Thanks to David, who’s just given me a copy of a splendid and comparatively unknown pamphlet from around 1950, which I’ll be serialising here at the Virtual Stoa over the next few days. It’s very fine, and not very long. Enjoy.
A CHALLENGE TO SCOUTING:
The menace of Communism
The Boy Scouts Association and the Girl Guides Association realise the dangers which their members face by the menace of the present world situation to the values in which they believe. This statement has accordingly been prepared by the two Associations for the use of Scouters and Guiders, but to avoid clumsy repetitions by the use of such phrases as “Scouters and Guiders”, “Scouts and Guides”, each Association is issuing its own statement, using expressions directly applicable to its own members.
The Purpose of the Statement
It is clear that the fundamental beliefs of Scouting are often challenged in the world of today. On all sides our minds are assailed by propaganda, and much of it is specious and clever. Unless we understand what our faith is, and our reasons for holding it, we can easily be taken in by some of this plausible argument.
It is therefore vital that all of us should know what we believe should carry it into practice in our lives, and should be ready to proclaim it to others. We must also realise by whom these beliefs are challenged, and what our answer must be when challenged.
In this statement we seek to remind Scouters of the fundamental beliefs of Scouting, over which there can be no compromise, and to ask them to ensure that their Scouts are well founded in these beliefs by the time that they go out to work, for it is then that the full challenge of the world may meet them for the first time.
We can deal with these great subjects in outline only, but those who feel the need of pursuing them at greater length are recommended to turn to the short list of books in the Appendix.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Our beliefs are summed up in the Scout Promise which we have take:
“On my honour I promise that I will do my best –
To do my duty to God, and the King,
To help other people at all times,
To obey the Scout Law.”
We believe also in the Scout method of training, which aims at the development of the character of each individual, through the Patrol System, the Badge System and Woodcraft.
Let us look at our beliefs more closely:
Duty to God
This comes first, because we believe that God is the Creator and the Preserver of all mankind, and has revealed Himself to us. The claims of God on our life and service are total, and are indeed the only total claims that can legitimately be made upon men. His love of us demands in return our love, devotion and duty.
It is not enough to say that we accept the teaching about God but that we are not prepared to take part in worship. It is the duty of every Scout to carry out the obligations of his faith.
Duty to the King
The King is the constitutional head of the State that gives us protection and safeguards our liberties. We are therefore pledged to be loyal and law-abiding citizens, to take our share in the good government of our country through our work and our votes, and to take no part in any subversive action.
Helping other people at all times
As citizens of a free country, we are free to keep ourselves to ourselves, or to be good neighbours, as may please us, but as Scouts we are pledged to be good citizens and to do good turns to our neighbours whenever we can. Our individual and corporate good turns are an expression of our religious faith, for loving our neighbours as ourselves is one of the great Commandments.
Obeying the Scout Law
The Scout Law lays down a high standard of behaviour, which we are proud to do our best to maintain. As all men are precious in God’s sight, it matters how we treat each other. So, whatever the standard in the world around us, we expect our Scouts (as we expect of ourselves) to be honourable, loyal, friendly, courteous and cheerful – in fact, to live the good life.
The Scout method of Training
Our method aims at producing good citizens who, through their training, think for themselves, display initiative, and are self-reliant. Each individual counts. But as none of us is good enough by our unaided efforts to live up to the highest that we know, we realise that it is only by asking God for His help and by faith in Him that we can be our best.
Next Instalment [coming soon!]: “By Whom Are We Challenged?”