Last week, I had the opportunity to teach at Circle 10 Council’s University of Scouting … including course CUB033 Duty to God:
- What the BSA says about Faith – in order to prepare leaders for some of the questions that parents will ask
- Fundamentals of the Religious Awards programs that are available to Scouts through PrayPub
- Planning a Religious Study and a Pack Worship Service
- A sample service given in my Pack
Here is the PPT from the course.
If you use it to teach a course, here are two requests for your consideration. 1) please let me know how it might be improved and 2) please point people back to ScoutingForGod for supplemental content and insight.
What does the BSA says about Faith and Religion — for Cub Scouts
For Cub Scouts and Leaders:
|The Cub Scout Promise states:
|I ________ promise to do my best
|To do my duty to God and my country,
|To help other people, and
|To obey the Law of the Pack.
The BSA scouting.org website offers clarity and commentary on each aspect of the Cub Scout Promise.
To do my duty to God: This phrase means to remember to thank God for good friends, good health, our well-being, our family, and all others who love and help us. Going to worship services is another way of doing our duty to God. We should respect other people’s religious beliefs even if they are different from our own.
See also the Religious Programs available to Tigers, Wolves,Bears and Webelos.
What does the BSA says about Faith and Religion
Article IX, Clause 1 of the Charter of the Boy Scouts of America states:
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.
The BSA goes on to offer the following interpretive clarifications:
- 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, member-ship 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.
BSA Youth Applications reference the Declaration of Religious Principle (above) and add:
Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.
BSA Adult Applications have a similar reference to the Declaration of Religious Principle with the following:
The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, 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 organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts from the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership.
See also — the Cub Scout Promise and the Boy Scout Oath & Law
|The Boy Scout Oath promises:
|On my honor, I will do my best
|To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
|To help other people at all times;
|To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
The 12th Point of the Scout Law is that “A Scout is Reverent“.
A Scout is reverent toward God.
He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others. Wonders all around the world remind us of our faith in God. We find it in the tiny secrets of creation and in the great mysteries of the universe. It exists in the kindness of people and in the teachings of our families and religious leaders. We show our reverence by living our lives according to the ideals of our beliefs. Throughout your life you will encounter people expressing their reverence in many different ways. The Constitution of the United States guarantees each of us the freedom to believe and worship as we wish without government interference. It is your duty to respect and defend others’ rights to their religious beliefs even when they differ from your own.
Scouting 4 God Commentary:
“Reverence” in the Scout Law comes down to three key mandates – found within the first line of text above:
He is FAITHFUL in his religious duties. Above all else, are you and your Creator in alignment? Every person of every faith is individually accountable to their Creator for their own actions. The Scout Law reminds us of this accountability.
He RESPECTS the beliefs of others. As is the purpose of this entire website and the BSA charter, while we may not agree on what our Creator looks like, we must respect others viewpoints. As your faith calls you to share your faith, do it respectfully in ways that does not tread on beliefs of those around you. Moreover, Scout Leaders and those responsible for leading religious activities within Scouting events must be very sensitive to ensure that their language and activities do not enforce only one particular faith.
We find it in the tiny secrets of CREATION. As our common denominator, we embrace a Creator. Especially with Scouting’s emphasis on outdoor activities and camping, it should be easy to be constantly reminded that a Creator exists — and therefore is suitable to be reverent to.
See also – the BSA Charter & Bylaws andthe Cub Scout Promise