Statement of Religious Principles

The Boy Scouts of America
Statement of Religious Principles


"A Scout does his Duty to his God."

Robert Baden-Powell



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 them.
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 religion.

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 religious development.

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.