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Webelos Duty To God

One of Scouting’s three Principles is titled “Duty to God.” This statement has been interpreted in many different ways, some of which have lead to religious discrimination, a violation of Scouting’s fundamentals. What does Duty to God really mean to Scouting? Duty to God is about the development of the spiritual values of life and is not a statement about any required beliefs about the material world. This essay is based on the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s (WOSM) document Fundamental Principles which contains “the only authoritative statement agreed upon by more than one hundred member organizations of WOSM” (WOSM 1992:1). All quotations in this essay are from that document. List one thing that will bring you closer to doing your duty to God, and practice it for one month. Write down what you will do each day to remind you. Discuss with your family, family’s faith leader, or other trusted adult how planning and participating in a service of worship or reflection helps you live your duty to God. Discuss with your parent, guardian, den leader, or other caring adult what it means to do your duty to God. Tell how you do your duty to God in your daily life. Requests for refund or cancellations will be honored anytime up to a week prior to any event or until registration for a class / event has filled or closed. Requests after a week prior to the class or event will not receive a refund.

No matter the origin, or the name, this prayer has been one that has been recited by many scouts. And has invited great reflection through out the years from coast to coast.

WHEREAS these faith-based tenets have been a part of the Boy Scouts of America since it was founded and, notwithstanding any changes to Scouting programs, the commitment of the movement to Duty to God is unwavering;
Additionally, there are many religious commandments and faith-based traditions for celebrating special holiday observances during the month and year. Which ones are unique to your religion?A key part of fulfilling your Duty to God is to first learn it. Many religious faiths of a collection of both history and wisdom that are referred to as scripture. Taking a few minutes each day to study the holy books for your faith is an essential duty. An added bonus is the discovery of life-enhancing wisdom. 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. (Accredited to James E. West, 1st Chief Scout Executive of BSA) “The World Movement of Scouting is in a very unique position to help the different peoples and cultures of the world find common ground from among their best traditions and beliefs. By this Scouting can help promote better world citizenship and world peace.”During the Board of Review, a young scout will be asked questions about how he fulfilled this requirement. Depending upon his/her faith and beliefs, the scout’s answers may vary greatly. A member of the Board should include at least one or more members that share the same faith background as the scout.

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.
Now therefore be it resolved that the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America hereby reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to the Declaration of Religious Principle as a fundamental component of the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.And when he was twelve years ​old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast…And when they (his parents) found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my (Heavenly) Father’s business?…And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. St Luke 2:42-52

Consider the following general definitions that may fit who will exploring his Duty to God, may have decided that his/her path is not to join any set organized religion:
The resurrected Savior in his final instruction to his disciples before his departure, repeated a simple commandment three times : “Feed My Sheep”. (St John 21:15-17)”As a Life Scout, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life, and how your understanding of the Scout Oath and Scout Law will guide your life in the future. List on your Eagle Scout Rank Application the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious (if not affiliated with an organized religion, then the parent or guardian provides this reference), educational, employer (if employed), and two other references.”

Duty to God is an important yet sensitive topic in scouting. It can be a very controversial topic because there are thousands of religious movements and traditions around the world, and many thousands more families that practice their own religious traditions. Many religious traditions are of a personal or sacred nature, but because they can vary quite dramatically, this topic can become quite controversial.
It should be clear to everyone that this is not a requirement that every scout lives the Law of God with exactness to your own religious beliefs. Instead this should be encouragement for every one to seriously study, pray and ponder about the meaning of life and what does religious mean to you and how can appropriate religious practices make you a better person.While there are thousands upon thousands of religious movements in the world today, but Scouting’s Duty to God promises attempts to accommodate all of them as best as possible. Many of these will define Duty to God in great detail and with some bit of variation. Many scouting families identify with particular movement. Many others may not identify with any form of organized religious movement, but follow their own traditions in the home. However, many religious traditions follow a few key core beliefs that are important to note:

What is a child's duty to God?
To Love, Honor, and Obey God. Children should learn to love, honor, and obey God at a very early age. They need not wait until they are adults to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior, as the following verses affirm. Ecclesiastes 12:1.
Underscoring just how important it is, the BSA National Executive Board met at their 2018 National Annual Meeting in Dallas and adopted a resolution that reaffirms the organization’s Duty to God:The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), which is a sister organization to WOSM, has the very same wording in their constitution (Part I, Article 2: Original Promise), and follows similar policies.

A scout is expected to at all times, and in all places to show Scout spirit by living the principles of the Scout Promise and Scout Law. Many of these principles are closely connected with doing your Duty to God.
Several scouting organizations have developed meaning full relationships with same major religious groups to help promote Duty to God and religious emblems work unique to that faith:

Fulfilling your Duty to God is actually a private, personal spiritual quest for each individual. Scouting is “absolutely non-sectarian” and therefore does NOT have a set Religious standards test. In fact, the opposite applies, where everyone has the free agency to define and pursue any religion they belief appropriate and are willing to allow all others the same liberty.

