it. Obviously, I put “pretend” in there to spawn a conversation on the matter. Didn’t know it would be such a touchy subject.

    The reality is, I totally respect your belief to not believe in God. I just know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are not sincere. If anyone trys to tell me they can look at themselves in the mirror and honestly say, I truly believe that there is no God. I say that are not being honest even with themselves. Every human has it in them to know there is a creator, to not admit that is dis-honest. Everyone whos facing death cries out to God… why? Because they really know.

    Now, that said, I also believe that there is only 1 true God. But it’s not my job to convince anyone of that, it’s his job. I also care very much for folks of other beliefs, religions, etc. Doesn’t mean I believe that they are correct in their understanding of who God is. After all, I don’t claim to fully understand Him either. But for you or anyone to say I’m being a jackass because I say what I think. Well, who’s the jackass here :)

    About America being most awesome, blah, blah… your response was pretty funny… I was seeing if I could get a Brit on fire… it’s easy to do considering the history (sorry bout that).

    Again, if you would bother to read my posts, you’d see that never once did I slam any other religion. Nor did I slam atheism! Please, point it out dude, you won’t find it ’cause it’s not there! This is like the 12th time I’ve posted this, so please read it once and for all! A Scouting Group is an organization, which can choose it’s own standards, and principals, and leaders, and members. So simple, if you just try to think about it. Atheists or non-Christians, or whoever can have whatever organizations they like, and more power to them!

    Again, please read my posts before you levy false suppositions on me.

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  19. Dan Walton says:

    Ed,

    I’m totally bewildered by your response. Since when did I say only my religion. Come on man, I mean seriously, you just keep repeatedly putting words in my mouth over and over. I’m about done with you if you can’t stick to the facts of what I’ve written. What’s the point.

    Also, on the Scout Law, the 12th point of the Scout Law refers to honoring God. ALSO, the Scout Sign, which every scout uses was created by LBP. The meaning of the 3 fingers,,,, the 1st one is “DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY”. Please bubbuh, this is getting old.

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  20. Robert writes:
    I also believe in someones right to pretend not to believe in God. I support the most awesome, amazing Country in America standing by this freedom and promoting it in the world!

    Right to pretend not to believe in God? Sorry, no. You don’t then. THe second you added the word “pretend” means that you don’t respect their rights. They don’t pretend to not believe in God…they don’t believe in God period. No pretend about it.

    And you say you support the “most awesome amazing Country in America” blah blah blah..but yet you don’t respect the ideals this country was founded on and you act like an arrogant jackass in the name of the United States. By doing so you’re not promoting the United States in the world….you’re making a mockery out of it.

    Which is what you’re doing to God to. WIth your arrogance and your judgementalism. You know why nonChristians have a bad impression of we Christians? Because, Robert, of Christians like you who think the faith gives you a pass to act like an arrogant judgemental jackass. I don’t remember God or Jesus telling us to use our faith to attack or criticize others. And yet there you sit…in your arrogance doing exactly that. And I’ll even tell you why. Because your faith as a Christian is so pathetically weak that it can’t stand on it’s own..it needs everyone else to hold to the same beliefs and if they don’t then your weak faith leads you to attack them.

    You’re no Christian…you’re no American and from what the ideals of the Boy Scouts are supposed to be…you’re no Boy scout.

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  21. Dan Walton says:

    Love girl scouting. I actually do a lot of web work for them!

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  22. Again, Robert, you’re ok with, for example, Hindu’s starting their own version of boy scouts and getting all the priviliges of your boy scouts right? Meaning the use of public buildings, same tax status. All of it right?

    And why is it that a Hindu can’t be a good scout? Yeah they’re not Christian but last time I checked you don’t need to be Christian to be a good American.

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  23. Ed Darrell says:

    Or how ’bout this pal… why not and Eagle Scout doesn’t have to be someone who agrees to live by ANY of the points of the Scout Law or promise. You know an untrustworthy, unloyal, unhelpful… irreverent person… Yea, why not, freedom of everything! Yea! That’s it! Or maybe we throw out the promise to do your best, you can hate your country and don’t help anyone, and we’ll put you right on the top and honor you with Eagle!

    Why not let anyone who abides by the Scout Law be a Scout? Why do you insist that some who do abide by all 12 points, and who can take the oath in full conscience, be excluded?

