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Scouts Canada & Religious Belief

    To date, we've yet to locate any written policy or even official statement on how a Scout's duty to God is translated in regard to Scouts Canada's membership policies.
     From what has been seen and heard, it seems Scouts Canada's position is somewhere between BSA's absolute policy of rejecting even those who "say they are "still deciding" about religion . . . and describe them[selves] as agnostic," (See the Randall case) and the UK Scout Association policy, which automatically rejects atheist adults, but allows young people "who question God's existence, their own spirituality or the structures and beliefs of any or all religions are simply searching for spiritual understanding." In addition, the UK Scout Association states that "a young person can promise to do his or her duty 'to God' (suitable for most faiths, including Christians, Jews and Sikhs), 'to my Dharma' (Hindu and Buddhist) or 'to Allah' (Orthodox Muslim)."
     Scouts Canada, like all other WOSM members, believes in the spiritual dimension in Scouting. It seems the Scouts Canada is not as dogmatic as to defining one's duty to God, but if a Scout publicly declares to be an atheist and rejects the spiritual component of Scouting, then Scouts Canada would probably terminate his/her membership.

     Below is the Mission, Principles and Methods, as outlined by Scouts Canada.

To contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.

Scouting's Mission is achieved by:

  • involving youth throughout their formative years in a non formal educational process.
  • using a specific method that makes each individual the principal agent in his or her development as a self-reliant, supportive, responsible and committed person
  • assisting youth to establish a value system based upon spiritual, social and personal principles as expressed in the Promise and Law.

Principles: Scouting is based on three broad principles which represent its fundamental beliefs. These include:

    Duty to God: Defined as, Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom.

    Duty to Others: Defined as, Loyalty to one's country in harmony with the promotion of local, national and international peace, understanding and cooperation, and Participation in the development of society, with recognition and respect for the dignity of one's fellow-being and for the integrity of the natural world.

    Duty to Self : Defined as, Responsibility for the development of oneself. This is in harmony with the educational purpose of the Scout Movement whose aim is to assist young people in the full development of their potentials.

Practices and Methods:
We define Scouting Practices as a system of progressive self-education including:

  • a promise and law,
  • learning by doing,
  • membership in small groups,
  • progressive and stimulating programs,
  • commitment to the values of doing one's best, contributing to the community, respecting and caring for others, contributing as a family member,
  • use of outdoor activities as a key learning resource.


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