What is a duty to God for Webelos?
Duty to God in Action is one of the Arrow of Light required adventures. For this adventure, Webelos either earn the religious emblem of their faith or create and carry out a plan to strengthen their own beliefs. Should Duty To God Requirements Be Completed at Home or at a Meeting?
It is noted here that some religious movements may have additional important core beliefs all of which you should discover during your practice of Scripture Study which will help you to learn about those.The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgement 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 of good citizenship should be kept before them.

Duty to God is a specially defined requirement of the Constitution of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). In order to accommodate many different religions within Scouting, “God” may refer to a higher power, and is not specifically restricted to the God of the monotheistic religions. The WOSM Constitution explains “Duty to God” as “Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom.”
Look again at the wording of Requirement #2 (BSA) for Eagle rank: “Tell how you have done your duty to God…”. The test is not if the scout became a devout member of a particular faith system or completed some mighty miracle.WHEREAS the twelfth point of the Scout Law is Reverent and while the Boy Scouts of America is absolutely nonsectarian in its view of religious training, Reverent means that a Scout is faithful in his or her religious duties and respects the beliefs of others; and

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (The Lord’s Prayer: St Matthew 6:5-13)
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11

Duty to God Adventures – scouting activities that promote learning about Duty to God. Scouting is well known for its many great teaching activities. This especially holds true for teaching Duty to God:
“We are all children of God. He loves us and knows our needs, and He wants us to communicate with Him through prayer. We should pray to Him and no one else. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded, “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name”. As we make a habit of approaching God in prayer, we will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Our desires will become more like His. We will be able to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that He is ready to give if we will but ask in faith.”Now it could certainly be possible, that a person is unable to find a belief that is agreeable to their conscience. Some people spend their lifetime wrestling with their beliefs. Many others may conclude that God does not exist. Scouting teaches youth to do their Duty to God through 1) Program Delivery, 2) Special Observances, 3) Faith-based Partnerships and 4) BSA Religious Support. The exact wording of the Scout Promise varies slightly by country. To see the exact wording for your Scout Movement refer to the article Scout Promise. One very important reason for these things is to help every young person learn the difference between right and wrong and why that should be an important part of your moral compass for the future. Remember also that just because everyone around you engage in activities that you know are wrong still does not make it right because you understand things from a greater, deeper perspective. 1) “I have been asked to describe more fully what was in my mind as regards religion when I instituted Scouting and Guiding. I was asked: ‘Where does religion come in?’ Well, my reply is: ‘It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is the fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding.’ ” ( Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting)Several of the major religious hold aside one day of the week for worship, introspection to repents of one’s mistakes and to renew one’s covenant to follow a path of good works. Joe asked about Buddhists. Buddhists have been members and sponsors of scout troops for the past 70 years. So if Buddhists who do not believe in God nor in the supernatural can be scouts, then everyone can be scouts. Just don’t say your an atheist. What do you do if a boy breaks a leg and can’t go on a required hike or if a boy is otherwise unable to do an activity. We as adults make accommodations.What is changing in Boy Scouting? The Scout Spirit requirement for each rank starting with Tenderfoot is expanding to have the Scout describe how he has done his duty to God. (The new requirements will be released at the National Annual Meeting in May.)Help. My granddaughter showed me the requirements that must be done by end of January re :Arrow of Light Adventure: Duty to God in Action. She doesn’t know what to make of it. Her husband is an atheist. She doesn’t know what she is. They do not discuss God; nor pray in the home. All my great grandson’s stepfather wants is for him to be perfect, to behave. He says ADHD is no excuse for anything. My great grandson does not listen; when he tries to explain anything, he is told to shut up, to stop arguing. So I can not see this requirement being done. Does this mean he can not crossover, whatever that entails. In the current Cub program, earning Religious Emblems is an alternate requirement for both Bear and Webelos ranks. While earning an emblem is not required, if a Cub does so, will it count towards the DTG adventure requiements? If so, for which ranks? Kirk, so you’d rather kick children out of scouts and deny them the experiences of being a scout that would help and shape them because they (or their parents) don’t believe in a god? That sounds VERY Christian of you. Recently, BSA have become more accepting of gay rights. I would think that BSA would put aside this whole silly religious requirement and focus on basic human morals and the socialization / bonding that most of us think of when you hear “Boy Scouts”.

