Crock Pot Beef Stew

Crock Pot Beef Stew

2.5 lbs chuck
1/4 cup bacon grease
salt
fresh cracked mixed peppers
1/8 c cooking wine

1 onion
12 oz beer

1 lb bag carrots
8 medium potatoes

8oz mushrooms

2 t minced garlic
1 t thyme
1 t marjoram
1/3 t ground celery seed
1/2 t white pepper
2/3 t salt
2 c bone stock

Heat 2/3 of bacon grease in griddle (or heavy pan) on high.
Cut beef into 1" x 3/4" x 3/4" pieces.
Liberally salt and pepper the beef.
Brown beef,  4 minutes per side, no stirring.

while beef is browning:
Slice onion.
Place onion in bottom of crock pot.
Add beer.
Set crock pot for 8 hrs, low.

Slice mushrooms.

Peel and chop carrots & potatoes.
Add to crock pot.

Add browned beef to crock pot.  Deglaze griddle with cooking wine.
Dissolve drippings into wine & pour into crock pot.

Sautee mushrooms in rest of bacon grease.  Add to crock pot.

Add garlic, herbs & spices, celery, and salt to crock pot.
Cook three hours or until sizzle is heard from crock pot.  Stir.  Add
bone stock.  Allow 8-hour cycle to complete, stirring every two hours if
available (otherwise add all ingredients at beginning and it will be
almost as good).

This will yield a thick stew.  Add and heat water for soupier stew.
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The 1913 Scout Law Postcards as a PDF

Here’s a 12-page PDF of the Scout Law postcards from 1913, formatted for easy printing.  These will come in very handy for teaching Cubs the Scout Law in 2015.

 

trustworthy

h/t Bryan.

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NH Supreme Court Runs Amok

Today’s NH Supreme Court ruling in Duncan v. NH  is great for low-income students who can still get scholarships to attend their  school of choice  (as they say, the rich always have school choice).

What’s not so great is how this case was decided.  On first analysis, it appears to be a huge abuse of power by the NH Supreme Court.

The Court found that Duncan did not have standing to argue the case as a taxpayer.    Because this is in contravention of NH Statute, as codified by the Republican Legislature and Democratic Governor in 2012, the Court also found that the Statute is unconstitutional.  Which part of the Constitution does the Court claim the statute violates?

[Art.] 74. [Judges to Give Opinions, When.] Each branch of the legislature as well as the governor and council shall have authority to require the opinions of the justices of the supreme court upon important questions of law and upon solemn occasions.

This article of the NH Constitution unambiguously requires the Court to render opinions to the Legislature (General Court), Governor, and Executive Council.  Today the court claims that it also prevents it from ever considering an argument from taxpayers, despite a long history of such decisions (many such examples are cited in the decision). By extension, the decision also claims that aggregate economic arguments may not be raised in NH Courts, since such arguments would create standing, which it claims does not exist. While the Obama administration has been arguing against taxpayer standing, such recognition is still accepted at the Federal level.

The court argues that any opinion it could render to a taxpayer would create “advisory opinions to private individuals” and as such exceeds its authority under Article 74. This argument does not pass the laugh test.

As the Court states in its decision:

“The simplest and most obvious interpretation of a constitution, if in itself sensible, is most likely to be that meant by the people in its adoption.”

The simple and sensible interpretation of Article 74 is that it is a requirement on the Courts, not a barring of the Courts to hear arguments from taxpayers.

This leaves the People with three distinct possibilities:

  • First, that the Framers of the Constitution meant what the Court claims but completely failed to articulate it and instead deeply hid the meaning in Article 74 to be discovered in 2014. This argument fails by the very quote they cite above.
  • Second, that the Court is simply not competent to interpret the Constitution.
  • Third, that the Court simply disliked the “restored” standing the 2012 bill returned to the taxpayers and chose to find a contrived path to find it unconstitutional.  Besides being an improper use of Court power to advance a political agenda, doing so would also be throwing Duncan under the bus.  One need not agree with the plaintiff to agree that he has been treated unfairly by the Court.

