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Boy Scouts scrub website of Religious oath?


June 21, 2007

I recently checked out the Boy Scout website at In the past, they had a fact sheet regarding the controversial "Declaration of Religious Principles". I can't find it anymore. Using their website's search engine, I see that while reference to the Declaration comes up on some pages relating to Cub Scouting, it doesn't show up anywhere in relation to the Boy Scouts.

The Declaration states that:

“The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment 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 th e religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, 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 the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.”

I am an Eagle Scout, and as an adult, I applied to be a volunteer for the Boy Scouts. They rejected my application because I refused to sign the Declaration of Religious Principles. I am not an atheist, but I do disagree with the proposition that "No member can grown into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God". That is simply untrue.

It has been stated by George Washington and by George Bush-- and by many presidents and historical figures in between, that one's religious beliefs are not a measure of one's citizenship. I don't think anyone would argue that Thomas Edison or Bill Gates are not "the best kind of citizen".

I wonder if the Boy Scouts have decided that publicizing the Religious Oath requirement is hurting them? I wonder if there was a conscious effort to scrub the references from the website. It is an interesting turn of events.




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