Christ Covenant Church, a Presbyterian congregation just outside of Charlotte, N.C., has denied a couple’s application to serve as volunteer Scout leaders. After attending two meetings the couples sons, ages 6 and 8, were told that they could continue to attend the meetings but their parents were not allowed to serve as leaders. A spokeswoman from Christ Covenant said in an email that the decision was made to “assure that our parameters for leaders are clearly defined and well-communicated to volunteers and those interested in leadership roles for church sponsored programs such as the Boy Scouts”.
The LDS parents were outraged at the suggestion that their boys could remain in the program despite the decision to deny their application for leadership, but the fact is that the Boy Scouts of America is heavily woven with religious observances. The BSA is a non-sectarian organization, however a belief in God is required. The Grand Teton Council, which serves the youth of eastern Idaho, makes the following declaration.
“The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to this Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership.”
In the case of the Stokes, the Presbyterian congregation doesn’t consider Mormons to be real Christians. Nonetheless in Idaho Falls the story is much the same. In Idaho Falls the Boy Scouts is largely run by LDS congregations. Just as is the case with the Christ Covenant Church, the LDS Church maintains certain guidelines in their scouting program and does not appoint leaders from outside the church. In fact beginning at age 12 the LDS Scouting Program is heavily interwoven with the Priesthood Organization.
Regardless of your religious orientation one thing is clear. God is a vital part of Scouting.
The Cub Scout Promise
I, (scout says his name), promise
To do my best
To do my duty to God
And my country
To help other people, and
To obey the Law of the Pack
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.