    About shoving religion down other peoples throat… who’s doing that? (confused)

    How about we decide that, since your boys don’t participate in the monthly fast, and they don’t go to the temple, they don’t qualify under the reverence clause? How is your insistence on YOUR reading of YOUR faith, differ from anyone else requiring your Scouts to follow the Mormon faith? Who gets to decide which faith is “correct,” in Scouting?

    You’re on the slippery slope now. Can you get off?

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  24. Ed Darrell says:

    WHAT NOW? Shall we have little girls be BOY SCOUTS? Why not?

    No inherent good reason why not. Girl Scouting was started exactly for that reason. Girls are allowed to be members of Venture Crews, and they do great work there. Venturing builds men better with women in the ranks than without, in my experience and opinion.

    What about KKK members? Should they be Scouts? Leaders?

    There is no formal ban. Many KKK members have been Scouts, many Scouters have been KKK members. I can make a good case they should be drummed out of the ranks, but no one thinks it’s a serious problem — if a KKK member otherwise swears to abide by the rules of Scouting, good can be achieved.

    What about those who legally do animal Sacrifices to Satan, perhaps they should be part of the organization and be invited to lead our little ones.

    Again, no formal ban. It makes a ban on atheists look silly.

    I always find when you look at the extremes, it melts away ignorance on a point of view.

    Let’s hope so here, too. Changing your mind yet?

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  25. Ed Darrell says:

    Boy Scouting is simply an organization of people with common beliefs. Just like a church, or a gun club, or any kind of Civic organization.

    That’s not wholly accurate. Scouting functions under a charter issued by the U.S. Congress charging Scouting to teach leadership and outdoor skills — with no mention of a requirement that one belong to a deity-believing faith.

    The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

    Scouting is recognized as training for our military — Eagle Scouts get a rank advancement upon enlistment, simply for having the Eagle.

    Scouting is not just a fraternal organization. It never has been, and God willing, it never will be only that.

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  26. Dan Walton says:

    James,

    Simple to answer your questions:

    I believe wholeheartedly in Freedom of Religion. I also believe in someones right to pretend not to believe in God. I support the most awesome, amazing Country in America standing by this freedom and promoting it in the world!

    Boy Scouting is simply an organization of people with common beliefs. Just like a church, or a gun club, or any kind of Civic organization. There are certain requirements for one to be a member of ANY of these organizations, and certain people who are opposed to the tenures of the organization, would not be allowed to be part of the organization, because it’s simple. IF the organization becomes everything to everyone, than they are not an organization at all, now are they? Please stop, and ponder the simple fact that if an organization has no exclusions, it has no purpose. The ENTIRE reason to have an organization is for a group of people to join together in unity based on their experiences and beliefs.

    Does this prevent anyone from expressing their religion or pretend non-belief in God? Absolutely not. Just means they’re not invited to be unified with the others in the organization, because it’s simply not possible.

    WHAT NOW? Shall we have little girls be BOY SCOUTS? Why not? What about KKK members? Should they be Scouts? Leaders? What about those who legally do animal Sacrifices to Satan, perhaps they should be part of the organization and be invited to lead our little ones. I always find when you look at the extremes, it melts away ignorance on a point of view.

    Or how ’bout this pal… why not and Eagle Scout doesn’t have to be someone who agrees to live by ANY of the points of the Scout Law or promise. You know an untrustworthy, unloyal, unhelpful… irreverent person… Yea, why not, freedom of everything! Yea! That’s it! Or maybe we throw out the promise to do your best, you can hate your country and don’t help anyone, and we’ll put you right on the top and honor you with Eagle!

    About shoving religion down other peoples throat… who’s doing that? (confused)

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  27. Dan Walton says:

    Ed,

    Argh, this is laborious… I’m sincerely confused. How can a fact be an opinion? Please read #2 – http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/eagle.aspx

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  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Fact #1 – Every single rank in Boy Scouts includes a requirement for the Scout to Demonstrate Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise), which states: “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God an my Country”. If a Scout does not believe in God, he obviously cannot do his duty to God, therefore, he can not pass this requirement.

    That should be “Opinion 1.” I think that opinion violates the 12th point of the Scout Law, not to mention the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 10th.

    As the 5th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook explained,

    All your life you will be associated with people of different faiths. In America we believe in religious freedom. Taht is why we respect others whose religion may differ from ours, although for reasons of conscience we do not agree with them. Their customs may be different from ours, but their hearts are just as true, their faith just as sincere.

