USSSP: A Scout's Duty to God and Country - Introduction



This book was initially developed for the Cub Scout Religious Emblem Programs Sessions of the National Capital Area Council's 1992, 1993, and 1994 Cub Scout Leaders Pow Wow. Over these few years this book has found its way to Scouters from coast to coast in the United States and to Scouters as far away as New Zealand and Australia. Since its first release, demand for this book has far exceeded our expectations leading us to a second, third and now this fourth edition.

Many Scouters asked us to expand our coverage to the entire program. In response to those requests, the third edition of A Scout's Duty to God and Country, 3rd ed. (1995) was expanded to cover Boy Scouting and Exploring with more program material for your use. Although this book was and is used primarily in connection with Cub Scouting, the coverage of other phases of the Scouting program is important, because as each Scout grows, he and his leaders should be aware that programs for religious growth exist at each level, as well as opportunities to develop as a healthy more productive citizen.

We are happy to present to you a book that will acquaint you with a variety of rich opportunities for your Scouts to experience personal religious growth, ways to explore a Scout's "Duty to God and Country" and some ideas for cultivating good citizenship. Although this book focuses primarily on the relationship of Scouting to various religions and the Religious Emblem Programs available to Scouting, it also includes material on a Scout's "Duty to Country".

At almost every Scout meeting, activity, or gathering our Scouts recite the Cub Scout Promise, the Boy Scout Oath, or the Explorer's Code pledging to do their duty to God and to country. What does it mean when they recite those words?

Perhaps the best place to begin is by asking ourselves, what does it mean to pledge to do your duty to God and country? Similarly, we should ask what does it mean to Tigers Scouts, Cub Scouts, Webelos, Boy Scouts, and Explorers when they recite those words? For us the answers may be pretty clear, but for a young Tiger or Cub Scout, this duty may be defined in a variety of ways depending on the boy. Answers may range from simple to complex, e.g., "going to church", understanding right and wrong, doing one's best to live a good life, saying prayers or identification of some tenets of faith.

As Scouts grow older, their understanding will deepen and their concepts may become more complex. However, one thing for certain is that most of these Scouts (regardless of age) are still struggling to identify what their duties are. As leaders we face the challenge of trying to understand the scope of our own duties and communicating appropriate traits and duties to those young Scouts. This is not always easy, but it is helpful to realize that one of the most basic goals in Scouting is to promote the growth of a young Scout into a healthy, productive citizen with a sense of "Duty to God".

Throughout the family of Scouting, encouragement and recognition of religious growth is a keystone of the program. However, we recognize that there are some who would challenge whether Scouting should encourage "Duty to God". The best statements on the subject are found in Appendices A, B, and C where you will find Baden-Powell's views on Scouting and religion, international views on Scouting and Religion, and a computer reconstruction of two resolutions of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America that make clear Scouting's continuing commitment to encourage a Scout to be reverent and to understand his "Duty to God".

Those resolutions are a reaffirmation of a long standing policy. From its earliest days, Scouting has encouraged young men to grow in their understanding of "Duty to God and Country." In the United States, Scouting has had a unique relationship with religious bodies, encouraging recognition programs. Early on, Scouting recognized that boys and young men and women (Exploring), should be encouraged to engage in programs within their own faiths to develop a better understanding of their "Duty to God".

Scouting's relationship to Religious Emblem Programs began in 1939, when the National Catholic Committee developed a religious emblem program called the "Ad Altare Dei" program. A few years later in 1943, the first Protestant religious emblem program was established by the National Lutheran Committee on Scouting and called "Pro Deo Et Patria". Only a year later in 1944, the Jewish Committee on Scouting made available the "Ner Tamid" Program. The general Protestant "God and Country" program followed in 1945.

Since those early beginnings the Religious Emblems Program has spread to many more faiths and is available not only to Boy Scouts, but also to Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Explorers, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Incorporated, and 4-H Club members. Recognition of adult service to youth organizations has also grown to include many religions. Scouting's relationship to religions and Religious Emblem Programs is discussed in "PART 1" of this book.

"PART 2" of this book identifies the religious emblems available in many faiths, summarizes requirements, provides a list of additional resource material available through the Scout Supply Division or the listed religious organization, and gives information on any related Scouting association for adult Scouters. We have included information on all religious emblems known to the authors at the time of printing to acquaint leaders with the opportunities their Scouts will have as they grow from Tiger Cubs through Exploring. If you find that we have missed anything, please let us know, we will be happy to consider it for use in the next edition of this book.

In previous editions, when materials were available to us, when the material was not copyrighted we reprinted specific requirements for an emblem directly from that faith's religious emblem material or when the requirements were copyrighted we presented outlines with some formatting changes for style, omitting directions, explanatory passages, charts, quotations from religious source material, certifications and signature blocks in an effort not to infringe copyrighted material. However, because of our continuing concern that this book be used only for training and general reference purposes and not as a substitute for religious emblem program material, we have restricted our coverage of religious emblem programs to summaries of the various emblems instead of reproducing requirements even when they are not copyrighted.

Depending on their religious denomination, Scouts enrolling in a religious emblems program may acquire the appropriate resource material from their local Scout Service Center, Programs for Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) or their religious organization. Purchasing the appropriate religious emblem program material from one of these sources is the only way candidates can obtain the appropriate forms and applications to get the certificates, emblems, medals, and other recognition devices they are entitled to receive upon completion. Reproduced requirements and/or applications are not generally accepted by any of these organizations. You should be aware that the nominal charges for these materials are used to pay for the various religious emblem programs.

"PART 3" of this book provides information on graces, prayers, songs, religious observances, Scout religious services, Scouters' minutes and closings along with many samples that you can use.

"PART 4" of this book is dedicated to promoting citizenship and a Scout's "Duty to Country." Program ideas, suggested activities to promote citizenship, songs, ceremonies and Scouters' minutes are found here. In addition, you will find a comprehensive set of rules for United States Flag etiquette. We hope that you find many of these ideas useful in planning your unit's program.

"APPENDIX A" is a collection of Baden-Powell's and international views on Scouting and religion.

"APPENDIX B" is a reconstruction of an earlier Boy Scouts of America's resolution reaffirming the importance of a Scout's "Duty to God" as a part of its programs and a related question and answer information sheet. "APPENDIX C" is a reconstruction of the most recent Boy Scouts of America resolution reaffirming the importance of a Scout's "Duty to God" as a part of its programs and a related question and answer information sheet.

"APPENDIX D" lists the known number of religious emblems presented in 1994 by religion.

Because there has been a continuing demand for more information in this area, this book has been prepared as a training resource for use in your Council, District, or Unit to help leaders plan and conduct a program that encourages the development of good citizenship and individual spiritual growth in a Scout's own faith. To facilitate the planning of Scouting activities in a manner that avoids embarrassing conflicts with the religious observances and practices of your Scouts, we have included a three year calendar of with the dates of major religious observances for Jewish, Islamic, Christian and other religions in "APPENDIX E."

Finally, "APPENDIX F" is provided to give you a single, comprehensive list of published resources concerning "Duty to God". Many of the resources listed in this bibliography can be obtained from the Boy Scouts of America. Some materials can only be obtained from a particular religious organization. We hope that the listings and contact points found in "PART 2" will enable you to obtain the information you need or desire.


This book is an attempt to catalog all of the information known to the us regarding the relationship between Scouting and religions and the many Religious Emblem Programs. It is not intended to suggest a preference for any religious belief(s). As you use the book, please feel free to provide additional information or offer your comments and suggestions for future improvements by calling or writing to either of us. We can be reached at the following addresses:




Michael F. Bowman

Jim Bryant





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