What is requirement 4 of duty to God footsteps?
Wolf Adventure: Duty to God Footsteps Earn the religious emblem of your faith that is appropriate for your age, if you have not already done so. Offer a prayer, meditation, or reflection with your family, den, or pack. Read a story about people or groups of people who came to America to enjoy religious freedom.
The specific requirement for joining a Boy Scout Troop is on the application: “Your son can be a Scout if he has completed the fifth grade and is at least 10 years old or is age 11 or has earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but has not reached age 18.Don’t forget though, when you are at a parade and stand as the US flag passes by, or you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you acknowledge One Nation Under God. Scouts recite the Pledge at every meeting as well as the Scout Promise which affirms that pledge to ones Country and Duty to a God.Doing one’s duty to God is central to Scouting. The Scout Oath begins with duty to God; the Scout Law ends with reverence. As Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell said, “There is no religious ‘side’ of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.”

What activities are involved in these adventures? Depending on rank, boys will participate in worship experiences and service projects, visit religious sites, learn about religious practices and study people in history who have shown great faith in God. You can find the complete requirements at
What about those who are of other faiths such as pagan who may not believe in the Christian God. Are we now going to turn those scouts and parents away? I know several in my district.How can I evaluate a Scout for duty to God, especially if he and I have different beliefs? Consider asking him how his family or faith group defines duty to God and how he is living up to that definition. Remember that the focus is on the Scout’s understanding of duty to God, not the leader’s. Also, keep in mind that duty to God will be only one part of the Scout Spirit requirement.

What is our duty as believers?
Here are some of the instructions we are given as it relates to other believers: Love one another (John 13:34-35) Serve one another (Galatians 5:13) Be kind to one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
Rather then look at children or atheists are being “kicked” out of scouting for not beleiving in God . . . look at it why are you “joining”. Duty to God is the core belief of the scouting program.When I was a kid in scouts 40 years ago – there were no requirements that forced us to discuss religion. Religion was a private matter. A personal matter. At summer camp, services were offered for those who wished to attend, but were not required nor were there incentives such as “honor camper” for those who attended. I remember attending the Catholic service, and at a summer camp that had 800 scouts in camp during the week, there were maybe a dozen of us at the church service on Sunday. So many of the quotes attributed to Baden Powell are misquoted and out of context and from a very different time. BSA needs to stay relivant and current or it will slowly fade away. I have been to many many “inter faith” services and NONE of them were truly interfaith. Scouts need to be Reverant i.e. respectful of religion and belief in God or gods but the BSA should leave religion and lessons on God.gods to the family and churches. I too am from the Pac NW find it completely wrong that for my child to make rank he is forced to pray or meditate for 30 days plus perform a religious ceremony however we do not belong to a church and have no interest in joining one.I think BSA and the pro-Duty-to-a-God-language league are missing an important point. Most teens go through a crucible regarding religion and spiritual development and MANY of them decide they are atheists. (Oh for pete’s sake… If Thomas had a board of review while he doubted, he would have been kicked out of scouting.) Later in life, some of these doubters/atheists rejoin the church of their childhood or a different one of their own choosing that supports their adult beliefs and commitments. It’s true that some of these boys won’t ever rejoin a formal religious organization. Is it truly BSA’s intention to kick a boy out of scouting in the midst of what may be a natural awakening of the self, a young adult’s consideration of what he believes now that he is no longer a boy? Especially when that boy may very well rethink things once they get a bit of adult-hood under their belts? Does this make sense? What is the ultimate mission of BSA? Is it religious awakening to Judeo-Christian values? Is it responsibility to community, stewardship & conservation?

I believe that there is no need to “dance” around the issue of duty to god. The word god appears to be the hang up simply because everyone seems to want to put that word in a certain box that only refers to a being (mythical or otherwise) but I believe the word means more than that. It is a word that sums up your belief structure, it is the core of your values. Whether you profess yourself to be of the Monotheistic, polytheistic, atheistic, or any other “theistic” you have a belief. You have your principles, you have your values. If your belief is rooted in science, then science is your god. If your belief is in nature then nature is your god. No one is dictating who or what your god is, only that you recognize your god and serve your god. Stand for your belief, share your belief with your children, raise them in your ways. Our Pack recommends that each family fulfills the Duty to God requirements in their own homes in their own ways. Once the parents/guardians are satisfied the requirements are fulfilled they sign them off. Words are nothing more than symbols for actions. What is the difference between someone who studies and someone who meditates? Both are seeking truths. Unfortunately I feel we too often shackle our gods, putting on them our requirements, placing them in our handmade boxes, forgetting that there is so much we don’t know, so much we don’t understand and most of that knowledge that we don’t know is where our gods are. Who are we to say what they are, what they can be, or what they can do. Every day our scientific community finds new ways to explain things we didn’t know, sometimes we’re wrong, sometimes we’re right but we’re no where close to knowing all. Don’t get hung up on semantics, teach the children your ways, if you don’t like the Pack or Troop you’re with, then start your own. I’m sure there are others that will share your point of views, your beliefs. Scouting should be about discovery, adventure, the pursuit of knowledge and the use of wisdom. Teach them how to serve their god whatever that may be and for your god’s sake, Scout on!There might be lots of ways for a young man to fulfill his duty to such principles. He might read about great heroes who exemplified such principles. He might meditate on them. He might write about them. He might stand up in defense of them. As the BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle states, “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.” The Scouts were founded on these beliefs. I am an active Den leader, with no religious affiliation, and sorry, but every group/club/ssociation does not have to “conform”. There is no one size fits all. If you don’t like Duty to God,the pledge, all of the basic fundamentals that form the foundations of traditional Scouting, then please go establish your own organization without the tenets. Obviously Scouting has been around for a long time with these principles and NOTHING has replaced it in spite of your “problems with Scouting”. When are you going to stop complaining about Scouting’s principles, foundations, beliefs, and rules and go do something about it? NEVER, because you would have to evaluate what is important to you and COMPROMISE on some of your own beliefs to gain membership without the criticism Scouting receives. Again, NOTHING similar to Scouting exists because it works.