There are only two remedies left in NH to the People and the Legislature in the latter two cases. First is a Constitutional Amendment. It would be quite odd to have the Constitution describe the particulars of criteria for standing at the Supreme Court – that is a job properly left to Statute (as has been the case)

The second remedy is impeachment of the judges in this case (which was a unanimous decision). While the term ‘impeachment’ has drastic connotations in modern America, due to the popular notion of US Presidential impeachments being a high bar, it is, in reality, simply a tool that the Legislature has to “unappoint” judges that it finds are no longer suitable for the job. Either of the latter two possibilities are adequate criteria for such a finding.

The political feasibility of such an action will likely be determined this November.

Categories: economics, liberty, New Hampshire | Leave a comment

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Rights and Privileges and the EU

[background: This week the EU declared that an Internet business must “disappear” information about a person if they request it.  The ruling makes search engine and data-gathering/review services infeasible for businesses operating with a presence in the EU.]

People toss around the word “right” too casually. Narrowly constructed, a ‘right’ is only something that exists as a default state without outside interference. Imaging you’re on a desert island – you have the right to say what you want, think what you want, protect yourself from threats, hold on to your belongings, stay safe, etc. It’s when there’s a group of people who want to shut you up, take your stuff and lock you in a cage that we have to write this stuff down and call them “rights”. It gets worse if society believes that some men are justified in doing that stuff, so to settle the cognitive dissonance there requires a large structure.

But just as on that desert island there’s nobody to grow food or gather food for you, if somebody declares that you have a “right to food” then they’re selling you a line of goods (and watch your wallet) – what they really are saying is that they are going to grant you a privilege whereby they force somebody(ies) else to provide food to you. If there’s one group of people ordering another group of people to give things to other people, then it’s never a right, only a privilege. They may call it a ‘right’ to confuse you, but you don’t have to accept their newspeak.

Now then, when you do something in public/society, people notice. That creates information that just exists as objective truth – if somebody sees you walking around a park and writes down, “Tom walked across the park”, that is information about you, but you don’t own that information in any way. Now, maybe Tom was supposed to be at work, not walking across the park and he’d like for you to not have that information or tell anybody else about it. He could offer something to you to not tell anybody else about it, or even just ask you nicely, but you might find that gathering such information is more valuable to you than whatever Tom is offering, so you may or may not take Tom’s deal. But Tom might also get a group of his buddies to gang up and threaten you with some kind of harm if you tell anybody else about it. The gang has granted Tom a privilege of having that information about him ‘protected’ from disclosure.

So, this is what the EU has done – said that if you have information about somebody, and they don’t like that, then they can tell you to keep it to yourself, or the EU will beat you up (or some abstraction thereof). This is actually a pretty smart thing for the EU to do; governments thrive in low-information areas, imposing themselves to solve problems by dictate that could better be solved by all participants having access to more information. A company like Google has automated systems for gathering information and making it available to everybody, but to handle cases like this requires humans to discern what is going on, if the claims are legally valid, and then figuring out how to apply a heuristic to the data. This kind of EU ruling majorly affects Google’s cost structure, and to the extent that Google is becoming an abstract competitor to the EU by solving the information problem, the EU benefits from hurting Google in this way. Since the EU also makes Tom happy, they win in two ways, and Tom will feel more likely to reward the EU since they’ve offered him this privilege.

Most people are basically honest players and they have very little incentive to ever challenge the information that Google makes available about them. But people who do bad things – they’re going to take advantage of this ruling to try to cover their tracks (that a known pedophile is the first to use this law isn’t surprising). This is how the lowering of information will harm EU society to the largest degree – forget about Googling whether that roofer is honest or not – you’re only going to find positive results. Guess you’ll need to call a government regulator instead – Tom can’t get the gang to give up the information it has on Tom.

