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I am a Webelos Den Leader ready to present 8 out of 9 of my scouts with their Webelos Badge in April. I still have to qualify each scout with an interview to make certain that they have completed their requirments, but after 4 years of these guys, I am pretty confident that they have completed the necessary requirements.

However, I have one Scout that has an agnostic mother who refuses to allow me to speak with her son regarding religion or the religious requirements for the Webelos badge. She has gone so far as to threaten to pull him out of scouting if I don't advance him (and he HAS done all of the requirements).

For a minute, I thought that I should go ahead and advance him based on the "do your best" and not hold the scout accountable for the parent actions.

Then I read the BSA Legal Section which clearly outlines where they stand on Atheism and Agnostic beliefs.

Now here is the kicker...the dad is my asst Den Leader(raised in a christian home) and mom is one of the most active, supportive people in my den and our Pack(soon to be Asst Cubmaster).

How do I in good conscience, advance the Scout and not lose two of the best resources and poeple that I and the Pack have? I know it sounds selfish, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

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You said they have completed the needed requirements.

How did this scout complete requirements 7 and 8?


If he hasn't, then you cannot advancement him. The parents aslo need to be made aware of the difficulty the scout will have advancing in Boy Scouts, or even registering.


If the parents choose to remove him from scouting that would be unfortunate, but they are the parents, and have that authority. They have obviously lead him on a philosophical path that puts him in direct conflict with the values of the BSA program.


I would be honest with them and say that the BSA requires he complete these requirements in order to advance.



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Thanks for the input BW...I was afraid someone was going to acknowledge the inevitable.


Unfortunately, there is enough "wiggle" room under requirement 7 and 8 that the scout may complete, but the only requirement that the scout can not fill is under section 8 unless the scout reviews his requirements. Without the discussion, how can I advance him.


Lest we forget, it will not be the parents that suffer the black and white stance of the BSA (which I support 100% otherwise would not have this issue) but the scout who obviously does not comprehend the magnitude of this topic.


The Scout and my Asst Den Leader faithfully recite all references to God, however, it is the mother's beliefs that may end this scouts participation.

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8b is the elusive (and required) answer that I was hoping to determine when I interviewed the Scout.


8d is not required if you do two items under 8e.

Under 8e, the scout has:

-listed two ways that you believe you have lived according to your religious beliefs

-with your religious leader (parents), discuss and make a plan to do two things you think will help you draw nearer to God. Do these things for a month.


I agree that the second item is a stretch, but without an interview re this topic, I can't confirm how the Scout did two things that would make him closer to God.


There are still other non-biased requirements under 8e that he could fulfill without having a firm religious background and I would still be able to advance him.


But it comes back around to good ole 8b...


Not trying to argue, but as you can imagine, I have gone through this back and forth and I am trying to search for a reasonable solution...I am not getting paid enough for this job...lol

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I had a family member come to me over this very issue. I still haven't a clue what the family religion is, but apparently the family was divided. I asked this person if the boy had been practicing his religion as his family taught it. Yes was the answer. I then asked if there was any reason the den leader couldn't ask this boy the very question I had just asked. Not a problem. I asked what was the concern. The family felt a particular faith might be needed, so it was a misunderstanding. I can't see this boy advancing if he has not completely requirements that are very clearly spelled out. Has the dad remained silent on this issue? Could this be a misunderstanding on the part of the mom?

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Great response...

I wish it was a misunderstanding and I don't think dad has any idea what mom is doing...now what? This event just happened on Friday of last week after the mom declined the interview on behalf of her son, then decided to set up an interview, and then finally declined (by email).

I refuse, as a den leader, to get involved in the middle of a family affair (especially one so touchy)- help!


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Looking at the requirements I see: And do one of these (d OR e):


Earn the religious emblem of your faith

e:Do two of these:

>Attend the mosque, church, synagogue, temple, or other religious organization of your choice, talk with your religious leader about your beliefs. Tell your family and your Webelos den leader what you learned.

>Discuss with your family and Webelos den leader how your religious beliefs fit in with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and what character-building traits your religious beliefs have in common with the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

>With your religious leader, discuss and make a plan to do two things you think will help you draw nearer to God. Do these things for a month.

>For at least a month, pray or meditate reverently each day as taught by your family, and by your church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or religious group.

>Under the direction of your religious leader, do an act of service for someone else. Talk about your service with your family and Webelos den leader. Tell them how it made you feel.

>List at least two ways you believe you have lived according to your religious beliefs.


The Lad hasn't earned his religious award. So that's out.

He could if Mom allows discuss his religious beliefs with his Dad and the Den Leader. If he has any??

And he could pray or meditate reverently each day as taught by your family.

Of course the real big problem is what to do with Mom? If she can't do her duty to God, then she has to go.




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I would simply explain that as the den leader it is your responsibility to approve the advancement and that the remaining requirements need to be completed for the scout to advance.


I would also recommend a calm heart to heart with both parents and explain the potential roadblocks that await the boy in Boy Scouting unless he is able to explain his perfomance in his duty to God, and how he as a scout is reverent.





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Ok, then here's what I've done to help den leaders the past two years, and what they began to do on their own. If you don't already send home a den newsletter, this would be a good time to start one. You have the perfect opportunity, as you are approaching the time when Webelos badges will be completed and possibly earned. Put the requirements in the letter, and let the parents know that reviews will be done during the den meetings. Keep it simple, but this puts every family on the same page, and it does not put you in the middle of this family issue. Do you see something like this working?


p.s. I agree with Eamonn. This mom is not a help if she's not willing to follow the program -- and she isn't if she's expecting her son to advance without completing certain requirements.


Edit: I agree with Bob; his advice is better yet. Do let the parents know of the possible roadblocks. So many don't know, and it is clear that this is an issue that this family needs to be aware of.(This message has been edited by Laurie)

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You are on the money (and echo my sentiments)

Of course that puts me right in the middle of a husband wife issue - a place where I choose not to trod.

This is a TUFF issue...I want the Scout to advance and by all rights, he should!

But how do I respect the families beliefs without giving the ultimatum...as Bob W said, be honest and have a talk with them - and while I agree - just how do I NOT get involved between parents without confronting the obvious....does anyone want to fill in for a month?

I was truly ready to step down as Den Leader on this issue since I feel the Scout is doing what he can (but is inhibited by the parent) and if I advanced the scout, it may have appeared that I acquiesced to the mom's belief...

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Bob-great advice (echoed by Laurie and Eamonn)and perhaps my game plan...


Laurie-I require at least one parent for every scout to attend and announce to all scouts and parents what is expected for the next meeting - I also provide a calendar, journal pages, and "mission"(homework) sheets for the boys so no one can feign ignorance of their assignments - so short of a newsletter, I try to cover the bases and made my announcement last time to finalize their Webelos badge requirements and call to discuss or schedule time with me...


Thanks again, so far, for the great input

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Do you have a supportive CM, or would the CC be the better person to ask to help with this? I have had DLs come to me as CM to ask for help, and I have gone to the CC or CR for advice at times, so would this be appropriate?

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