Re: Duty to God
Phil Brown (philbr@SWBELL.NET)
Fri, 7 Nov 1997 10:53:08 -0600
I am posting the following which IMHO specicifically states Lord Baden
Powell's feelings about scouting and duty to God as well as BSA's
position on duty to God.
Scoutmaster Troop 423
Rising Star District
Sam Houston Area Council
"I used to be a Fox......."
The scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and
country only in the second place;
his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and reckoning
that God is the one Father of us
all, that we scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the
differences among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in
addition to the interest of our particular country, there is a higher
before us - namely, the promotion of the kingdom of God; that is, the
rule of peace and goodwill on
earth. In the Scouts, each form of religion is respected and its active
practice encouraged, and
through the spread of brotherhood in all countries, we have the
opportunity of developing the spirit of mutual goodwill and
There is no religious side of the movement. The whole of it is based on
religion that is, on the
realization and service to God.
Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the
forefront, not let themselves get
too absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral,
backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree, and comradeship
are, by all means not
the end. The end is character with a purpose.
And that purpose, that the next generation may be sane in a insane
world, and develop the higher
realization of service, active service of love, and duty to God and
Our objective in the scout movement is to give such help as we can in
bringing about God's kingdom
on earth by inoculating among the youth the spirit and the daily
practice in their lives of selfish
goodwill and cooperation.
REAFFIRMATION OF THE POSITION OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
ON "DUTY TO GOD"
Resolved, that the following reaffirmation of the position of the Boy
Scouts of America relating to "Duty to God" be, and hereby is, enacted
and that the Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, and literature of
Corporation reflect this reaffirmation accordingly.
In 1985, America celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of
America. Since 1910, 80 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 citizenship without
recognizing his obligation to God." (Page 215)
The latest edition of The Official Boy Scout Handbook, published in 1990
"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
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 80 million young
people in the United States.
Questions and Answers June 7, 1991
Duty to God
Q. Can an individual who states that he does not believe in God be a
Volunteer Scout leader or member?
A. No. The Scout Oath, which documents the basic values of Scouting,
literally and figuratively addresses the issue of "duty to God" before
duty to country, others and self.
Q. Why is duty to God important to Scouting?
A. Since its founding in the United States in 1916, the Boy Scouts of
America has had an ongoing commitment to encouraging moral, ethical and
spiritual growth. The BSA believes that the principles set forth in the
Scout Oath and Law are central to the BSA's goals of teaching the values
of self-reliance, courage, integrity and consideration of others.
Q. What harm would come of admitting young people who can not support
the BSA position on duty to God?
A. The Scout Oath and Law have served as the foundation of Scouting for
over 81 years. It would be a disservice to over five million youth and
adult members of Scouting to allow selective adherence to one or more
elements of the Oath or Law. To do so would result in an organization
that lacked the clear definition enjoyed by the BSA.
Q. How does the BSA define religion?
A. The BSA does not interpret God or religion. That is the role of the
Scout's family and religious leaders.
Q. What religions are involved with Scouting?
A. Virtually every religion is represented in the BSA.
Q. Some people maintain that God is a tree, a rock or a stream. Would a
person believing such be eligible to be a member of Scouting?
A. The BSA does not seek to interpret God or religion. The Scout Oath
states a requirement for a Scout to observe a duty to God, and the Scout
Law requires a Scout to be reverent. Again, interpretation is the
responsibility of the Scout, his parents and religious leaders.
Q. What allows the BSA to exclude atheists from membership?
A. The BSA is a private membership group. As with any private
organization, the BSA retains the Constitutional right to establish and
maintain standards for membership. Anyone who supports the values of
Scouting and meets these standards is welcome to join the organization.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City