A Scout's Duty to God and Country
James Fahs (jfahs@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 22:38:18 -0400
On Wed, 6 Jul 1994, Michael F. Bowman sent a quote from
"Rovering to Success" concerning Scouting religious
principles. Here are two other references which I believe to
be of interest.
The 1920 "Handbook for Boys," the first BSA handbook has the
"The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow
into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing his
obligation to God."
In the 1991 Reaffirmation of the Position of the Boy Scout
of America on Duty to God the BSA National Executive Board
"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
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."
Elsewhere in his message Michael writes:
>The thing that concerns me though is the terrible situation
>where the child promises to do his duty to God and Country
>at every meeting where he says the Cub Scout Promise or Boy
>Scout Oath, while the parents steadfastly maintain that it
>is improper for the Scouts to have and kind of recognition
>of any supreme being.
I have difficulty understanding why parents enroll their
sons in a program whose principles they do not support. It
is not as if they did not know the situation from the
beginning. The front page of the application has the oath
and law and a statement for the boy to sign which reads:
"I want to be a Scout. I have read the Scout Oath or
Promise and the Scout Law and promise to observe them."
The Joining Requirements (page 4 of the Handbook) read:
"Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath, the
Scout Law, the Scout motto, the Scout slogan, and the
Are we as leaders not making it clear from the beginning
that the Oath and Law are not just window dressing, that we
really mean it?
The leader who comes to realize that a Scout is dissembling
and does not counsel him is setting him up for a fall when
the truth comes out at a Board of Review.
... I used to be a Fox.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City