Morally Straight

Today on twitter I posted a picture that I came across on Facebook. It was a letter from an Eagle Scout to the Boy Scouts of America returning his award

I got a response from someone saying they like the morally straight part of the oath and that our views were different. To that I would have to agree but it made me ask the question what is Morally Straight.

Wikipedia says

Morality (from the Latin moralitas “manner, character, proper behavior”) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and those that are bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. The adjective moral is synonymous with “good” or “right.” Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. An example of a moral code is the Golden Rule which states that, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

While reading this I was interested in the link to the Golden Rule, part of being moral is to treat others as one would like other to treat oneself.

It would appear that this Golden Rule is claimed by Christians as being “their rule” created by them it is supposedly linked to Jesus

although the Golden Rule “can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”, the rule is “sometimes claimed by Christianity as its own”. The “Golden Rule” has been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth: “Therefore all things whatsoever would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31). The common English phrasing is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. A similar form appeared in a Catholic catechism around 1567 (certainly in the reprint of 1583). The Golden Rule also has roots in the two old testament edicts, found in Leviticus 19:18 (“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself”; see also Great Commandment)

from Wikipedia Golden Rule

So back to the person returning their Eagle Scout Award it would seem that within the BSA and people in other scouting orginisations that all the focus has been put on the word Straight.

Now while straight can mean heterosexual, it also means travailing on an unchanging path or to keeping true.

So maybe Morally Straight mean keeping true to your morals and the golden rule of our morals in Christianity and so may other religions is one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

Would you like to be excluded because your different?

A while back I saw an explanation of Morally Straight by Scoutmaster Jerry on his blog The Scoutmasters Minute

You see, as a Scout we make a promise to keep ourselves, among other things, Morally Straight.
That means that we do our very best to stay clean in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.  IF we think nasty thoughts, then we may want to take action on them.  IF we say nasty things, then we violate the promises we make in the oath and law.  And if we are nasty in our deeds or what we do, we chip away at our character.

Jerry was talking about some young people’s views on women and how we should act towards women (read the whole of his post to get the full picture).

However a nasty thought is a nasty thought if you think YOU can’t be part of my scout group because your different or not worthy, your female, your gay, your coloured, you don’t have what I call faith. Those are not what I would call nice thoughts, they are sexist, homophobic, racist, bigoted thoughts and in the nasty category

Jerry and I debated in the comments this idea of treating woman equally in relation to Girls in Scouting and agreed to disagree as Jerry said “Just my opinion. Not always popular or right.” and I respect his right to that opinion.

My morals tell me that everyone has a right to an opinion and everyone has the right to choose even if I don’t agree with their choices. However is it right to choose to exclude someone because they are Female or Gay or because they don’t have a predetermined Faith.

I don’t know you tell me?


  • While Scouting has celebrated our Centennial, we are still a relatively young movement. Over 20 centennials the Church itself has faced questions of inclusion, or as you say exclusion. People who all consider themselves Christians disagree over doctrine, method, membership. You may say the Presbyterians exclude the Baptists (or maybe they don’t in the UK, just an example). I would say each organization chooses their membership in their own way. And at the end of they day we’re all Christians.

    Substitute factions within Islam, Buddism, etc. As Scouts we all recognize God in our own way. A Scout is Reverent. A Scout is Clean. and A Scout is Obedient–seeking change in an orderly fashion when he doesn’t agree with the rules. Hopefully we stay respectful in that debate. As an individual, it’s really difficult to stay civil. I don’t agree with positions of UK Scouting, but I believe our common goals outweigh our doctrinal differences.

    (Yeah, I aim to stay civil by introducing religion into politics, right what am I thinking…)
    Yours in Scouting.

      • Terminology belies one’s bias. Let’s take gender, as you suggest. The UK provides “equal opportunity” to boys and girls, in line with the long-term trend in education.

        However, by definition, the UK model is biased against young men who excel in a gender-free environment they do not experience at school. Where boys can be boys, along Baden-Powell’s original model of active learning. Research has shown that the current sit-n-be-quiet public school model (in the US anyway) is not very friendly for many boys. While equality of opportunity is essential, boys and girls are just different.

        Some call it exclusion. Others call it having standards. I’m not going to cry bias against mixed-gender youth organizations. But I’m not happy with people trying to force their values on MY organization.

        • JC

          I in part agree with your stand point read

          However the issue you chose is not really the controversial one that the post discussed. Girls in the BSA in my mind is a non issue a) you have Girl Scouts and b) the BSA allows girls in Explorer posts and Varsity anyway. So if a girl wishes to be part of the programme there is a way she can.

          You mention in your comments about having standards I am not sure how this a) links to girls in Scouting or b) to the Morally Straight post.

          We all want to set our standards as high as possible I agree. I would therefore suggest that living in a world of mutual respect and understanding of people would lead to a world where equality was given to all regardless of gender, race, creed or sexual orientation. To me this would be setting the standard as high a we could.

          In the UK the 7th Scout Law says – A Scout has self-respect and respect for others. In having that respect, I as a scout respect that everyone should be treated equally.