Most of the principles of Scouting are completely secular. The only part of the Scout Law that could be construed to be religious is Reverant. But the dictionary definition of that is: “feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.” Belief in the Christian God, or any god for that matter, is not required for this.Talk to your District Executive, Scout Executive, and another Troop. There is no religion requirement for being a Scout, but some Troops set their own membership policies (against BSA rules) like you have to be a member of their church to be in their troop. You do have to agree with the Declaration of Religious Principle–as stated in the BSA application–but it is “absolutely nonsectarian”.

How do you give your duty to God?
Faith in a Supreme Being. The definition of faith made very dramatically for each person. … Scripture Study. A key part of fulfilling your Duty to God is to first learn it. … Prayer. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. … Worship Service. … Charitable Service. … Obey the Law of God. … Invite Others to Faith.
At the same time, BSA states it is “absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training”. There *are* formal religions that have no central God, no creationary God, no personal God, no Savior and no prophets. If BSA can be trusted in their claim to being truly nonsectarian, then kids from these religions should be welcomed as well — even though they have no God to believe in and no God to do duty by. I am troubled by a BSA that is limited by Judeo-Christian-centered values and CONCEPTS when they claim they are not.

Your cousin had to lie to become Eagle. I don’t mean to be ugly, And I don’t want to attack your position. But seriously consider what you teach a child when you have them swear something they don’t believe. Kind of kills off the “Trustworthy” aspect of the Law.
It is sad that the BSA still excludes children for their beliefs. My children, like my whole family are atheists. When you exclude my children you are saying they are not wanted and have less value. It’s because of this that I am writing a letter to their Principal to let them know I am opposed to advertising the local cub scout troop at their public school which was happening at the beginning of the school year. I do respect the rights of the BSA to exclude those that do not share their beliefs but I do not believe they should not have any relationships with our public institutions because of their discrimination. Their discrimination includes their membership and also their leadership with regard to the exclusion of gay leaders.

Are interfaith activities included in the Cub Scout adventures? That’s up to the boy’s family. For example, one of the Tiger requirements has a boy participate in a worship experience or activity with his family. He could meet that requirement at his family’s place of worship or an interfaith service.
The Declaration makes it clear that the founders believed that their rights came from God and not from a secular institution. And their appeals were made to God for aid and protection, not some secular organization. Believe it or not, many of the Troops, Packs, and Crews in the BSA, are composed of a diverse array of religious backgrounds. Many of us are chartered by groups that have non-discrimination policies that prohibit us from denying athiest and agnostic members, as well as gay ones. Many councils have also adopted similar non-discrimination policies, and simply ignore the National Council bigotry. Since the National Council can’t afford to lose 40,000 scouts, they tend to not object too much. I don’t think the scout movement has excluded Jehovah Witness’s. Jehovah Witnesses believe certain things that would be problematic if they joined scouts. For example, firearms were a problem for many. So the issue isn’t really about the pledge or not. Plus, a thoughtful scoutmaster can see how a scout could get through the rank requirements with someone who won’t pledge allegiance to a flag because of their religious beliefsThe Religous Emblems I am familiar with require at least a month to complete. And the other option also requires at least month: 2c. For at least a month, pray or reverently meditate each day as taught by your family or faith community. Therefore your great-grandson would not be able to earn his Arrow of Light by the end of January. I don’t know how your pack operates, but our pack allowed our scout until the start of the next school year (August) to complete their work toward any rank.

If God and religion is so important, it should be left to the scout, his conscious, and his parents, period. Anything else is fascist. A scout is also required to be physically strong, yet many scouts and even more adult leaders are overweight or obese. I think we should do BMI checks for advancement.
In the past I have told parents it’s none of my business what they believe, nor anyone else’S, and that is a requirement they should complete at home. I tell my son (and daughter) that duty to God is just about a way of living the life of the good, not literally a duty to any particular God (athough it can be that also). You just need to be creative with how you approach this requirement. And also know you are not alone if your houghts align with these. Moreover, there’s no corruption if the program if this is your approach; the important thing is our intention to make responsible and upright men out of our sons.When I was a scout 40 years ago and expected to go to church on Sunday with the troop I asked what if I wasn’t Christian. To which he replied that I could spend that time in religious observance that met my faith. But if I was of my word I had a belief in God and a duty to spend some time on it.