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Places in Both Hampshire and New Hampshire

These places with the same names exist in both Hampshire (England) and New Hampshire (USA):

Alton
Andover
Blackwater
Dummer
Easton
Kingston
Lee
Litchfield
Littleton
Martin
Milton
Winchester
Woodlands

There might be some fun sister-city opportunities in there.

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Comparing Costs of Enteric Fish Oil Supplements

I needed to order some more enteric-coated fish oil capsules, and the warehouse club that had been my trusty supplier discontinued all of its useful supplements, seemingly in favor of cheese platters and bagels.  I ordered some Kirkland brand from Amazon (since I had luck with the warehouse brand before) and got terrible fish burps from them, so, of to iHerb, I went, my trusty supplier, and found that the types and costs were all over the map.  For my own sanity I made a spreadsheet so I could calculate the cost per g of EPA and figured it would be worth sharing here, since there’s such a wide disparity and access to concentration value seems hard to come by.

I knew that there is some shenanigans afoot in the enteric-coating business, since the Kirkland “enteric coated” capsules gave me the fish burps, which would be impossible if the enteric coat was real, so I figured I might need to try some different brands to try some.  Note: I’ve excluded all the enteric-coated items that are not ‘molecularly distilled’ since I have a fish allergy and am not fond of consuming mercury nor PCB’s.  Nobody should be consuming those.

Finding #1: the “Maximum Strength” capsules from 21st Century Health Care are by far the best value if you don’t mind swallowing pills.  Finding #1a: they give me fish burps.  Finding #1b: “Maximum Strength” is a meaningless label at only 200mg per capsule.

Finding #2:  Natural Factors’ “Ultra Strength” is almost twice as expensive per g of EPA, but is the least expensive with an enteric-coating that works.  So, Finding #2a: no fish burps.  The concentration is really good – few capsules are required.

In sum, I’m taking the cheaper ones before bed and the more expensive ones during the day.  I did not need to progress up the scale beyond the second attempt.  Do you know of better values?  Leave a comment.

brand product count molecularly distilled? mg EPA per serving pills per serving servings per bottle EPA per pill cost cost per pill cost per serving cost per g EPA URL
Natural Factors Ultra Strength Rx-Omega-3 Factors 150 Y 647 1 150 647 $29.64 $0.20 $0.20 $0.31 http://www.iherb.com/Natural-Factors-Ultra-Strength-Rx-Omega-3-Factors-150-Enteric-Coated-Softgels/24529
Olympian Labs Inc. Enteric Coated Omega-3 Fish Oils 120 N 360 2 60 360 $17.71 $0.15 $0.30 $0.82 http://www.iherb.com/Olympian-Labs-Inc-Enteric-Coated-Omega-3-Fish-Oils-2000-mg-120-Softgels/10076
21st Century Health Care Alaska Wild Fish Oil 90 Y 650 3 30 650 $10.64 $0.12 $0.35 $0.55 http://www.iherb.com/21st-Century-Health-Care-Alaska-Wild-Fish-Oil-90-Enteric-Coated-Softgels/15223
21st Century Health Care Fish Oil 90 Y 180 1 90 180 $8.87 $0.10 $0.10 $0.55 http://www.iherb.com/21st-Century-Health-Care-Fish-Oil-1000-mg-180-Enteric-Coated-Softgels/11329
Optimum Nutrition Enteric Coated Fish Oil 200 N 180 1 200 180 $19.31 $0.10 $0.10 $0.54 http://www.iherb.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Enteric-Coated-Fish-Oil-200-Softgels/38943
21st Century Health Care Fish Oil, Maximum Strength 90 Y 200 1 200 200 $7.09 $0.04 $0.04 $0.18 http://www.iherb.com/21st-Century-Health-Care-Fish-Oil-Maximum-Strength-1200-mg-90-Enteric-Coated-Softgels/41324
Categories: economics, health | Leave a comment

Bengali Masar Dal Recipe

[I’ll do some photos next time I make it]

This is the best-tasting food in the world, and it’s pretty easy to make, besides being really inexpensive and healthy for you.  The final consistency is approximately that of a homemade apple sauce, except it’s savory and served hot.

