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Boy Scouts for a Religious America


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

The Boy Scouts of America remains closed to the non-religious population, i.e., the atheist population in the United States.

Over time, especially in recent history, the Boy Scouts of America have begun to accept a broader palette of child and adolescent into their ranks. This includes, increasingly, gays, trans, and girls. They may change their name.

The work is based on pressure to have an inclusive environment. There has been an increase in the tolerance of the organization while also seeing a decrease in the number of people who join in the organization.

In essence, it alienates the evangelical Christians and Mormons of the organizations in the process of greater inclusivity. One large and growing group in the United States is the Nones, the ever-famed and defamed ones.

The Scout Oath mentions the “best to do my duty to God” alongside the Scout Law that talks about a goal of reverence for God. These become the basis for exclusion of atheists or non-believers. Only a few weeks ago, the Boy Scouts of America declared, or re-declared, their belief in the no atheists permitted in the organization policy.

Because it is an organization for a belief in God, essentially. The National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America accepted a resolution, stated as follows:

A couple of weeks ago, the BSA doubled down on their pledge to keep atheists out of the fold. At the group’s annual meeting, the BSA National Executive Board adopted a resolution that effectively blocks open atheists from joining. It 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.

Somehow, welcoming girls doesn’t affect the “fundamental component of the mission” of the BSA, but slightly rewriting the Oath and Law is a bridge too far.

As noted in Friendly Atheist, “They don’t want your kid. If you’re atheists, they don’t really want your involvement, either. It’s also why the BSA shouldn’t receive government funding or access to public schools. No organization that discriminates on the basis of religion should be rewarded by the government.”

The organization continues to open the doors to more and more types of people from diverse identities and backgrounds. However, this area continues to remain closed, purportedly on the need for God and reverence in the Scout Law and the Scout Oath.

“The strangest thing about this resolution is that the BSA has done a good job of opening the doors to more and more people even when it meant changing the very nature of what they’ve always been. They were willing to break with tradition because the old restrictions no longer made any sense,” Friendly Atheist stated.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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