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PostGary Moore's Memories of the Boy Scouts (John Eipper, USA, 03/11/18 4:48 am)
Gary Moore writes:
"Okay, we're done here." Bravo, Ric! (Ric Mauricio, March 8, on finessing a Boy Scout through the hurdles of religion.)
I went through all the Boy Scout hoops not only including Eagle but the God And Country medal--at an age when I had no idea what a deist, agnostic, or atheist was, or whether I was one. (Slow on motor coordination, I struggled with obscure merit badges like Gift-Wrapping, let alone dragging up the ten-pound cement block from the bottom of an opaque muddy pond, in the big merit badge called Lifesaving.)
JE comments: WAISers are an accomplished bunch, so I'm sure there are several Eagle Scouts in our ranks. Please inform. Yours Truly wasn't much of a camper, and washed out of the BSA after a few months.
I just spent ten minutes perusing the colorful list of Boy Scout merit badges. I would have excelled at coin collecting. One of the "retired" badges is remembered as Tracking, but its original 1911 name was Stalking. Sheesh. (Gary, I don't want to be picky, but I couldn't find any reference to a Gift-Wrapping badge.)
Memories of a Boy Scout in San Diego
(Clyde McMorrow, USA
03/13/18 4:05 AM)
I was a Boy Scout, Eagle, Order of the Arrow, in San Diego which, at the time, was very Republican and very anti-religious. The God & Country merit badge (I think it was required) was an eye-opener for me. I remember being fascinated by the number of religious sects and the quaint beliefs they espoused. Of course, the merit badge only covered the Protestant sects. I can remember my parents telling me that St. Rita's School was just the next step toward juvenile hall. I could see that.
There were a lot of merit badges that related to farm animals--I think I did rabbit and chicken raising--quite a few that involved map reading and compasses, and some that were an introduction to modern technology like radio. I made a pretty neat crystal set based on a toilet paper tube.
In those olden days, San Diego Republicans saw themselves as the educated elite with a strong tendency toward free-thinking. For those who felt they needed ritual, we had Madame Tingley's Theosophical Institute and its many feel-good offshoots but religion was generally seen as the opiate of the masses, at least by the Brahmins of Encanto who also didn't think much of Los Angeles.
JE comments: Clyde, I never knew that San Diego had such a Brahmin culture. Did the San Diego elites see themselves as a West Coast offshoot of their Bostonian counterparts? The Bostonians often espoused Deist and Unitarian beliefs. (And for that matter, what ever happened to the free-thinking, "liberal" Republican?)