    Who am I to say your faith doesn’t constitute fair fulfillment of the “duty to God” clause? Who are you to say my Christian faith does not qualify? Who is either of us to say that any man’s faith, or lack of it, doesn’t fulfill that requirement? I prefer Jefferson’s view — that’s between a man and God. Neither you nor I have any business passing judgment on it, nor in getting between a man and God.

    What is duty to God to a Baptist? Does it differ to a Roman Catholic? How about to a Moslem? A Jew? A Buddhist? John Adams? Who am I, who are you, to say John Adams is not worthy to be a Boy Scout — and don’t we look silly, and unAmerican, saying so?

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  29. Okay, Dan, I have a question for you.

    You have no problem with some other religious group (meaning non Christian) setting up a group more or less identical to the scouts with their religion inserted into it also getting all the priviliges that Scouts get right?

    And then tell me how is scouting fulfilling it’s duty to country when it is wholesale violating one of the central tenets of this country….religious freedom? Meaning the freedom to worship what one wants…or the freedom to not worship at all.

    Because from this Christian’s viewpoint…the world would be a lot better off if people quit getting themselves into a tizzy over what other people believe when it comes to religion. Or to be blunt, Dan, what some atheist believes..or doesn’t believe is not your damn business. Just as what you believe or don’t believe is not that atheists business. If you want this a little more simple..the world would be better off if people quit trying to shove their religious beliefs down other people’s throats.

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  30. Ed Darrell says:

    Fact #2 – In America Atheists are expelled from Scouting, and it’s been held up in courts on numerous occasions, so you have a whole Country against your stance. Just as if a Scout declared that he was against his Country and hated it, he would be expelled, because the promise of “Duty to Country” is at the core of Scouting.

    Not prior to 1980, and upheld a couple of times. Too bad for Scouting.

    Our nation, the United States, owes its freedom to an atheist, Stephen Girard. Duty to Country in the U.S. includes respecting the rights of people who do not believe in deities — necessarily includes that respect.

    Don’t forget that when a man declared he found his duty to God more important than his duty to the U.S., he was denied citizenship.

    Remember history, remember Stephen Girard, and honor our heritage.

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  31. Dan Walton says:

    Fact #1 – Every single rank in Boy Scouts includes a requirement for the Scout to Demonstrate Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise), which states: “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God an my Country”. If a Scout does not believe in God, he obviously cannot do his duty to God, therefore, he can not pass this requirement.

    Fact #2 – In America Atheists are expelled from Scouting, and it’s been held up in courts on numerous occasions, so you have a whole Country against your stance. Just as if a Scout declared that he was against his Country and hated it, he would be expelled, because the promise of “Duty to Country” is at the core of Scouting.

    Fact #3 – Lord Baden Powel – The Brit who founded Scouting – “When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden Powell replied, It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding.” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

    Fact #4 – LBP in his 1st Book on Scouts “Scouting for Boys” – “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His
    laws. So every Scout should have a religion….Religion seems
    a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love
    and serve your neighbour.” (Scouting for Boys)

    Fact #5 – Another LBP Quote on Atheism – “The atheists… maintain that a religion that has to be learnt from books written by men cannot be a true one. But they don’t seem to see that besides printed books… God has given us as one step the great Book of Nature to read; and they cannot say that there is untruth there – the facts stand before them… I do not suggest Nature Study as a form of worship or as a substitute for religion, but I advocate the understanding of Nature as a step, in certain cases, towards gaining religion” (Rovering to Success, Robert Baden-Powell, 1930, p. 181).

    Face #6 – Please Read LBP’s book “Recovering to Success”. He has an entire chapter devoted to “IRRELIGION”, teaching boys how to avoid it, and why it is against the Scouting principals, and as an individual in life!

    Fact #7 – The BSA American Congressional charter simply states that the Mission and BSA as supported by congress is to uphold the values of the Oath and law. See Fact #1

    Regarding bigotry. That’s a sad statement. Just because I choose to associate myself in a particular organization which has recognition of God as a foundation, that is no more bigoted then an atheist organization (and there’s plenty of them), not wishing for me to be their president. Hahah… dude, think of it. Your stance is downright silly.