This takes about 45 minutes to cook.  There’s no separate prep time if you’re working on one step as the previous one is going.  If you’re going to serve this with rice, don’t forget to start the rice cooker before you start this recipe.

Ingredients, Step 1:

  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Anaheim chili
  • 2 Jalapeno chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups red/pink lentils (masar dal)*

Start the water to boil on high.  Cut the stem end off of the chilies.  For a milder taste, scrape the seeds out.  Dice or puree them.  Put the chilies, turmeric, and salt in the water as soon as possible and bring everything to a boil.  Set the timer for 30 minutes and add the lentils.  Return to a boil, then reduce heat to “medium” (~7000 BTU on my stove). Stir with increasing frequency to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

* apparently some brands of lentils come with small stones in them.  I haven’t found this to be true with any of the lentils I’ve bought, but keep it in mind.  Fortunately, small stones probably aren’t pink, so they should be easy to see.  Most recipes call for washing and sorting the lentils, but I always skip that step.

Ingredients, Step 2:

  • 2-3 oz cooking oil (organic canola / extra virgin olive blend is good), depending on pan size
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes

Start the oil heating in a large flat-bottomed pan while you dice the onion.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook on medium-high heat until the onions begin to brown on the edges.  Add the ginger.  Cook until the ginger stops sizzling, then add the can of tomatoes.  Cook the mixture on medium heat until the oil has separated out of the mixture and the tomatoes are somewhat carmelized.  That should be just about at the 30 minute mark if your stove is like mine.  When the mixture is ready, stir it into the lentil pot.

Ingredients, Step 3:

  • 1 oz cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoron (equal parts cumin, fennel, mustard, fenugreek, and black “onion” seeds)
  • 4 bay leaves (European, or 2 Indian-sized, crumbled)

Make sure the bottom of this pan is smooth.  If it has ridges (like a Circulon) the spices will get jammed up.  An omelet pan works great.   Pay attention to the heat.  You need to get the oil hot to fry the spices, but you do not want to burn these.  A little bit of smoke will signal when the spices are ready, and you have to dump them in the pot right away to prevent a burned flavor.   That said: add the panch phoron to the hot oil, fry until some of the seeds pop like popcorn, and then add the bay leaves.  Get the bay leaves down in the oil and fry until you first see smoke, them dump them in the pot and stir.

You want the lentils to cook with the tomato/onion mixture for at least five minutes, preferably ten, with the spices going in half way through.  But don’t let the lentils burn on the bottom of the pan for the sake of reaching a ten-minute mark – just turn off the heat and let them cool together if you need to.

This dish can be eaten straight (just a little bit scovie) or is great with basmathi rice.  It reheats easily and stores well for about a week.  Note, the bay leaves are not intended to be eaten but go ahead and crunch right through the other spices.

This recipe was adapted from Julie Shani’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, which is an excellent cookbook.  Most of the recipes are easy to adapt to the tastes of your household.

If you can’t find any of the ingredients at your grocery story, any Asian or Indian store will have them.  Big Asian stores often have the best prices on all of these ingredients, including the produce.

Nutrition Information (Generated by MyFitnessPal.com):

Per serving (recipe makes 8):
Calories: 272
Carbs: 26g
Fat: 15g
Protein: 10g
Sodium: 380mg
Sugar: 2g

Categories: health, recipes | 1 Comment

Chocolate Shake Diet

What could sound more gimmicky than “The Chocolate Shake Diet”, right?  There’s all sorts of chocolate shake products – Slimfast, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and all kinds of more expensive options.  But they don’t work (at least not for me or many people I’ve talked to).  Why?  Look at this breakdown of the ingredients in Slimfast – yeah, 34 grams of sugar.  My daily target is 31 grams of sugar, and somehow many people don’t lose any weight consuming several times that on a diet.  But, hey, it doesn’t taste bad, does it?

