Promoting Religious Emblems:

A Council/District Training

(50-Minute Presentation)


·         PowerPoint Presentation “Promoting Religious Emblems: A Council/District Training” – Available at

·         DVD: “Resources for Promoting Duty to God” – Includes a 7-minute video on religious emblems. This DVD contains all the resources below and is available for sale on the P.R.A.Y. web site at

·         Duty to God brochure (SKU 512879) – Available from your local council (your council may order these brochures from BSA National Religious Relationships); also available in printable form at

·         “Dear Parent” Handout – Available at

·         Separate scripts for presentations to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers - These scripts contain all the basic information about religious emblems, i.e. getting started on the programs, square knots, devices, setting goals, etc. – Available at

·         “Duty to God Promotion Patch” Handout - This handout describes the four-segment puzzle patch, which may be earned by any youth or adult who learns about the religious emblems and then makes a commitment to Duty to God. Available at

·         “Promoting Duty to God Game” – These questions (and answers) are the basis for a review game at the end of the presentation. Available at

·         Post the address to the P.R.A.Y. web site (for information on religious emblems):

·         Square knot and “devices” for display (optional)

·         Display medals and sample booklets (optional)



Slide1: Promoting Religious Emblems


Welcome! Our training today is called “Promoting Religious Emblems”. My name is __________ [give brief introduction of each trainer]


Slide 2: Objectives


We have three objectives for you today.

First, we are going to help you to “understand the religious emblems programs.” We’ll give you the “what, why, and how” of religious emblems so that you will know how to promote Duty to God


Second, we are going to help you to “become familiar with presentation materials and resources.” It’s not enough to know about religious emblems. We want you to know about the materials and free resources that are available to you.


Third, we are going to help you to “understand your role in promoting religious emblems.” The unit leader is critical in getting information to youth members and their families. We hope to encourage you to make a presentation on the religious emblems to your unit.


Let’s begin.


Slide 3: Brief History


First, a brief history:


The first awards were the “Ad Altare Dei” emblem for Catholics in 1939, the “Pro Deo Et Patria” emblem for Lutherans in 1943, the “Ner Tamid” emblem for Jews in 1944, and the “God and Country” emblem for Protestants in 1945. These original emblems were created at the Boy Scout level only.


Today there are more than 75 emblems approved by BSA representing more than 35 religious groups. What exactly are religious emblems?



Slide 4: What are Religious Emblems Programs?


The first and most important thing you need to remember about religious emblems, is that “they are programs that are created by national religious organizations.” I repeat, these are programs that are created by national religious organizations, not by the BSA. In other words, each faith creates its own program.  The religious organizations create their curriculum, establish the guidelines, and administer their programs.  Which brings us to our second point:


The religious emblems programs “provide specific religious instruction.” Since the curriculum is designed by the religious organization, these programs are religious education materials to encourage the spiritual development of their young people who are also members of the BSA.


Slide 5: What are Religious Emblems Programs? Continued


Now that you know that these programs are created by the national religious organizations, we’re going to continue by saying the religious emblems programs “are recognized by BSA” and “the medals are approved for wear on the official uniform.” This is one way that BSA promotes Duty to God. As you can see, the religious emblems are cooperative ventures between the religious organizations and the BSA.



Slide 6: Why Promote Religious Emblems?


“Duty to God is at the heart of the Scouting movement.” Every Scout professes a Duty to God in the Cub Scout Promise, Boy Scout Oath, and Venturing Oath. Everyone knows that “A Scout is Reverent.”


“Religious emblems provide a spiritual component to the Scouting program.” Religious emblems promote the same values found in Scouting. They also help develop positive assets in youth members. Religious emblems go hand-in-hand with Scouting, and that’s why we promote them.


Slide 7: Why Promote Them? (cont.)


One last point about promoting religious emblems: “Scouting is nonsectarian and promotes religious emblems for ALL faiths.”  Scouting supports no creed and favors no religious faith over another. When promoting religious emblems, it is important to promote the emblems for ALL faiths.



Slide 8: Video: “Promoting Duty to God (Religious Emblems)”


We’re going to show you a video called “Promoting Duty to God (Religious Emblems)” This is a seven-minute video which includes testimonials from Scouts, parents, leaders and clergy. Many religious groups are represented in this video. As you watch it, keep in mind that this is a video you could show to your unit.


