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Monday, January 4, 2010

It ought to be just as difficult for a good Scout to pass up a Good Turn as to pass up a second piece of pie.

I recently got into an email skirmish with Catholic apologist John Salza over his use of my essay "Freemasonry, Scouting and the Order of the Arrow"--in its entirety--as an appendix to an essay of his own, without asking. After an initial feisty and sarcastic exchange, politeness won the day and the end result was that while there's not going to be a beer summit anytime soon, we've worked it out; as the kids say: "we're cool."

Salza has problems with Freemasonry and the Order of the Arrow (OA) for three basic reasons as far as I can tell.
  • oath-taking
  • secrecy
  • ecumenicalism
Those are all accurate points and if they go against your faith, there's not much to say other than that these organizations are not for you; they are legitimate points of contention. While I don't agree with Salza's conclusions or the point of view that led him there (a point of view which also seems to support geocentrism and the idea that the earth is only 14,000 years old), at least he's theologically consistent. To paraphrase Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski: "Say what you will about Roman Catholicism, at least it's an ethos!"

I can't be so conciliatory with these f-- er, folks. They have taken a big chunk of my essay, sprinkled in a few asinine comments and, although kind enough to keep the attribution, have changed the title to that of Salza's essay: Freemasonry has infiltrated the Boy Scouts? So, anyone reading that blog might think that this is my title and my feeling. Infiltrate. A loaded word which connotes nefarious designs. Not at all my conjecture. These people (not Salza) are either lazy or disingenuous and the only reason I don't take it up with them directly is because they haven't put a contact email on their blog.

So, let me state categorically once and for all that I have no affiliation with anti-Masons and the intention of my essay was an attempt at a neutral history. I do not believe Freemasons have infiltrated Scouting or the OA. Influenced it, yes. There's a big difference.

Finally, Henry Makow Ph.D cites Salza's essay in a piece entitled...no I can't bring myself to name it! Now, Salza can't control how people reference his work so it's not his fault. After all, the author cites Salza and not me directly; but, since my essay is such a big part of Salza's, I am implicated. The point of this last essay is that Baden-Powell was something like William S. Burroughs in short pants (come to think of it, Uncle Bill did write that Revised Boy Scout Handbook....) and that the Boy Scouts is basically a big hunting ground to feed Freemasonic pedophiles. Absurd. Sample quote:

"Like most major institutions, the Boy Scouts appears to have been subverted by Freemasonry, which has a hidden agenda of promoting homosexuality and denying God."

My well-reasoned response to this is: "Sir, you are an idiot." (Sadly, he is not an idiot at all).

As a result of seeing my essay so mangled, I occasionally Google its title to see where it pops up. I found it referenced on a Finnish blog, of all places, and in so doing came across the following photo, which doesn't do much to dispel the pedophile theory. I mean, I know it's not meant to depict anything unwholesome, but you gotta admit that in the context it's a bit weird.




The National Parks Service has this to say:

Boy Scout Memorial

The memorial to the Boy Scouts of America stands on the site of the first Boy Scout Jamboree in 1937. It is one of the few memorials in Washington, D.C. commemorating a living cause. The funds to build this memorial were raised by Scout units throughout the United States, and each donor signed one of several scrolls that were placed in the pedestal of the statue. The memorials was unveiled in a ceremony on November 7, 1964. The statue was accepted for the country by Associate Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, who noted that the day marked his fiftieth anniversary as an Eagle Scout.

The bronze statue consists of three figures. The Boy Scout represents the aspirations of all past, present, and future Scouts throughout the world. The male figure exemplifies physical, mental, and moral fitness, love of country, good citizenship, loyalty, honor, and courage. He carries a helmet, a symbol of masculine attire. The female figure symbolizes enlightenment with the love of God and fellow man, justice, freedom, and democracy. She holds the eternal flame of God's Holy Spirit.

Travel website Gridskipper has a funny comment about the memorial:

Speaking of ugly memorials in Washington DC, an irate reader points out the Boy Scout Memorial near the Ellipse. "Very appropriate, nude man, hand on boy's shoulder, clothed woman doing magic trick."

Funny stuff. Apparently, a propos of nothing, there is an oval pool in front the triad.

I have no reason to think this statue means anything other than what it's purported to mean, but even in 1964, it must have made some people a little uncomfortable. Considering the rampant pedophile paranoia of our culture, it's a bit of a surprise the BSA doesn't discretely lobby to have it removed.

I rather like this summary of interpretations:

"The Boy Scout Memorial located at E & 15th Street NW of a naked man and woman led by a boy scout evokes delusions around its meanings based on the dark consciousness of sexuality. From incest and homoeroticism to painfully repressed sexuality the interpretations have been many. Yet, its beauty reveals the creation element of sexuality through the familial triad of father, mother & child."

Do a good turn daily!

6 comments:

  1. Well the "funny" (ironic, not "ha, ha!") thing about this is that the Boy Scouts have policies banning atheism, agnosticism, and homosexuals, so many inclusive folks tend to be leery of the Boy Scouts for their exclusiveness! This is, off course, not unlike the controversies surrounding the Roman Catholic Church, also dead-set against homosexuality, yet so plagued by gay pedophiliac priests.