OK, so then back to losing weight with a bit of scientifically sound nutrition instead.  I was inspired by some successes I saw and when I looked more closely, what I found was that the secret to those successes was a constant stream of protein, to avoid hunger.  Also important were simple rules, and ease of implementation of the diet.  I also saw that the diet programs that sell products especially geared for weight loss are extremely expensive.  The first rule of sales is to find the pain, right?  They see the desperate fatties coming and take full advantage of them.  Looking around, Americans need to start with losing fifty megatons of weight, and 70% of them are living paycheck to paycheck.  I have no wish to buy into such expensive programs myself and I thought I could do better.

So, I began researching various products, looking at what they were made of, what their nutritional properties were, etc.  Then I began cross-referencing the desired characteristics with commercially available products that were both sufficient and (relatively) affordable.  Then I narrowed them down by product reviews for quality, usability and taste.

So then, here is the diet in three easy steps:

  1. Consume 10 grams of quality protein one hour before every meal and whenever you have a craving for a snack.
  2. Consume 20 grams of quality protein once a day with a quality multivitamin as a meal replacement.
  3. Cut back on normal carbohydrate consumption by half.

That’s it.  A simple diet that will leave you never feeling hungry and consistently losing weight.  While drinking chocolate shakes.  Read on for details on each of those steps.

Pre-gaming Meals with Protein

The trick here is that if you have 10 grams of protein an hour before each meal, you won’t be as hungry when you eat the meal.  You will eat less without feeling hungry.  It’s no secret that every successful diet is ultimately about calorie restriction, but fighting Nature is a bitch, and it’s very hard to succeed if you’re hungry.

Now comes the part with product suggestions.  I’m recommending these because they work for me.  I’m still using them in my quest to de-lard myself and get my health under control.

First: BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder.

Here are the things to like about it:

  • It’s a protein isolate.  The mixture is made from pure proteins with very few calories worth of product that we don’t need.
  • It has only 2g of sugar per full serving.  Some sugar is going to be inherent in any product that is derived from milk, but this manufacturer really gets it down.  That’s very important for your insulin response.  If you spike your insulin, you’re just going to be hungry again soon.  Don’t do that – you won’t get slim very fast that way!!!
  • It’s US-made.  I don’t want to be on a melamine diet, do you?
  • The protein mixture is a combination of fast, medium, and slow-digesting proteins.  This is really important as it helps stretch out the amount of time over which your body will digest the drink.  That helps keep you sated for longer.
  • It tastes really good.  I’m a fool for chocolate milkshakes, and, hey, this isn’t the real thing but I never recoil at the thought of this diet drink.
  • It mixes very easily with water.  Sure, it tastes better with milk.  But you’re trying to keep your calories down here.  Think.
  • It’s competitively priced. You can get cheaper stuff at Walmart, but the protein quality is not as good.  You can very easily spend more too.

Here’s what not to like about it:

  • Artificial sweeteners.  Yeah, I’m not down with it. I try to avoid these whenever I can.  I just couldn’t find a natural low-calorie sweetener (one of my other side projects, stay tuned…) in a product that had all of the other required properties.  Who knows, maybe I’ll manufacture one someday.  But in the meantime, I’m faced with a stark choice: what’s worse for me – using artificial sweeteners for a few months or being a lard-ass.  There’s not really a question in my mind.
  • Lack of disclosure.  The exact protein/amino acid ratios aren’t disclosed by the manufacturer.  Their website says they think people will rip them off if they say what’s in the protein mixture.  Hrm, maybe.   Other brands list theirs.  Again, I don’t like it but I think the trade-off is worth it.  And, empirically, it’s a good blend.