    Regarding women – Again (you’re tiring me here), I’ll repeat: A woman cannot teach a boy how to interact with young men, how to embrace their masculinity, how to become good fathers, the best husbands, friends to other guys, in a brotherhood… as well as a man could. A man can show by example and truly understand. A woman can only guess.. I would never know what it means to be a lady, a mother, or a wife. I have no bloomin idea, because I’m A STINKIN GUY! Come on, get your head on straight… get real… WAKE UP!!! PLEASE I BEG YOU WAKE UP. SERIOUSLY, I fear you’re muddled in your prejudice against others with honest, true views, and you can’t see what’s right before you. You don’t realize it, but you’re being foolish.

    How you jumped to the fact that I think Women should not be in Scouting, or that Charter Churches should be banned. What in the heck are you talking about??? Again (really tired of this), quote me, because I said nothing of the sort. Just the fact of that a man teaching a boy would be BETTER! Wow dude. You have a serious problem with not being able to interpret posts. Please be more careful as you post.

    Now, I must tell you, I am a very busy Scout leader in a Cub Scout Pack and Troop, and don’t have time to go on and on. You mentioned reading my posts and that I said Scouts must be Christian, and only men. If you are going to, when challenged that I DID NOT say that, simply re-state your mis-guided statement, then why are we talking here? Show me which post I said that in. QUOTE ME! I did not say anything of the sort! Please be honest.

    I have to go now, please don’t waste time with unfounded claims, and mis-guided posts.

    Good Day.

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  32. Ed Darrell says:

    I never said Christianity was the foundation of Scouting, please re-read my posts more carefully, I said that LBP was a Christian, and that recognition of a creator was a foundation. Again, please read more carefully before making false assumptions. We’re arguing atheism, not other religions recognizing God.

    I’ve read your posts several times, and I read you saying that Scouts should be Christian.

    Your definition of “duty to God” would exclude Buddhists, Unitarians like John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, and patriots like Benjamin Franklin. Is that what you intend? It’s a lousy result.

    It is a false assumption to assume Scouting requires faith in a deity. Never has been so worldwide, and wasn’t so in America for more than 80 years.

    You are dead wrong brother “Must believe in God” IS a foundation of Scouting.

    Please tell us where you find that in any of the foundation documents, including the national charter of Scouting Congress approved. Tell us who among Scouting’s founders expressed that sentiment.

    Not so. Not wise. As one who grew up as a non-believer, in Scouting, I am grateful there was no such rule and I think we should get rid of any rules like it today. Morality is determined by action, not belief in a deity. Scouting used to recognize that, and should again.

    If you really need me to (although this is taking up way too much time), post it, and I will post a stream of LBP quotes saying that Scouts believing God is a part of it. BTW, please take the time to read the links I posted, they support this. Please do this before posting more false claims.

    I don’t want a quote dump. I want you to detail where B-P said atheists can’t belong, can’t be moral and meet the standards of Scouting, and shouldn’t even try.

    While you’re at it, you may want to look into B-P’s own religious history.

    When you stated what scouting was founded on, you conveniently left out “Duty to God”… do you think I’m stupid as to not recognize that? Come on man. Regarding “Tragedy from which Scouting has not recovered… I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about”.

    I dont’ think you’re stupid. I think you harbor damaging bigotry. There’s a difference.

    What is the duty to God Scouts must exercise that excludes Buddhists, Unitarians, and atheists? Be specific, please.

    It wasn’t Unitarianism that changed, you know. Unitarians were accepted and have a Scouting faith award. Please explain how and why you think John Adams is unacceptable to Scouting. With reason, not emotion, please.

    Again, you mis-direct my comments. Did I ever say women shouldn’t be in Scouting? No? Why do you imply that I did!?

    What you said is that women cannot be role models for boys, that there are some things women just can’t teach boys. You were unspecific, but adamant. Show me where I misquote you in any way.

    Women in leadership positions have been a blessing to Scouting. As I noted, there are not enough men volunteers. Scouting needs women as leaders, and Scouting is much better for their volunteering.

    Please pay attention to what I’m writing here. I clearly said that it would be better for a man to do it, and that there are some aspects that a woman couldn’t do. I notice you conveniently failed to respond to some of my hard comments referring to myself trying to teach little girls to be good mothers, wives, and young ladies. Do you really fail to see the foolishness in this?