    Anyhow, that statue, Daurade, is really funny. You did, though (I think), quote a falsehood. The man's hand is not on the boy's shoulder, is it? It only looks like it when it's photographed from the specific angle to which the respondent was referring--right?

    It looks to me like the father figure is actually holding a bundle of sticks in the crook of his arm, or, as any 3rd grader will tell you, he's cradling a fag. Likewise, the Boy Scout has a really tight grip on his rod, though who can blame him with that totally hot and naked couple behind him, palms held open as if offering up their offspring for display?

    No, no! I'm just kidding! Seriously, though, I think that the statue fails if it's supposed to represent "the creation element of sexuality through the familial triad of father, mother & child." To me it looks more like it is suggesting that the Boy Scouts are the offspring, perhaps even the culmination, of the Greco-Roman culture.

    Clearly, however, any such view point was articulated before the creation of the blogosphere, which is, surely, the penultimate expression of Greco-Romanticism.

    Wait! Let me try to be serious again. I am (seriously!) glad that you were able to have an ecumenical (ha, ha,) exchange with John Salza. He seems to be incredibly sincere and intelligent, although I must confess that while I admire intelligence, I kind of despise sincerity, and I have to disagree, fundamentally, with the basic stand-points from which he argues. Anyhow, he’s smart and accomplished and probably in the mob (just kidding, yikes!), so, sissy that I am, I prefer a coming to agreement over fisticuffs.

    BTW, at the risk of exposing my own idiocy (I have plenty), I'm not sure what you were hinting at in regards to the oval pool in front of the statue?

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  2. Yeah, that comment is wrong, but funny! I think you're right about your interpretation that it suggests the Scouts are the offspring of G-R culture...but not the culmination. I think it's more suggestive that the Scouts are continuing to lead the way in the development of that culture towards the future. Shades of regeneration as suggested in the last post and comments.

    The idea of the "creation element" etc. may not be so fanciful after all. I doubt this was the sculptor's intention though.

    Great puns btw! I'm not sure about that reflecting pool to be honest. I had some vague notions of femininity (vaginal) in its form, the water being the warm embryonic fluid of the womb....but this is just a spin, not a serious conjecture on the meaning. There's always the old "as above so below" cliché--sky in the water sort of thing. I'm not sure. Funny it's kind of overlooked in most descriptions.

    Visitor's accounts describe is "neglected" and "scummy...." ?

    Yeah, Salza in an interesting figure. I'm glad things didn't end acrimoniously. I pretty much can say the same things as you do except I don't despise sincerity!

    Final note is that there's a great summary on Wiki-p of Tom Jeal's investigation of B-P's sexuality. Jeal thinks B-P was definitely a repressed homosexual, which is ironic given Scouting's bigoted stance on the issue of gayness. I've read Jeal's book and concur with his conclusions.

    Unlike those who protest that this is spurious bullshit, that he may have been gay doesn't phase me at all. Still, seeing as he created his own world in which he was surrounded by adoring boys is pretty wild.

    That millions of conservatives valorize a movement created by an Edwardian boy-man, the most celebrated repressed "chicken hawk" in the world, is a delicious kind of justice....

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  3. I got it all wrong, apparently---this statue is a depiction of the Antichrist! (mwah ha ha haaaa!)

    --------
    "Boy Scouts Are Now Training Their Scouts To Be Good Global New World Order Citizens"

    Shockingly, an Eagle Boy Scout is depicted in a major sculpture on 15th Street in Washington, D.C., as the Divine Child (Perfected Man, Masonic Christ) with his Divine Father and Divine Mother behind him!

    Boy Scouting is proven to be Masonic from its origin!
    --------

    The summary above at this link: http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/headline.html

    You have to pay to get the article, however. The truth is out there, only 25 bucks a year!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm, yeah I guess that it's not sincerity that I despise so much as lack of perspective--a sort of serious that arises when people wrap themselves in one certain point of view and are unable, therefore, to look around and see their position in perspective.

    The best antitode is humor. So maybe it's all seriousness and no humor that turns me off. And I mean that sincerely. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gid, this will keep us out of the scouts and the army, but I love you! :) Sincerely.

    If you get a chance, read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger books. These are like the Bible for me. It addresses exactly that--the inability to see one's point of view as: a point of view among many. Not wanton relativism, but the ability to sit back and question where one's a prioris com from, to question the fundamental assumptions.

    Salza et al, though sincere, can't seem to grasp that by taking their point of view as the TRUTH, all other opinions stem from that. They simply can't see that apesant farmer in Pakistan may have access to other truths they have never considered, that everything we hold dear and evident may in fact be flawed, false, or most of all, simply incomplete.

    Such a basic concept it's a wonder fundamentalists of any stripe can still exist.

    Marx's "religion is the opiate of the people" to me doesn't necessarily mean that it soothes, but that it stops people from thinking: I have the truth and that is that; thus, I am soothed, and life is easier. I can concentrate on paying bills and the fellowship of people who think exactly like me.

    Perhaps we're the same. I'd venture to think this is not so.

    But I'm probably wrong. I do think if more people were like you and I, bemused, questioning, tolerant, aware of our cultural walls, the world would be a better place. But then again, everyone thinks that....

    ReplyDelete

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