When a young person joins the Boy Scouts of America, one of the first things he or she learns is the Scout Oath, and every member starts the Oath the same way:
“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God …”
The wording was not created at random. Duty to God has been one of the most important principles of Scouting from the beginning. In fact, in 1916, James E. West, the BSA’s first Chief Scout Executive, helped install what is now known as the “Declaration of Religious Principle” into the original BSA constitution and by-laws, and it remains there today.
Underscoring just how important it is, the BSA National Executive Board met at the 2018 National Annual Meeting last week in Dallas and adopted a resolution that reaffirms the organization’s Duty to God.
The resolution reads as follows:
Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board Resolution Reaffirming Duty to God
WHEREAS the foundational values of the Boy Scouts of America are reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law;
WHEREAS the first part of the Scout Oath declares “On my honor I will do my best to do my Duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;”
WHEREAS the Declaration of Religious Principle in Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America states that:
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.
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
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;
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.