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Related Advancement and Awards
- Boy Scout requirements related to Scout spirit
- Personal Fitness merit badge
- Messengers of Peace emblem
- Religious emblems
BSA Declaration of Religious Principle – The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God…. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizesthe 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 Golden Rule – Variations on the familiar Golden Rule are found in most world religions. Here are examples.
- Christian: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” (Luke 6:31, New English Bible)
- Hindu: “Let not any man do unto another any act that he wishes not done to himself by others, knowing it to be painful to himself.” (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, cclx.21)
- Confucian: “Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.” (Analects, Book XII, Part 2)
- Buddhist: “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” (Udanavarga, v. 18)
- Jewish: “What is hateful to yourself do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah.” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 31a)
- Taoist: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” (Tai Shang Kan Ying P’ien)
- Zoroastrian: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.” (Dadistan-I-dinik, 94,5)
- Muslim: “No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” (Hadith, Muslim, imam 71-72)
Scouting Founder Robert Baden-Powell on Religion
“There is no religious side to the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.”
“Religion is essential to happiness. … This is not a mere matter of going to church, knowing Bible history, or understanding theology. … Religion very briefly stated means: Firstly— recognizing who and what is God. Secondly— making the best of the life that He has given one and doing what He wants of us. This is mainly doing something for other people.”
Respect for the Beliefs of Others – More than one half of all Scouting units are chartered to religious organizations. Clearly Scouting has a real contribution to make to these institutions. Here are a few ways.
- Scouting supports the spiritual view of life that underlies the teaching of all denominations and faiths. Any youth or leader who would be a member of the Boy Scouts of America must profess a belief in God and promise to do his or her best to fulfill the spiritual ideals of Scouting.
- 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.
- Scouting helps all individuals put into practice some of the basic truths they are taught by their parents and religious leaders. They learn by experience to give of themselves, to share, to help others, to assume responsibility, and to understand the value of personal integrity.
- Scouting gives all youth an opportunity (within the confines of a safe venue) to explore their interests and God-given talents.
- Scouting helps all youth find their place in life and become happy, well-adjusted, useful members of the community.
Scouting is truly a melting pot. Scouts come from all walks of life and all types of family structures, faiths, and racial and ethnic groups. The BSA respects the rights of all people and groups, and allows youth to live and learn and enjoy Scouting without immersing them in the politics of the day.
Our unit seeks to include a diverse community of Scouts and Scout families. Of course, we remain governed by the guidelines set by our chartered organization, council, and the Boy Scouts of America. We seek to provide an open, clearly structured environment where a diverse group of Scouts can grow collectively and individually toward self-reliance without harming one another.
Conduct, not status, governs our unit. Our unit is committed to this goal, and our leaders all subscribe to making it happen on a constant
basis. Our unit remains firmly rooted in the core values of Scouting. We understand that diversity does not threaten these values, but only strengthens our character and common worth.
The Boy Scouts of America is an integral part of nearly every place of worship. This is because every Scout has a duty to God. A unit that is
chartered to a religious group provides Scouts the opportunity to recognize and fulfill their duty. Active involvement in your religious group is essential to your being a good Scout. You are expected to recognize your duty to God, and the religious principles you learn will enable you to live by the Scout Law.
Religions around the world use Scouting as a way to provide meaningful activities for young men and women. Most of them have special recognitions for the young people who recognize and fulfill
their duty to God. Some of these emblems are Ad Altare Dei, Alpha Omega, God and Country, Living Faith, Ner Tamid, and On My Honor. Check with your religious leaders to find out the requirements for receiving the emblem affiliated with your religion. Religious emblems are not required for advancement but are honorable to wear on your uniform and demonstrate your dedication to your religion and to Scouting.
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