Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts
A Couple of Questions About Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts and Agnostics
Amy sent in this question:
How do you complete the Wolf faith requirement if a 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 about faith requirements for Cub Scouts and agnostics:
I am a 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?
Faith Adventures in the Cub Scout Program
In the Cub Scout program, there are required faith adventures for every rank. While the faith requirements for Cub Scouts are broad and do not require adherence to any specific religion, they do require a Cub Scout to think about faith and discuss it.
You might find the BSA Declaration of Religious Principle from the Charter and Bylaws helpful when discussing this with parents:
Article IX Section 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 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.Boy Scouts of America Charter and Bylaws
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.
Talk with the Parents about the Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts
Have an open and honest discussion with the parents. See if they have ideas about how they can fulfill the requirements in a way that is comfortable with their beliefs. Sometimes there is a misunderstanding also. They do not need to belong to a church or form of organized religion to complete the requirements.
Also, remember that these requirements do not need to be completed at a meeting. It might be best if you let the families complete them at home and then tell you when they have finished them. See Should Duty To God Requirements Be Completed at Home or at a Meeting? for more information.
Check the Comments About Faith Requirements for Cub Scouts Below
There is a lot of practical advice about how other Cub Scout leaders have handled Cub Scout faith requirements and agnostics or atheists in the comments below. If you read through them, you might find something which works in your situation.
I think the best solution is to have families do these requirements at home. You can’t know the specifics of each families practices and this approach will ensure that everyone’s beliefs are respected. Just ask the parents to do them with the Cub Scouts and report back to you when they are completed. A detailed explanation from the parents is not required.
A Scout regularly says the Scout Oath and Law. The Scout Oath speaks of “Duty to God” and one of the points of the Scout Law is “Reverent”. But people of different faiths may have broad ways of interpreting these.