An atheist cannot be a member of the Scouting movement. Your question, therefore, makes no sense. An Eagle Scout has to profess a duty to God in order even to comply with the rules – the fact that your relative “danced around it” is an indication that he knew he was in the wrong.
If there is no adult in your den that will step, I would ask your committee for help. “For personal reasons, I’m honestly not comfortable leading my den in the Duty to God requirement. Do you know of someone who can help?”I thought the chosen symbols were refreshingly unitarian: home and family, friendship and brotherhood, walking the walk, and the dove of peace. True, the dove is also the symbol for the Holy Spirit, but I’m a non-Trinitarian, so my first thought was the dove from the ark with the olive branchThe one nation under god bit was added in because the country was afraid of the communists – not because of the founding fathers ! America was created on the principles of freedom of religion. Not freedom from all other religions except christianity. God was never in the constitution or the original pledge of allegiance. Also if you think that God should be in there – just substitute Allah or Vishnu or Ganesh for God and see how comfortable you sit with it then…. probably not. Now onto Religion. In our den – Religion has NOTHING to do with our DEN OR PACK MEETINGS. We do not discuss it – only to say that you can do that bit at home with your family. End of. No one needs to know, No one cares about what they believe. The fact that they want to become cub scouts means that they want to further themselves in many ways, health – physical & mental, to enjoy the outdoors and nature etc….. to serve their communities and be a good person. You do not need religion to be a good person or an Eagle Scout. This is 2015 – the 21st century. BSA needs to move with the times and welcome DIVERSITY….. It’s only the religious unitys that kick up a fuss as they think their cruel mind games if not adhered to will lose them membership in their communities. The rest of us – take it as the BSA just hasn’t caught up yet.

So how does a scout explain how he did his duty to god if he belongs to no church? Isn’t this just a backdoor to find atheists in scouting and deny them rank?Don’t forget Dave, that Scouting covers all religions, not just Christianity, we have Jewish, Muslin, Hindu scouts in the USA and a variety of smaller religions. It is duty to God, any God or even just duty to a higher power.

Bizarre decisions like this, for instance, only weaken the reputation of the Eagle rank. That frustrates me. I want my Eagle rank to be a symbol of my knowledge and ability — not a religious brownie point.When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting.”

What is the duty of God?
As you learn and follow God’s commandments, you will feel the Spirit guide you in your life. All of us are in debt. God has given us our lives, all that we have on earth, and the hope of returning to live with Him. In return, our duty to God is to keep His commandments and live lives worthy to return to Him.
The bird on the Webelos is seen on Christian church logos. I assume it comes from the story of Noah, making it Judeo-Christian? But I’ve never seen the white dove used on a synagogue’s signage. My neighborhood Lutheran church uses a white bird combined with a cross for its logo.I have a problem with people joining a program that has existed for 100 years, then turn around and be offended by it’s core beliefs. You knew what you were signing up for. That’s like joining a football team . . .then try to change they way you acquire a first down, or extra point. No one is kicking anyone out. These are the requirements. End of story. Don’t participate if you don’t like it. This is not a mandatory group to belong too. It’s a great program . . . . however a program founded on belief in God.

How does the new Cub Scout program reflect duty to God? The new program, which begins with the 2015-16 program year, is built around required and elective adventures. Each rank includes a required duty-to-God adventure.

As a former den leader and now cub master, and an Australian I have more problems to contend with, eg the pledge. Now I don’t expect much sympathy here, but that’s an extra challenge for me. Even more oroblematic is a reference to being an American in the outdoor ethics pledge – I would have thought just as a scout it would be important to respect our outdoors regardless of nationality – but I digress.In implementing the 2011-2015 National Council Strategic Plan, the BSA incorporated duty-to-God adventures in the revised Cub Scout program and tweaked the Boy Scout requirements to reflect duty to God. These changes will give Scout leaders an avenue to help Scouts better understand and live out duty to God in their lives.

What is the duty to country and God?
Leader: Our duty to God and country means chiefly two things: obedience and loyalty. The duties we owe to the church, to our country, to parents, to one another, and to ourselves come from some command of God. The Scout Law sums up all the qualities a Scout should have and without which he can not be a good Scout.
Diane, the Scouting movement has excluded Jehovah’s Witnesses because they will not say the Pledge to the US Flag. This isn’t a question of not being “fair” or “turning away people who would benefit”. It’s about upholding the requirements for membership in a voluntary organization. Kindness and helpfulness do not extend to situations in which you have to compromise your fundamental principles. I won’t help you steal – does that make me unhelpful? It is the immutable belief in a being that is higher than ourselves that grounds the moral and other values of Scouting.In the current Cub Scout program, there are 2 ranks where earning a religious emblem is one of the options to satisfy faith requirements: Bear and Webelos. With the new DTG Adventures, will this still be an option? If so, in which rank(s) will have the opportunity and will this be a partial or complete fulfillment of the adventure?

