The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. BSA is committed to the moral, ethical, and spiritual development of our youth.
BSA and Religion
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. To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, most religious groups have developed the religious emblems programs. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the emblems to be worn on the official uniform.
How to Get Started
How to Get Started on Religious Emblems Programs
Youth members must obtain the specific booklet for their religion. Scroll down for links, contact the religious organization directly, or check with the Scout Shop. Each youth member needs his or her own booklet to document progress. Some religions offer adult manuals for counselors and mentors. Parents must review the program guidelines. Some programs require participants to be official “members” of the religious institution. Age/grade requirements vary from program to program.
Each program sets its own guidelines as to who may serve as counselor. Some programs require clergy to serve as counselors; other programs allow parents or other family members to serve as counselors. Families should talk to their religious leaders and show them the booklet before beginning any program. Most programs require that they be completed under the auspices of that religious organization. Many programs require the signature of the local religious leader. The youth member needs to complete the requirements, obtain the proper signatures, and follow the instructions to order the emblem.
Browse through these web pages to discover the religious growth programs recognized by the BSA and ways to promote them.
Search for Your Faith’s Religious Awards:
How to get started on Religious Recognitions/Emblems:
Materials for Promoting Religious Recognitions/Emblems/Awards
> Presentations and Scripts to Promote Religious awards
> Promoting Duty To God Parent Handout
> View,download, or request the BSA Religious Awards Video
> Order P.R.A.Y. Religious Emblems workbooks over the P.R.A.Y. secure server.
View BSA Religious Awards Slide Show Web Page
(Power Point Presentation)
> Download BSA Religious Awards Power Point Presentation
The Position of the Boy Scouts of America on Duty to God.
In 1985, America celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Since 1910, eighty 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 citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” (page 215)
The latest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, published in 1990, reads: “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 position:
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 eighty million young people in the United States.