OK, then, product recommendation #2: Sundesa Blenderbottle with Blenderball

Really, these are fantastic.  It’s a plastic sports bottle with a surgical-grade stainless steel ball inside.  The lid screws on nicely, the ball mixes the drink with about 10 seconds of shaking, and it cleans up very easily.  This is important because you’re going to be cleaning the bottle 4-5 times a day.  The ball is smooth so it doesn’t scratch the bottle (you don’t want to drink plastic powder!).  The opening for drinking is smaller than the ball, so you don’t have to open it after shaking – just drink.

Get the 20oz size (I got the “macho” 28 oz size initially, and that’s silly for a half-cup of drink).  In fact, get three bottles so you can bring one or two with you when you go out.  If they had a 12-oz ‘mini’ size, I’d get that.

Multi-Vitamin

Take your favorite high-strength multi-vitamin once a day.  You can do it with your meal replacement, or as I often do, I find it easier to take one first thing in the morning.  Having all your essential nutrients covered is one way to avoid cravings.  I’m a big fan of the ‘Mens Maximum’ vitamin that’s been sold under WalMart’s OneSource brand and then most recently by BJ’s.  I see it’s missing from their website at the moment, but sometimes I see it at the store.  Get the best one you can find, and that doesn’t depend on having a high price.

OK, then, that’s the hardware, so here’s an example of how to use it:

  1. wake up time – get 10g of shake going first thing.  That’s a half scoop.  Usually I’ll do about half a cup of water for a thick shake.  You can adjust the water to your taste.  Take your vitamin with it.
  2. Weigh yourself.  Keep weighing yourself every day, several times a day, with your shoes on and without.  Get a feeling for how your weight fluctuates during the day as well as over time.  The feedback you’ll get from watching the numbers tick down over time is self-reinforcing as well.
  3. Have breakfast.  Do you normally have two pieces of French Toast?  Have one.  Enjoy your bacon.  Yes, enjoy your bacon.
  4. 10AM doldrums – you want some junk food.  No!  Have a half-scoop chocolate shake.  Yum, it’s a frikkin’ chocolate shake.
  5. Lunch time.  I find lunch to be the easiest meal to replace.  Take a full scoop in about a cup of water.  Go ahead, round it over.  Shake it up and enjoy.
  6. 2PM blues – half ounce shake.
  7. Sensible dinner.  Eat half the fries or spaghetti your fat-self would have.  Have at the meatballs.
  8. 11PM “I’m up too late and hungry”.  Go ahead, have a 10g shake.  There’s no caffeine in the mix, but if you’re very sensitive to theobromine then maybe you want to use a different flavor.  Click on the product image above and then look at the selection of flavors on Amazon’s page.  I don’t understand how another flavor could be better than chocolate, so I’m content to be boring and consistent here.  But, go ahead you wild person, you, experiment with other flavors.

So, what kind of results are you going to see here?  I’m down 16 pounds in 3 weeks.  I’m not sick of the effort at all at this point.  How much Syntha-6 are you going to have to buy?  I’m going through a bottle every two weeks.  Amazon has a subscription service to ship these once a month, but that doesn’t cut it for me.  I didn’t see a way to subscribe twice, so I’m paying the 5% premium to get these on demand.  (UPDATE: There’s now a 5 Pound option, in some flavors with an additional 10% savings per pound.  First delivery on the subscription is about two weeks after ordering, so you might want to order a 2.91lb unit without subscription and a 5lb unit with subscription at the same time).

Speaking of which, you do have Prime, right?  It’s ridiculously useful.  So, I need to lose about 50 pounds, and if my weight loss continues at about 5 pounds a week, that’s $150 I’m going to have to spend on this product.  That’s such a good value for me, that I simply can’t complain.  If it takes twice as long, I’m still going to be a happy camper.  A happy, 190lb camper.