First one: man as central and dominant in the family, consistent with God as head of the church, and man as he head of the family. Not all religions teach that.Finally, is there anyone in your family that could work on this requirement with your great-grandson outside of his parents, but with his parents’ approval?As a non-christian, the symbology chosen is yet another reason that I am feeling less and less welcome in Scouts. I can look past it but Scouts continues to show a strong bias that continues to make me feel unwelcome at times.So glad to hear so many diverse opinions, including from atheists, agnostics, and those still searching. I’m an agnostic at best and have been troubled by the duty to God requirements – glad to hear I’m not alone!

First, Baden-Powell may have been a great man, and the founder of the World Scouting movement, but like many great men of his day, was culturally and religiously unsophisticated. We have learned a few things in the last 100 years about multiculturalism, and the the benefits of inclusive diversity.
We were finally able to celebrate BSA for seeing the light and opening the Scouting program to gay Scouts and leaders (who were in the program anyway). Now National has come up with this bonehead move to push religion on everyone regardless of what the Scout’s family believes. Very disappointing, BSA! Hopefully we won’t have to wait forever before you see the error of this ridiculous new program change.I am glad to live in the NW. Church attendance is low, but Scouting promotes faith, not a particular religion. I love being around folks of varying faiths and religions. Scouting promotes reverence and helps scouts develop a sense of faith, that helps them build their character. I see units that incorporate duty to God, growing and the Cub Scouts better prepared to move on to Boy Scouts and life in general.All that are so offended that the duty to god is a requirement is missing the point of scouting. It was founded on these principals but you no not have to believe in God or be an active member in a church to understand the concept of Duty To God. Talk to your scouts about being kind and treating people with kindness. Showing respect and helping others. Not judging people like these comments are doing. This is what true duty to God means whether you believe in a Deity or not. Just teach your children to be a good human which is really the concept behind the requirement.Third symbol: walking and footsteps are a central theme in contemporary Christianity. Footsteps poem, Paul walking and converted, Christians constantly talk about their “Christian walk” “walking in faith,” etc.

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.

Only a Christian would look at those symbols and claim they are not religious. You can’t see it because your blinded by your own biases and worldview. Those are clearly code symbols for Christianity, as no other faiths use those symbols or the narratives behind them.
I’m an Eagle Scout, but religion does not affect my day-to-day life at all. What’s the point in forcing religion on Scouts and pushing atheists and gays out? Is the BSA *trying* to become socially obsolete? Because if the BSA’s leadership continues along this path, Scouting will become irrelevant.

The whole “duty to God” thing is an anachronistic holdover from the McCarthy era. Like the “under God” in our pledge. Many of us just ignore it as a historical grammatical eccentricity of a past unenlightened age. We accept pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, and many Native American faiths, that don’t believe in “God”. The diversity of faith, even within a religion, is such that duty to God is pretty much a meaningless term, which roughly equates to follow your own moral code whatever it is. The dictionary definition of reverent is: “feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.” One can be reverent and hold things sacred, even without professing a belief in any gods.
Some individuals would like to restrict “God” to their own practice of formal religion. I was once told, by a Baptist, that Catholics were not Christians. In my belief system “God” is unknowable, wonderful, and definitely includes Gaia. He/She/It is much greater than myself.I had a woodbadge advisor suggest that as one of my tickets we make a ten commandments display for the schools cafeteria. When I explained that we were chartered by a public school and we couuld not have any religious symbols, his responses was we should find a different chartering org.If you directly address the issue, especially with very religious people, things will likely get worse. Probably emphasizing morality and values such as facts, logic, and reality in a vague manner as things to live by would be a good substitute when others talk about the supernatural. General focus on the outdoors aspect of scouting rather than the dubious stances on nationalism, religion, etc. In my personal scouting experiences religion played very little role. Of course, being a theist at the time may have made be blind to any overtly religious components.

