“A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.” ~ Boy Scout Handbook, 12th edition

The last point of the Scout Law can really be said to have three parts.

  1. A Scout is reverent toward God.
  2. A Scout is faithful in his religious duties.
  3. A scout respects the beliefs of others.

Consider this quote from the original Scouting for Boys first published in 1908: “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion…. Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and Serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbour.” “A Scout is Reverent” and “Duty to God” are frequent topics for Scoutmaster conferences. I encourage all boys to seek their God and to learn how to be reverent.

More then just a belief in God, being reverent also means practicing your religion. The practical methods for religious duties vary but generally include things like: Regular church attendance, daily prayer time, scripture reading, meditation. It is important for boys to have a belief in God and to live out that faith through religious duties.

The final aspect of being religious may be the most pertinent to the young men of today: Respect the beliefs of others. This does not mean that all Scouts must believe the same things, or that you have to practice your religion in the same way others do. It means that you must give everyone the freedom of his beliefs and practices and allow him to live those out in his daily life. This would include having a variety of Scouts offer meal-time prayer, and share their own style or beliefs in a Scouts’ own service.

I find many young men that are seeking what it means to be reverent and to have a duty to God. I encourage them to find their own way and to develop that belief in God for themselves. Everyone experiences the beliefs (or lack of belief) of their parents until one day their religion becomes personal. Even if they choose to follow and believe as their parents do, it is still critical that they reach a point where it becomes THEIR belief. Seek God, live out your religious duty to God, and respect the beliefs and practices of others. This is how a Scout is reverent.

William Schmidt
Scoutmaster – Troop 204

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