United States Boy Scout Activities: Religion

Figure 1.-- These Boy Scouts in 2009 have just received special Church emblems from the rector of their Episcopal Church after 2 months of study that included Bible reading, prayer, various Church projects, and study about the Anglican Church. The boys are standing on either side of Mother Cathy Deats, the rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Hackettstown, N. J., who is wearing a green chasuble for the Sundays after Penetcost (referred to usually as Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar).

Scouting was founded at a time when Christianity was a dominasnt influence in American life. The country in recent years has become much more secular. Even so, deeply woven into the the ethos of Scouting are references to religion and faith. We see this in the purposes, oaths, laws and values of both Cub Scouting and Boy Scouts. We see several references to God and the importance of religious education and observances. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is non-sectarian. Initially there was rather a Protestant edge to Scouting, but Catholocism increasingly was accepted as well. Jewish Scouts were more of a complication. At first there were Jewish troops, but as many packls/troops were sponsored by schools and other seculasr troops, the Scouts became more inclusive than many other American institutions, And as America has become more diverse, we see other faiths involved. The BSA does encourage religious observances. There are special religious paches. They can be earned for wearing uniforms to church or synagogue, especually during Scout Anniversary week. An honor in Scouting is to be awarded the religious emblem of their faith. Before Scouts can advance in ranks, they have to show an understanding of how their own faith and religious observances compliment the foundational values of Scouting. This has a caused an issue because many Scouts come from secular families without any interest in religion. From the very beginning, many Boy Scout troops were sponsored by churches, and there is a close relationship between the Church and the Boy Scouts. In recent years as schools and municipalities have begun to distance themselves from SDcouting, churches have begun to play azn even more important role in Scouting.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main U.S. Scout activities page ]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organizatiion pages:
[Return to the Main U.S. Scout page]
[Return to the National Scout page]
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]

Created: 1:01 AM 6/22/2009
Last updated: 1:01 AM 6/22/2009