The Boy Scouts of America is an organization focused on youth character development through various activities and outdoor education. Is Boy Scouts a religious organization? Although the Boy Scouts of America is not primarily a religious organization, there have been various ties to faith and religion throughout its history.
Boy Scouts of America References to Religion
Some of the religious references within the Boy Scouts of America include the “Declaration of Religious Principle” and the “Scout’s Oath.” Both of these verbal commitments are integral parts of the application and memberships process for aspiring scouts.
The “Declaration of Religious Principle” is the idea that the admission, growth, and advancement of a scout depends on an obligation to God. Although the Boy Scouts do not require members to identify with or adhere to the rules of a specific denomination or faith, the presence of God is necessary for advancement, according to the Boy Scouts guidelines outlined in their 188.8.131.52 Advancement in Camp Settings.
The Boy Scouts of America tasks each boy scout to live up to a set of standards and principles set forth by Scout Law. A line in the “Scout’s Oath” has a direct reference to religion, stating, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.”
Scout Law outlines 12 goals each Scout strives for on a daily basis. The 12 goals hold the members accountable for being:
The last goal, “Reverent,” is defined by the Boy Scouts of America as “reverent toward God,” which is a direct reference to religion.
Although the Boy Scouts have evolved in their many standards and practices over time, there are conclusive ties to religion in the historical thread of this organization, as in the aforementioned examples, which further complicates the question of “Is Boy Scouts a religious organization?”
Organizational Changes Over Time
Although many policy changes have taken place over the years, Boy Scouts of America never modified the Declaration of Religious Principle or other faith-based standards. In recent years the Boy Scouts of America has faced financial pressure due to a number of lawsuits regarding child abuse, according to Reuters.
Like many large organizations, the Boy Scouts have evolved significantly over time. There have been social changes in America since the Boy Scouts were founded, and a number of the specific changes in Boy Scout policies directly reflect social pressure to become more inclusive as an organization.
When the Boy Scouts were founded, they were very exclusive in terms of gender and sexual orientation. Today, the Boy Scouts of America accept a wider range of demographics, including younger children, girls, and those identifying as homosexual and transgender, according to Associated Press. These changes took a long time to manifest, as the Boy Scouts decided to remove some of these restrictions as recently as 2015, with the removal of the ban on gay leaders in the organization.
Leading up to 2020, the Boy Scouts of America suffered significant financial loss in light of hundreds of child sexual abuse lawsuits. With assets in excess of $1 billion, the Boy Scouts of America will continue to operate under the Chapter 11 process while it attempts to level obligations with creditors and plaintiffs.
Sexual Abuse Cases
If you or someone you know was involved with the Boy Scouts of America and may have been the victim of sexual abuse, there could be financial compensation available. Victims of abuse suffer in many ways, and their experiences can be devastating and completely life-altering. Sometimes legal action helps bring justice against perpetrators and alleviate the financial burden facing victims for medical costs and other measures related to suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse related to the Boy Scouts of America, speaking with a legal professional may help you understand your options. Every case is different, and while no amount of compensation can make up for heinous crimes and the traumatic experience of abuse, some victims choose to pursue legal action.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is available to discuss your case or answer any questions you might have. Call us at (800) 794-0444. A statute of limitations may apply if you choose to file a personal injury case, so call us as soon as possible.