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The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.In the first part of the Scout Oath the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members.The texts of the BSA's Scout Oath and Scout Law for Boy Scouting have remained unchanged since they were approved in 1911, Scout Oath On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.In reciting the Scout Oath, Scouts promise to do their duty to God and to be morally straight; the Scout Law holds that a Scout is clean and reverent.

As early as 1908, Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell wrote in the first Scout handbook that, "No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws." For much of its existence, the BSA has believed that atheists and agnostics are not appropriate role models of the Scout Oath and Law for boys, and thus have not accepted such persons as members or adult leaders.

No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them.

The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training.

According to its mission statement, the Boy Scouts of America seeks "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law".

All members are required, as a condition of membership, to promise to uphold and obey both of these pledges.

Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

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