Lastly, I’ll note, Syntha-6 isn’t sold as a weight-loss product.  In fact, its primary purpose is for body builders to get extra protein for adding weight, of the muscle variety.  Are these two goals in conflict?  Not really – they both speak to the quality of the protein in the product, and it’s just that we’re using it here for a different goal.  When I get back to a reasonable weight and back to the weight room, I’m going to strongly consider continuing to use this product for its originally intended purpose.  In the meantime, I’m very happy with its results for this new use.

Have you tried this technique?  Leave a comment below with how well you did!

Categories: health, recipes | 1 Comment

Is the new Boy Scouts of America Membership Policy “Morally Straight”?

“How can the Boy Scouts admit gay youth?  Doesn’t the Scout Oath require them to be ‘morally straight’?” some ask.

It does, and it has since 1911.

“So how can the Boy Scouts admit gay youth – they’re not straight?”

First things first – the use of the word ‘straight’ to mean ‘heterosexual’ was first used thirty years after the Scout Oath was adopted by the BSA.

So, it is impossible that the Scout Oath meant ‘heterosexual’ when it was adopted.  Sexuality is not and never has been part of Scouting.

“So, if ‘morally straight’ doesn’t mean ‘heterosexual’, what does it mean?”

Simply put, it means living one’s life in adherence to one’s morals.

“So, then, what are the morals of the Boy Scouts of America?”

That one is easy – they are established by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  Beyond that, a Scout’s morals are established by his community, religion, and personal moral code.  To be morally straight, a Scout will abide by his moral code.  The particulars of that code will vary according to his place, his faith, and personal beliefs.

Boy Scouts, as an organization, is non-sectarian.  It does not impose any requirements on a youth beyond the Scout Oath and Law, but it does require the Scout to live up to his own morals.  It’s a reminder to the Scout to never stray from his principles, a guide that will serve him well throughout his life.

Certainly, there are differences among the worlds’ religions.  A Jewish Scout may not be permitted to eat pork, while a Catholic Scout may be a happy consumer of bacon.  Scouting does not require the Jewish Scout to eat bacon, nor the Catholic Scout to abstain from bacon for the Jewish Scout’s sake, but it does require both Scouts to be ‘reverent’ and to respect the teachings of each others’ religions.  He doesn’t have to follow those teachings, but he has to respect that the other Scout follows them.  Tolerance of every Scout’s religion is simply the only way for an organization like the Boy Scouts to be viable.

In regards to homosexuality, some of the world’s religions don’t address the subject at all.  In the Abrahamic religions, Leviticus forbids many things, including homosexuality and the eating of certain foods; those who observe the Kosher tradition abide by these rules.  Most Christian traditions consider Mark 7:15 to reverse the prohibition on those foods from Leviticus, and some denominations feel that the literal text of Mark 7:15 also removes the prohibition on homosexuality.  Some denominations further cite Matthew 19:12 as clarifying Jesus’s stance on homosexuals and as such they welcome homosexuals into their churches.  Other denominations strongly disagree, and so there is religious controversy as to which Bible verses mean what, and how they should be properly interpreted.

Boy Scouts of America does not take a position on the interpretation of any Bible verses.  It is explicitly non-sectarian and only requires that Scouts and Scouters be ‘reverent’ towards theirs and other religions, while abiding by their own moral codes.

Some Scouters (for the most part not Scouts) are currently upset that the most recent change in BSA policy is no longer in line with their own religion’s teachings.  This is certainly true in many cases, and one can understand the challenge a Scouter faces when the BSA’s policy changes from directly supporting a teaching of his own church to requiring the Scouter to be instead tolerant of others’ churches’ teachings.  Though perhaps difficult, that same Scouter can take solace knowing that the new BSA Membership Standards policy is more clearly in line with the Scout Oath and Law that than previous policy was.  Scouters are encouraged to continue continue to help other people at all times, and to always be Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Brave, and Reverent.

Categories: Scouting | 2 Comments