Religious Principles

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. No matter what the religious faith of the member may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship must be kept before him. The Boy Scouts of America recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training.
Where a Scouting unit is connected with a distinctly religious organization, no members of other denominations or faith shall be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly peculiar to that organization
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The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. The Boy Scouts of America does not require membership in a religious organization or association for enrollment in the movement but does prefer, and strongly encourages, membership and participation in the religious programs and activities of a church, synagogue, or other religious association.
We respect the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious organizations.
Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitled to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.
Throughout life we will be associated with people of different faiths. In the United States we believe in religious freedom. That is why we respect others whose religion may differ from ours, although we may not agree with them. The founders of the United States of America believed in the right of all to worship God in their own way. Their customs may be different from ours, but their hearts are just as true, and their faith just as sincere.

NOTE: Bold type denotes BSA rules and policies.

POLICY INDEX