    I see your foolishness in full. There’s no inherent or intrinsic reason women shouldn’t be able to fill all leadership positions in Boy Scouting. Every year in our council we have a goodly number of women awarded the Silver Beaver, and there are hundreds of boys who celebrate their leaders’ having got such an honor. The facts are, women are doing the job you claim they can’t.

    No, I do not believe Jesus would turn his back on an unbeliever, or a woman. However, why were the 12 disciples all men? Because there is a unity in brotherhood, he chose to focus on for a very important purpose. Likewise I believe BOY SCOUTING is about BOYS. For goodness sakes, please I beg you, have a little common sense man!

    God corrected that error among the “12” when He revealed the resurrection to the women first. We should take the hint.

    I’m sorry if I come across to brash, but honestly, I’m pretty annoyed at the fact that you keep reading into what I’m writing, and making HUGE assumptions about where I’m coming from. Obviously you have a past of arguing with many others about these subjects and are putting me in that lump.

    If you wish not to appear brash, stop being brash. The post at the top of this thread honors Catherine Pollard, the first official female Scoutmaster in BSA. She did a great job, and your gainsaying hasn’t changed that.

    Bottom line is, an organization is defined by what they believe, or they are not an organization. I believe Scouts was founded to promote the BOY to encourage him to do his duty to GOD, COUNTRY and OTHERS. Nothing more. Isn’t it rather suspicious that the one thing you choose to ignore is GOD… Hmmm… a curious thing isn’t it?

    Curious that you make false claims about what I “ignore.” I specifically challenged your claims that women can’t be leaders — based on my faith’s teachings that they are leaders. Our Christian denomination ordains women in all roles, as do most others.

    I suppose you think those churches should be banned from sponsoring Scouting.

    Scouting was founded to make up for the lack of leadership and thought in the education of boys to become men. I see no reason whatsoever to return to that lack of leadership and thought. Any movement that would drum out George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Baden-Powell as “not faithful enough” isn’t much worth its salt. Scouting is dangerously close to that now, and we should pull back from the brink.

    Like

  33. Dan Walton says:

    Myballism – Oh my goodness, do don’t even realize what a foolish statement that is. Do you have no backbone to stand for any truth that you believe in? I would not expect a group of folks believing in any purpose to embrace others into their organization as brothers, if they were totally against the foundations of it. Are you really that foolish to think that that makes sense?

    I never said Christianity was the foundation of Scouting, please re-read my posts more carefully, I said that LBP was a Christian, and that recognition of a creator was a foundation. Again, please read more carefully before making false assumptions. We’re arguing atheism, not other religions recognizing God.

    You are dead wrong brother “Must believe in God” IS a foundation of Scouting. If you really need me to (although this is taking up way too much time), post it, and I will post a stream of LBP quotes saying that Scouts believing God is a part of it. BTW, please take the time to read the links I posted, they support this. Please do this before posting more false claims.

    When you stated what scouting was founded on, you conveniently left out “Duty to God”… do you think I’m stupid as to not recognize that? Come on man. Regarding “Tragedy from which Scouting has not recovered… I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about”.

    Again, you mis-direct my comments. Did I ever say women shouldn’t be in Scouting? No? Why do you imply that I did!? Please pay attention to what I’m writing here. I clearly said that it would be better for a man to do it, and that there are some aspects that a woman couldn’t do. I notice you conveniently failed to respond to some of my hard comments referring to myself trying to teach little girls to be good mothers, wives, and young ladies. Do you really fail to see the foolishness in this?

    No, I do not believe Jesus would turn his back on an unbeliever, or a woman. However, why were the 12 disciples all men? Because there is a unity in brotherhood, he chose to focus on for a very important purpose. Likewise I believe BOY SCOUTING is about BOYS. For goodness sakes, please I beg you, have a little common sense man!

    I’m sorry if I come across to brash, but honestly, I’m pretty annoyed at the fact that you keep reading into what I’m writing, and making HUGE assumptions about where I’m coming from. Obviously you have a past of arguing with many others about these subjects and are putting me in that lump.

    Bottom line is, an organization is defined by what they believe, or they are not an organization. I believe Scouts was founded to promote the BOY to encourage him to do his duty to GOD, COUNTRY and OTHERS. Nothing more. Isn’t it rather suspicious that the one thing you choose to ignore is GOD… Hmmm… a curious thing isn’t it?

