Religious emblem programs enforce the religious principle of the Boy Scouts of America. Duty to God is a fundamental principle of Scouting. The religious emblem programs make every effort to strengthen Scouts in their religious obligations. As Scouts earn their religious award, they become more knowledgeable in their faith and exercise personal growth.
The pendants or emblems are awarded by related religious organizations. They are not a Scouting recognition. Each faith has its own requirements for earning its emblem; most call for religious knowledge and service. Since Scouting is nonsectarian, it espouses no creed and favors no faith over another. Instead, it provides programs and ideals that complement the goals of all religions. More than 47 percent of all Scouting units are chartered to religious organizations.
One unique development that has emerged from the partnership of Scouting with religious organizations is the religious emblems program.
The following religions have programs, and additional information can be found here at Scouting.org.
|African American Episcopal Church
|Community of Christ
|Eastern Orthodox Church
|Roman Catholic Church
|United Methodist Church
|Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
|Churches of Christ
|...and many others
Emblems & Awards
Youth Religious Emblem – This knot may be worn by any Scout or Scouter who completed the religious emblem program as a youth member. The actual administration of religious emblem programs is conducted by the Scout’s religious organization. The organization then presents the religious emblem upon completion of the program. Units frequently award the recipient with a presentation of the Universal Religious Emblem Square Knot. Only one youth award square knot is worn, no matter how many times the holder earns a second or subsequent religious award as a youth member. For subsequent awards, the Scout wears the appropriate devices on his square knot to indicate multiple awards.
Adult Religious Award – This square knot is worn by those who have received a religious award as an adult member of the BSA. It is not a BSA award, and is presented by religious organizations for long tenure of service to Scouting, the religion, and the community. Only one adult award square knot is worn regardless of how many awards are received.
Adult awards are not earned like youth awards: Generally, an outside party must nominate an adult to receive an award by submitting the required applications, letter of recommendation, and resume of activities. Self and spouse nominations will not be accepted, and nominations cannot be made posthumously.
Information from the BSA
“Duty to God” Brochure & Promotion Patch
This is a great resource for Scouts, parents and religious leaders who are interested in learning more about the Religious Emblems Program and what it entails. For more information about the Religious Emblem Program, visit https://www.scouting.org/awards/religious-awards/
- P.R.A.Y. – Duty to God Promotion Patch
Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) Announces a Duty to God promotion patch to encourage youth and adults to learn about the religious emblems program. The patch is composed of four segments with one segment offered for each year of the four-year program. To earn the patch, youth and adults are asked to attend or coordinate a presentation or information seminar on religious emblems and to make a commitment to fulfill their “Duty to God.”Adults can commit to having half of their families participate in the program, or they may nominate another adult to be recognized with a religious award or serve as counselors to their local congregations.
Youth can commit to earning a religious emblem or to make the presentation to another unit or help younger Scouts earn their religious awards.
Local Contacts & More Information
Protestant & Independent Christian Churches
Contact Rev. Bob Herath, Wotamalo District Religious Emblems Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Fr.Glenn Harris at (309) 274-3809, Dr Doug Loberg at (309) 691-2250.
Linda Atherton, Chair
1105 Galen Dr.
Champaign, IL 61821
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Please contact the Vanguard International Scouting Association, an independent Affinity Group of the BSA serving the needs of Latter-day Saints in Scouting worldwide.
Become a Religious Emblem Coordinator (REC)
Baden-Powell stated, “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 neighbor.” (Scouting For Boys, 1908)
Religious Emblems Coordinator (REC) positions exist at the Council, District and Unit levels. The REC’s are responsible for educating, motivating, evaluating, and expanding the usage of the religious emblems programs. Contact the WD Boyce Council Service Center if you are interested in becoming involved as an REC.
Purpose of the REC:
- Encourage all youth to earn the emblem of their faith
- Promote religious emblems usage like BSA promotes other youth advancements
- Establish goals and track the number of religious emblems to be completed every year
- Reinforce BSA values through religious emblems
- Improve relationships with religious chartering organizations
- Establish relationships with potential religious partners and supporters of Scouting