Reaffirmation of the Position of the
Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God

From the BSA National Executive Board, June 12, 1991:


Be it resolved that the following reaffirmation of the position of the Boy Scouts of America relating to the duty to God be, and hereby is, enacted that the bylaws, rules and regulations, and literature of the Corporation reflect this reaffirmation accordingly.

In 1985, America celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.  Since 1910, eighty million Americans have subscribed to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, which have stood the test of time.

The National Executive Board of the BSA proudly states, through its mission statement, that the values which the organization strives to instill in young people are those based upon the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  A Scout pledges: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law...."

The first Boy Scouts of America *Handbook for Boys*, published in August 1911, declares that "..no boy can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God." (page 215)

The latest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, published in 1990, reads: "A scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others." (page 561)

While not intending to define what constitutes belief in God, the Boy Scouts of America is proud to reaffirm the Scout Oath and its declaration of duty to God.

The following statements are additional information on the BSA position:

The Boy Scouts of America has always been committed to the moral, ethical, and spiritual development of our youth. Scouting is not a religion, but duty to God is a basic tenet of the Scout Oath and Law.

Scouting does not seek to impose its beliefs upon others who do not share them.  Virtually every religion is represented in Scouting, and the BSA does not define or interpret God. That is the role of the Scout's family and religious advisors.

Scouting respects those who do not share its beliefs and it would not ask others to alter their faith in any fashion in order to become Scouts.  They too are free to follow their own beliefs. Rather, the BSA membership believes that the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are central to the BSA goal of teaching the values of self-reliance, courage, integrity, and consideration to others.  Scouting may not be for everyone, but for eight decades, Scouting has provided meaningful programs and adventure to more than eighty million young people in the United States.


Page updated on: May 02, 2013



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