    Like

  34. Ed Darrell says:

    If the Scouting movement would collapse if the foundations aren’t honored, then let it collapse! For goodness sakes Brits… stand for something!

    Myballism. “If you guys won’t play this game by my rules, stacked in my favor, I’m going to take my ball and go home.”

    Denigration of the faith of kids is not a foundation of Scouting — in fact, it’s just the opposite. Scouting was not founded on Christianity. It was founded on ideas that boys and girls well-grounded in basics of citizenship, make better citizens. “Must believe in God” is not one of Baden-Powell’s ideas. Most of those familiar with Baden-Powell’s life to whom I have put the question suggest that he would have difficulty getting a membership in BSA. So would George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and perhaps Teddy Roosevelt. The drumming out of Scouting of the faith of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and many other great Americans, was a tragedy from which Scouitng has not recovered. That’s not a problem of Baden-Powell and those other great men. They don’t need to be “fixed.”

    Nor is misogynism a founding principle of Scouting. In our former, misogynistic times, women were considered not capable of being Scoutmasters. In the end, there was absolutely no rational reason for that rule, and Scouting suffered. Baden-Powell never said, “curse reason, tradition above all else!” From my readings of his life, he was one who gave great sway to using one’s noodle.

    I’ve known a lot of great Scouts in my time. Many of them are women. A goodly number were not Christian, but Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, Unitarian, and before BSA got hinckey about it, a fair number were atheists. High moral standards do not depend on faith in a deity. Buddhists often provide great moral examples, to pick one group in the very gray area.

    Not one of the twelve points of the Scout law has a gender bias, nor a bias toward any faith. The Scout Oath does not say “duty to God above duty to country.”

    Would Jesus turn his back on the unbeliever and women? I doubt it. Would Jesus turn away the good deeds of women and unbelievers? You’ve already forgotten Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan, and need to ask?

    Like

  35. Dan Walton says:

    By the way Flakey,

    If the Scouting movement would collapse if the foundations aren’t honored, then let it collapse! For goodness sakes Brits… stand for something!

    — Dan

    Like

  36. Dan Walton says:

    Flakey,

    If one of the founding principals of Scouting was to promote atheism and to encourage Boys to embrace and live out their belief that there is no God, and that organization grew and flourished over time, on those founding principals… and then over time, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus wanted to join Scouting… the atheists who joined Scouting understanding that it promoted atheism… something they believed in, decided to de-emphasize atheism in the promise, and to just get over that one little hump, and then pretend like it doesn’t exist.

    You see flakey, what you’re saying when you look at it like that is just plain foolish isn’t it… :)

    Like

  37. Flakey says:

    We still say God and Queen, not country. Secondly the oath is only administered when someone joins, and the reason it has been so de emphasised is take the current group I drive the mini bus for which has 36 members. In that 36 there are 3 Hindus, 1 Muslim, 1 Christian, the rest being a mix of agnostic, atheist, or just never given a thought to religion, because they never really been exposed to it outside of weddings and funerals..

    This is not an isolated incident either. This is pretty much repeated around the country.

    It may be a simple fact to you that in America that it promotes Spirituality, but even though Britain is still run under the official scouting rules, they have not observed the spirituality part on the ground, so to speak, for decades. Otherwise the scouting movement in Britain would have collapsed to nothing decades ago.

    Like

  38. Dan Walton says:

    Ed,

    No, LBP’s history does not show animosity, however the founder firmly believed it is in the foundations of Scouting as he formed it. To say otherwise, one would be simply pretending.

    You said that this issue didn’t have anything to do with the women is scouting issue… never said it did, you may have mistaken a post… I was responding to Flakey (unless you’re Flakey?)

    I’m happy Catherine Pollard was there to do what she did. But you’d be foolish to think that she could teach a boy how to become a good father, a good husband, or teach him how to interact with other men, as brothers….. better than a man could teach by example. I’m afraid Catherine would agree with me on that one brother…. Otherwise, let’s say that I as a man should feel I could do equally well, going into a Girl Scout troop and teaching the girls how to become young ladies… and women… and mothers… and sisters… and wives.

    Oh my goodness, surely you can see the lunacy in THAT statement (please say so, or all hope is lost hers).

    Like

  39. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think a fair reading of Baden-Powell’s biography and personal history suggest any animosity on his part toward atheists or other non-believers who agree to abide by common morality, with or without belief in God.

    Nor does that issue have anything to do with women in leadership positions.

    I noted earlier that I find the addition of women to Scout leadership has been a boon. Dan said that he thinks women should step aside if an equally qualified male wants the job.

    But that’s the problem. There are not enough qualified men volunteering.

    I can’t think of anything in Scouting that a woman can’t teach as well as a man. Clearly Catherine Pollard was a highly qualified and successful Scoutmaster — and we should celebrate such leaders, regardless their gender or sexual orientation.

    Like

  40. Dan Walton says:

    Jim,

    Wow, that was an earful, but I really appreciated it. I couldn’t agree more with pretty much everything you said! I appreciate your words, I like your position very much.

    Not sure why the buzz word “politically correct” sets you off, but I had no anti-liberal under-tone there. Simply don’t care for folks not standing for what they feel is right… in the name of not offending another. To me, staying silent is a disgrace and is offensive in and of itself :)

    Thanks again — Dan

    Like

  41. Dan Walton says:

    Flakey,

    The oath which includes “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country”, is not said just when you join, it’s supposed to be said before every meeting, as a promise. This was the original oath written by the founder, Lord Baden Powell. It was modified to say “Country” instead of “King”.

    It is a simple fact that scouting promotes spirituality and the recognition of our creator, just do a bit of internet research and you’ll see for yourself: i.e. http://www.faqs.org/faqs/scouting/rec.scouting.issues/section-11.html

    I’m sorry, but I don’t even know where to start because your statements are truly misguided.

    — Dan

    Like

  42. Flakey says:

    Dan I was a cub, then a scout and now an assistant for big events for my local group. I went to local jamborees, and national ones too. In all this time, I learnt how to appreciate nature, be more disciplined, learn to explore my own limits, and I see the current generation doing the same thing.

    God though, the only time God is mentioned is the oath you swear when you join, and the few times we sing the National Anthem (since its in the song) at certain events. God in British Scouts is not a foundation, it is not even a supporting wall to it.

    So hopefully clarified for you can you answer the question now?

    Like

  43. Jim says:

    Hi Dan,

    I actually agree with much of what you are saying. I suspect you would consider me a left wing, “politically correct” liberal…but I am all about babies and bathwater.

    First, I need to say that throwing around the term “political correctness” is just silly. Because both the left AND the right have their absurd standards of what’s correct — and both are equally heavy-handed in expecting people to toe the line. Just try being a liberal at a gun show (I manage, but barely!) or being a conservative in Chicago. :-)

    Second, you’ve hit on something I think IS missing. The sane and balanced celebration of masculinity and femininity. I speak not of John Wayne movies or beauty pageants. I speak simply of the fact that a plurality (if not a majority) of men enjoy certain things that many women do not…and vice versa. A plurality of women (if not a majority) possess skill sets and wisdom that many men do not.

    In the absolutely wise and correct rush to justice for our sisters (the vote, equal pay for equal work, women’s ordination, female executives and soldiers, etc.) — there has been some overreach and overreaction. In some instances, the pendulum has swung too far. Whether or not female scoutmasters is a good example is a judgment above my pay grade. I’ve never “Scouted”.

    Let me give you an example. A friend and fellow feminist (she’s a she and I’m a he) gets angry with me when I hold doors open for her or, if she is treated rudely by a male, want to stand up for her. Perhaps there is some caveman there that I need to contain and control. But there is also the simple ethic in which I am so invested: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. I think SHE has overreacted and allowed the pendulum to swing too far. A gentleman can hold a door open for a lady or defend her honor, without being him being considered a ham-fisted brute or with her being regarded as a willowy wall-flower whose only job is to look pretty.

    So I really applaud you for expressing some of this angst. I think it’s real. And I think — in Scouting and in life — men have much to teach boys. Would that more men would! (Because too many boys are learning to be leering, boorish letches — do you know how many middle school boys I have heard referring to girls as “b*tches” and “hoes” and “a nice piece of ass”? Believe me — it knows no racial demographic any longer.) We need men teaching boys.

    But we also need women teaching boys. Girls, too. They can start by getting in the faces of boys when such filth pours out of them. They can start by never, ever wearing these trendy t-shirts that say thinks like “too pretty for homework”, “born to tease” and “I know what boys like”. (I’ve seen them all.) Moms? Girls? Be REAL feminists, please.

    I think you’ll probably agree with most of what I have said. And here I am — a pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-affirmative action, tree-hugging, peacenik liberal who loves Jesus and wants my taxes raised. ;-)

    I hope — whether we can actually agree on women as scoutmasters or not — that conservative and liberal men can agree on this much, at least: A passion for justice, equality and oneness between men and women does not require abandonment of all that is good in honorable in what is usually (though not alway) regarded as “male” or “female”,

    (My only caveat to all this is that there ARE women who love to shoot, camp, hunt and watch football. And there ARE men who love macrame, the ballet and cooking. The women like this are not abberrant or butch. The men are not light in the loafers.)

    I realize this is a somewhat rambling tome, but I wanted to weigh in as the proud daddy of a ten year old girl…who needs women and men speaking the RIGHT words into her life all day long.

    Cheers!

    Jim

    Like

  44. Dan Walton says:

    Ed,

    I’d like to weigh in on the female Scoutmaster discussion. Women can bring a lot to the table, no doubt. But my many years of Scouting experience as a boy and as an adult have shown me that although a woman can do a great job and so many ways, I propose a better was is to have a man of equal caliber in place for the boys.

    You see, as much as American culture has tried to consider the personalities and roles of males and females to be identical, they abolutely are not. Personally, I embrace our differences, and not just the physical.

    When a group of guys get together, there is a brotherhood that cannot be argued against. This comes from the very core of how males are made up. Same goes for the sisterhood found as females gather together. I would not think that I, as a male could lead a group of girls and possibly be able to teach them the ins and outs of interrelating in their sisterhood, any more then I would expect a female leader to teach boys and be a part of a brotherhood.

    If folks don’t understand that, then my point is proven. In America, because of political correctness, we have lost something of great value…. who we are and our differences.

    Like

  45. Dan Walton says:

    Flakey, please elaborate

    Like

  46. Ed Darrell says:

    I was not deeply involved in Scouting with younger Scouts for a chunk of my college and graduate school life — in that period, BSA started allowing women to take more leadership roles, including Scoutmaster.

    I was surprised to see how much the tone of the program had improved when I got back into working with Scouts. There was more civility, more organization, and more spirit. Women are important leaders, and they can and do function as Scoutmasters every bit as ably as any man.

    Catherine Pollard is probably Exhibit A in that discussion.

    Like

  47. Flakey says:

    So Dan you consider the scouting movement of Britain not to be a scout movement then?

    Like

  48. Dan Walton says:

    Brock Tice – What makes Scouting special is that it is focused in purpose. One of those foundational purposes is “Duty to God”. Which, in Scouting is simply the pursuing of a relationship with your maker.

    That said, if one were to not believe in a God, how could he be considered a Scouter? That would make no more sense then one who hates his country and wants it destroyed being a Scouter amidst the promise to “Do you Duty to your Country”.

    It is what it is, It’s like saying, I want to be a part of an Atheist organization, but they won’t let me in because I believe in God. That’s foolish and ignorant to think.

    Like

  49. Scoutmaster says:

    We live in a society that has grown over the past years to believe that there are and should be no differences between a man and a woman, barring physical differences. Both men and women have lost touch with themselves.

    Just as a man can not teach a girl the ins and out of becoming a woman, so a woman can not teach a boy how to become a man.

    I think we’re really missing out here on something important. Men being men, and women being women. Different roles, equally important, but different.

    Like

  50. Tom Wojtusik says:

    I am always pleased and chagrinned to meet so many ex-scouts who lament the deplorable discrimination of the BSA. Atheist, gay and transgendered adult ex-scouts have so much praise for their scouting experiences, and yet find it sad and extremely frustrating that the national organization since the 1980’s has been hijacked by the narrow, cowardly religious right. Scouting for All is working to educate in order to reverse discriminatory BSA policies.

    Catherine Pollard is a fine example for all of us who love scouting and recognize what a tremendous program it can be again… for all.

    Like

  51. Brock Tice says:

    I should add that I was part of a fantastic troop headed by a female scoutmaster, and so I owe some gratitude to Ms.Pollard for stepping up to the plate. Thanks for posting this — it’s something I never heard about as a scout.

    Like

  52. Brock Tice says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from my time in the BSA. It’s too bad that as an atheist I’m no longer welcome to participate in that organization.

    This (and other) bans are yet to be lifted.

    Like

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