What is an example of duty to God Cub Scouts?
Each rank includes a required duty-to-God adventure. What activities are involved in these adventures? Depending on rank, boys will participate in worship experiences and service projects, visit religious sites, learn about religious practices and study people in history who have shown great faith in God.
Do boys have to earn the religious emblem for their faith? No. Not every youth is a member of a faith group, and not all faith groups offer religious emblems. Earning one is not a requirement.Seth: in the new requirements, Cubs may earn the religious award for their faith to fulfill the Duty to God adventure for Bear, Webelos or Arrow of Light. Yes, earning their religious award completely satisfies the adventure requirement for any one of those. If they have already earned it towards one of those ranks, they then must complete the alternative requirements for the next rank(s) to fulfill its requirement, unless your faith offers a different religion award for Bears and Webelos (I am not aware of any that do). Would earning your faith’s religion award early fulfill the Duty to God requirement for Tiger or Wolf, even though earning it is not an alternative option for those ranks? I really can’t say with any certainty, but if the requirements for your religious award align with those mandated by the Duty to God adventure for that rank such that they would satisfy it I don’t see why not. That would be a call for your Cubmaster, but if they used it to meet rank for Tiger or Wolf then they couldn’t use it again towards Bear or Webelos where it is an option. You can read all the new Cub Scout adventure requirements here:Maybe it would be better to join a club that is not “faith based” than to try to complain about how such a club is choosing to embrace a tenant it has somewhat glossed over for the last 20 years. There are plenty of other service organizations out there. If you like scouts, perhaps it is because there is something legitimate worthy of exploration…even if you don’t have faith.If the Boy Scouts of America abandons “Duty to God”, then it is no longer the Boy Scouts of America. If the BSA abandons its principles, then it will become irrelevant.

That’s a good question I would like see answered. I was also wondering about the American Indian faiths/beliefs, how come there is no symbol for that? Personally that is what I follow and teach my son. And I find it funny that a program that includes “stories” and many “native things” in their requirements and traditions, do not recognize the beliefs in “duty to god” etc.

As for the founders of this nation, the vast majority of those that signed the Declaration of Independence were Christians. A few like Franklin and Jefferson confessed a belief in God, admired the teachings of Jesus Christ, but questioned Christ’s divinity.
In my opinion, BSA’s “absolutely nonsectarian” position leaves the door open to non-religious families to define God in any way they choose; for example, they might teach their Cub Scout that he has a duty to some Great Principle such as Liberty, Equality, Peace, Love or Justice. I think Justice is very appealing to children of scouting age.I find it a little confronting also. While I agree with Steve, some of the achievement very distinctly requires one to have religion. Boy/Cub Scouts has so much to offer for the development of young men and this skews the program against those who choose not to pratice faith. We’ll get around it, but I think it should be an elective. Or, because I too want my son (and indeed other boys) to learn about all faiths and grow their understanding, it should be a discovery about religions of the world. Perhaps just a section on ethics, such as requirement 12 from the Wolves program last year should be the focus. The priority should be about developing young men with a sense of community service, character, and good judgement whatever their faith or whether they have no faith at all.

What is the duty to God in action for the Boy Scouts?
Scouting encourages all members, according to their own convictions, to participate in the program of their religion at their church, temple, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship. Scouts are expected to fulfill their personal religious obligations and respect the beliefs of others.
That said, there is NO BSA rank requirement (including Arrow of Light) for crossing over into the Boy Scouts. Therefore your great-grandson should be able to crossover without any issues.

I find that it’s always the adults that mess things up for the kids. The idea of not “allowing” a youth to not get the rank he had worked hard for over the year is preposterous. Scouts is about having fun and building character. It takes a different type of character to to tell a child you worked hard all year but you can’t earn your rank because you didn’t do this one activity.
I am also from the Pacific Northwest. My Cub Scout pack includes Protestants, Independent Christians, Catholics, Mormons and a Buddhist. I image there are also several non-religious families in the pack; although, they have not identified themselves to me. I hope they do not feel compelled to lie about their son’s duty to God. I hope they can find within the duty to God adventure the opportunity to discuss with their son some very BIG ideas.I come from the least church-going part of America, the Pacific Northwest. I believe these changes will turn off parents in my community and continue our membership decline.

I don’t see why atheists or agnostics should be any less able to be moral and ethical people or follow the true meaning of the principles of scouting (this is ultimately the central argument against non believers here). In fact, many have argued non-beleivers have a higher moral position as they have to arrive at thier morality through introspection and observation of the world around them and knowing what is right, rather than following a teaching that many have followed without question from birth. For my part, I am happy for my kids to believe whatever religion (or not) they like – but that is a decision they will have to make in the future. For now, scouts offers too many great opportunities for personal development and to promote civic mindedness and morally good young men to be stifled by anachronistic thought. And along those lines, we also have to be respectful of the beliefs (or not) of others – a little like someone else from two thousand years ago – otherwise we are no better than hypocrites, and that’s not a behaviour I wish to teach my children.

