The Boy Scouts of America Statement of Religious Principles:
The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen
without recognizing an obligation to God.
In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise
the member declares, "On my Honor I will do my best to do my Duty to God and my Country and
to obey the Scout Law."
The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful
acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and
are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious
faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before
The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the
member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its
policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected
shall give definite attention to religious life.
BSA Charter And Bylaws
Article IX: Policies And Definitions
The Boy Scouts of America has a definite position on Religious Principles. The following
statement may help clarify this position:
"The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of
The Boy Scouts of America does not require membership in a religious organization or
association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages,
membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a Church, Synagogue,
or other religious association. If a Scout does not belong to a religious organization or
association, then his parent(s) or guardian(s) will be considered to be responsible for his
The Boy Scouts of America respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional
freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious
organizations. In a few cases, there are those who, by conviction, do not feel it necessary
to formally belong to an organized form of religion and seek to practice religion in
accordance with their own personal convictions. Religious organizations have commended the
Boy Scouts of America for encouraging youth to participate in organized religious activities.
However, these same organizations reject any form of compulsion to enforce conformity to
established religious practices.
If a boy says he is a member of a religious body, the standards by which he should be
evaluated are those of that group. This is why the application for the Eagle Scout Award
requests a reference from his religious leader to indicate whether he has lived up to their
expectations. Throughout life, Scouts are associated with people of different faiths.
Scouting believes in religious freedom, respecting others whose religion may differ from
theirs, and in the right of all to worship God in their own way."
Click here for a printable
The Boy Scouts of America Statement of Religious Principles.
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