Silent Prayer

Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts and Agnostics

Amy sent in this question:

How do you complete Wolf Achievement 11 if the family does not have a faith, and does not talk about God in their family? This family was hesitant to join Scouts because of the faith component.

And John asked a similar question:

I am a wolf den leader and I have a scout who is being raised agnostic. What can I do to assist the scout in completing the “Duty to God” achievement?

There is a faith component to Scouting. The requirements for the specific achievement they are asking about are listed below:

a. Complete the Character Connection for Faith.

Know. What is “faith”? With your family, discuss some people who have shown their faith – who have shown an inner strength based on their trust in a higher power or cause. Discuss the good qualities of these people.
Commit. Discuss these questions with your family: What problems did these faithful people overcome to follow or practice their beliefs? What challenges might you face in doing your duty to God? Who can help you with these challenges?
Practice. Practice your faith while doing the requirements for “Duty to God.”

b. Talk with your family about what they believe is their duty to God.
c. Give two ideas on how you can practice or demonstrate your religious beliefs. Choose one and do it.
d. Find out how you can help your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or religious fellowship.

So while this requirement is very broad about what your beliefs are, it does indicate that you should discuss those beliefs.

You might find the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle from the Charter and Bylaws helpful when discussing this with parents:

Section 1. Declaration of Religious Principle, clause 1.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 the 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.

If you discuss the declaration of religious principle with them and you are still not sure what to do, I recommend you call your local council and seek advice from them. Your local Scouting professionals are there to help you sort through difficult questions like these. They are a valuable resource when you don’t know where else to turn.

Be Sociable, Share!
More Information

4 Responses to Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts and Agnostics

  1. Jenny February 25, 2014 at 5:23 PM #

    I had my wolf den do this requirement at home. Some families attend church, some are believers but don’t attend, and some are agnostic. We have some problems with arguing about little things (we’re working on it) and I know 2 of our boys have had words over religion before.

  2. Amy March 20, 2014 at 2:26 PM #

    We have a pack whose members are from many different faiths, including many agnostic families who are in leadership roles. We ask everyone to complete the faith elements of each rank at home and we have several Scouts Own Service programs which are patriotic, Native American, multi-faith or nature-oriented. For our agnostic families, they are all active in service to our community and combine service projects with their children as part of their faith discussions.

  3. Liz H March 21, 2014 at 9:38 AM #

    I am a Wolf leader. I had the boys complete at home and took the parents at their word. I know that the boys come from different religious backgrounds and some that believe that God exists but don’t believe in an organized religion. That is between them and their God. A large portion of that requirement is to discuss with their family so that is where I left it. Part d is the only one that one not apply and I will not keep a child from advancing based on their family’s religious beliefs. Our leader is a deacon and he agreed.

  4. Marie May 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM #

    We ask our families to do this at home, but most do not or don’t know how. I have done the discussion in den meeting. I have the boys turn and talk to their parent (most have one who stays). They discuss it then and there. We then let each share. I share also and give several examples of different beliefs. Then I let the boys choose 2 things that they can do to demonstrate their faith and tell them to report back to me the following week.

Leave a Reply