Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Scout Is Obedient

My cubmaster, Art McKeen started every Cub Scout pack meeting by putting the needle of a record player on just the right spot of a vinyl LP. A bugle calling Assembly sounded out across the gymnasium letting everyone know that the meeting was about to start. We had a very large pack, but when that bugle call sounded, each of us quickly found our seats and the room became amazingly quiet.

Art would welcome everyone to the meeting. He was always well organized. The cubs that were to run the flag ceremony were fully prepared by this point. Art would again set the needle on the record and we would hear a bugle playing To The Color. We all immediately stood at attention. The flag ceremony followed.

At the close of the meeting, the record player sounded Retreat, following which, we would run to get treats.

When I first became a member of the pack, I wasn't completely sure why we did all of these things at pack meetings. But, like my fellow Cub Scouts, I obediently did what I knew I was supposed to do. As time went on I gained a better understanding of why it was important to have order in the meeting and to properly honor our nation's flag.

Obedience is an important principle for maintaining safety and order, and in making life more pleasant for everyone. Chaos can be exhilarating, but it is rarely pleasant. It endangers life and property.

The Boy Scout Law teaches a scout to be obedient to the laws and rules of his family, school, troop, community, and country. He is to work through appropriate channels to change laws and rules that he thinks are unfair rather than disobeying them.

But there are limits to this as well. Obedience, above all, means being obedient to what is right. There may be times when one is faced with the choice of obeying a blatantly immoral law or doing what is actually right.

My Dad saw only one movie that was rated R during his lifetime. I expressed surprise when he told me that he took my young brother to see Schindler's List. Having grown up in Nazi Germany, Dad responded that it was absolutely essential for everyone to understand the profound evil that was perpetrated in Germany during that era, while many either participated in or acquiesced to such wickedness in the name of obedience.

Consider, for example, how the young German boy depicted as a member of the Hitler Youth in this short video clip chooses to save the life of a Jewish girl in obvious defiance of established law.
While obedience to proper authority is necessary in society, no one is obligated to obey laws that are evil. It must be recognized, however, that failure to obey such laws may lead to severe consequences. One must be willing to accept such consequences when it becomes necessary to disobey immoral laws.

Hopefully today's scouts will rarely face such challenges and can content themselves with obedience to acceptable laws and rules.

A scout is obedient.

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