Having been a Cub Master, Boy Scout Committee Chair, Unit Commissioner, and Wood Badger I have thought about this a lot. My family and I do practice our religion. But we know other fine people and families in Scouting (BSA) who are atheists or who believe in other religions not based on “God”. Part of the problem is that there are communities that believe that “God” can only mean the “one true God” of the Judaeo/Christian/Muslim belief system. I prefer to believe that the “God”, as referred to by Baden Powell and the basis for Scouting, is a more expansive concept that only requires that one believes that there is something larger than self. Even just believing in nature (or Gaia if you will) qualifies. This is how I have advised scouts and scouters who found conflict with the seemingly restrictive nature of the use of “God” in the requirements. I have been proud to sit on the Eagle Board of Review of a few scouts who accepted this concept and who found no conflict in swearing “Duty to God” on that basis.
Let’s not play games here. Even the Pope wears multiple crosses for obviously religious reasons. You know as well as the rest of the us that the cross is used as THE SYMBOL of Christianity. Yes, Scouting is becoming increasing hijacked by religious groups and yes, this needs to change.

What does duty to God include?
Duty to God is defined as “Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom” (ibid:5).
Duty to God has been a part of scouting since the founding. It is the first Duty mentioned in the Scout Oath. This isn’t some hidden facet of scouting, it is a part of the core. This isn’t something you just “dance around”.

If you are referring to the religious emblems provided by the various organizations, those are designed by those organizations. One would obviously expect to reflect elements of that organizations faith. As for pagans or other groups, they can supply their own emblems.
When will the new Boy Scout requirements take effect? Jan. 1, 2016. Find more information about the transition plan and requirements at myself, I am dismayed at the effort to box God in and define that creative energy by the liturgy of a specific group of people. I don’t even see this requirement to be religious as a question of “believing in God”, you may as well say you don’t believe in nature or the laws of the universe or the responsibility we bear for one another and our fragile earth. For ***my vote***, I don’t think we should try to define or teach this responsibility as “God”-driven or “God”-connected because to do so limits us to frankly Judeo-Christian values. How is a Buddhist kid supposed to respond to this question? They don’t have a central “God” at all. The Oath has you and your child promising to do “do my duty to God…”. Then in the Law you are agreeing to Reverent which has ALWAYS been defined in terms of faith. The BSA is still of the position that you must have a belief in God. If Duty to God is not something you are comfortable with, the den can’t just skip it. However, you can ask another adult to take the lead on this requirement. This is just like asking another adult to handle first aid, physical fitness, or some other requirement.I choose to adopt a paraphrasing of the words of Martin Luther King and judge people not by their religious professions or sexual orientation, but by the content of their character. Our country is a secular republic. It was founded by people of diverse backgrounds from Christian to Athiest. There is nothing of a religious nature needed to be a citizen of this country, and no religious test is allowed to hold governmental office. This is expressly stated in the Constitution, and was commented on extensively by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.

I see no Native American spirituality emblem for my son to earn. Certainly Native Americans are among the most spiritual people on Earth. This lack of an emblem for us should be remedied. Nature is our church, we do pray to the Creator.
Lately the BSA has put more emphasis on the matter. I suspect because the amount of dancing being done by so many units. But the BSA position has always been that a sponsor has every right to expect the troop to observe their Duty to God in a manner consistent with their practice.Why would an atheist want to be a member of a group that requires an oath to do a duty to God and then complain about it. I think the answer is clear that they should seek membership elsewhere.

I can do my duty to my country,obey the scout law, stay physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight, without a god. And “duty to God” means so many things, to so many people of different religions, often contradicting one another, that is becomes a meaningless term. So what is the point?
Duty to God and You is one of the Webelos required adventures For this adventure, Webelos either earn the religious emblem of their faith or plan and take part in a worship service or reflection.

Two Cub Scout leaders ask about how to complete the faith related requirements with Cub Scouts who are raised in agnostic or atheist homes. See the discussion and reader comments.
For young men, your duty includes living worthy of the priesthood—the power to act in God’s name. As you perform the ordinances of the priesthood, and use it to serve others, you fulfill your duty to God.All of us are in debt. God has given us our lives, all that we have on earth, and the hope of returning to live with Him. In return, our duty to God is to keep His commandments and live lives worthy to return to Him.

Among other requirements, priests read the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants and learn what it means to prepare spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically to go on a mission.
“When we set goals personally and then try to achieve them, we grow and develop,” says Elder Hammond. “The value of this program is what it does to a young man’s character and spirituality. The main emphasis is to develop the spiritual life of a young man.” Since there are different duties for each Aaronic Priesthood office, there are different guidebooks for deacons, teachers, and priests. Young men who meet all the requirements in each Aaronic Priesthood office are presented the Duty to God Award. “[The program] started some years ago internationally to help young men through the Aaronic Priesthood years, to fill in where Scouting was not available, and to help develop their testimonies and understanding of the gospel and to help young men come to Christ,” says Elder F. Melvin Hammond, Young Men general president.Although each guidebook lists dozens of ideas, it is up to the young men to choose what goals they want to accomplish for their personal development. Each young man will choose eight or more personal goals for each of the four categories. The four categories are: