Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Scouts banned from eating burgers and bangers - because of religious beliefs"

This is not the Onion, but a real headline from England. (Would be that or California).

"The location is Brownsea Island in Dorset, the starting point of Scouting where Lord Baden-Powell led the first expedition.

"Those young pioneers caught rabbits and then skinned and cooked them on an open fire.

"Some 300 modern-day Scouts (the word Boy was dropped in the 1960s) settled down to a meal prepared in a 'kitchen marquee' and consisting entirely of vegetarian food - so as not to offend any religious faiths.

""Clare Haines, a spokesman for the Scout Association, said: "It was really to do with religion that we were not able to provide sausages and burgers and all that kind of food."


"She added that campfires had been banned on the National Trust-owned island after a massive woodland blaze 30 years ago."


"In the middle of the island stands a huge marquee fitted out with industrial ovens and fridges stocked with vegetarian food.

"Next to it is a large, covered canteen and stage where bands have performed in the evening during the five days of celebrations.

"There is also an Internet cafe set up with ten lap-top computers to allow home-sick youngsters to keep in touch with their families around the globe."


"Hundreds of solar powered lights line the walk ways across the island to avoid anyone tripping over tent pegs, and each cluster of tents is illuminated by strings of electric lights powered by generators.

"David Massen, a Scout leader from Bradford, said last night: "A lot has changed with the way Scouting works since 1907." "

" "For example, Baden-Powell could just take his Scouts out on a boat for a fishing trip, whereas if I want to do the same I have to take a two-hour training session and write a four-page risk assessment statement." "


pluvialis said...

Listened to an interview with a bemused children's entertainer this morning: he has been banned from making toy animals out of balloons at children's parties, because of the risk that one of the children might be allergic to latex!

There are some interesting things going on, though, with the international jamboree. Not sure what they are, yet. Will muse, while I man. I have wanted to blog about BP for ages. Plus, the expurgated final chapter of "Scouting for Boys" is just pricelessly funny...

Neil said...

Of course, here in the states at least, Atheists wouldn't be allowed to the BBQ even if they liked their burgers bloody rare!

Reid Farmer said...

Of course, here in the states at least, Atheists wouldn't be allowed to the BBQ even if they liked their burgers bloody rare!


Having spent a lot of time working with Boy Scouts here, I think that's really oversold. In practice in 99.9% of troops nobody really cares. The use of "God" in the Scout oath can be construed so nebulously that it can mean anything you want, or nothing.

I've explained it this way to a number of boys and their parents who were concerned that there was some issue with their not practicing any religion. They all seemed satisified. In my experience both as a Scout and as a leader, it's never seemed that the BSA saw coercing boys into conventional religion as one of its missions. I never had that done to me, have never done it and never seen another Scout leader do it.

Public issues with atheists have come about by their feeling that they need to sue the BSA.

LabRat said...

Well, at the very least ten laptops for 300 modern, internet-addicted kids might make for an intriguingly Darwinian scenario.

As for the atheist thing, I'm married to a former Scout who has never made the slightest pretense of belief and never suffered for it the Scouts. It seems to only be the militants trying to change official policy (one that I don't agree with, either) that actually suffer any kind of consequence in mainstream American Scouting.

mdmnm said...

Yeah, when I was involved with Scouting in the '70s (in the lower levels) there wasn't any pressure regarding religious beliefs or the lack thereof. Of course, in remote West Texas no one thought twice about swearing to be "reverent" or having "God" in the oath.