Slide 9: Video: Obtaining a Copy


Most of you would agree that this video is an excellent promotional tool. How can you get a copy? The 7-minute video on religious emblems is part of the DVD: “Resources for Promoting Duty to God"You can view it or purchase it from


Please note that the DVD version also contains other promotional resources and handouts from P.R.A.Y.  In fact, most of the resources that will be mentioned throughout this workshop are included on this DVD.


Slide 10: How do we get started on these programs?


In the video, someone mentioned how easy it was to get started on the religious emblems. It’s true. There are four basic steps to get started. These are the steps that you would share with your Scouts and parents.


Step 1: Youth members must obtain the specific booklet for their religion.

·         Use the “Duty to God” brochure to identify the program for your faith

·         Check with your council store or contact the religious organization directly.

·         Each Scout needs his own booklet to document progress.

·         Some religions offer adult manuals for counselors and mentors.


Step 2: Parents must review the program guidelines.

·         Some programs require participants to be official “members” of the religious institution.

·         Age/grade requirements vary from program to program.

·         Each program sets its own guidelines as to who may serve as counselor.  Some programs require clergy to serve as counselors; other programs allow parents or other family members to serve as counselors.


Slide 11:

Step 3: Families should talk to their religious leaders and show them the booklet before beginning any program

·         Most programs require that they be completed under the auspices of that religious organization.

·         Many programs require the signature of the local religious leader.


Step 4: The youth member needs to complete the requirements, obtain the proper signatures, and follow the instructions to order the emblem.

·         These emblems are not available from your local council store (follow instructions in your booklet).

·         The emblem should be presented in a meaningful ceremony, preferably in the member’s religious institution.

·         The award can be presented at anytime of the year. Boy Scout Sunday/Sabbath in February is a perfect time to recognize recipients.



Slide 12: Religious Emblems Square Knots


When a young person earns a religious emblem, they have earned the right to wear the universal religious square knot.  This is a silver knot on a purple background. This knot will always be on their uniform (it even carries up to the adult uniform). An adult who receives an adult award wears the square knot with the purple knot on the silver background.


Slide 13: Religious Emblems Square Knot with 1, 2, and 3 devices


Most religious emblems programs have more than one level. Young people are encouraged to continue with the religious emblems programs and earn awards at each level. Even though a Scout can only wear one square knot on the uniform, there are “devices” that are pinned in the square knot to show that awards were earned at different levels.



Slide 14: Role of the Leader


We want to spend just a minute talking about your role as a leader. Some leaders avoid anything to do with religion for fear of offending somebody. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The first thing is to realize that the role of the leader is to provide information, not religious instruction. Your role as a leader is to simply inform your Scouts and parents that these programs exist. You provide the information; the instruction should come from the home and the religious leaders. And that is why we encourage you to make a presentation on the religious emblems to Scouts and families.


Slide 15: Duty to God Promotion Patch


This is called the Duty to God Promotion Patch. The whole idea of this patch is to promote religious emblems. Both youth and adults may earn this patch. The requirements are simple: Attend a presentation on the religious emblems. Make a commitment to Duty to God. For example, adults can commit to having 50% of families participate in the religious emblems programs, nominating a worthy adult to be recognized with an adult religious award, serving as counselor in their local congregation, etc. Youth can commit to earning the religious emblem of their faith at an appropriate time, making a presentation on religious emblems to another unit, helping younger Scouts earn their religious emblem, helping to establish a religious emblems program in their local congregation, etc.



Slide 16: Duty to God Promotion Patch (cont.)


This patch is a four-segment puzzle patch. Only one segment is available per year. You are encouraged to make a presentation on religious emblems every year. Patches are available on-line at  Patches may be preordered for distribution at your presentation.


Now that you’re excited and can hardly wait to make a presentation, what are some of the resources that you can use?


Slide 17: Presentation Resources


The Duty to God brochure –this brochure is in full color and includes all the different emblems recognized by BSA. Show your Scouts what the medals look like. The medals themselves are a strong incentive to Scouts.


The inside has a chart or grid listing the religious organizations and their programs. It provides contact information including web sites and email addresses.


The back page has Frequently Asked Questions.


This brochure is essential to your presentation. You will need it as a reference tool.  If possible, you may want to get copies to distribute at your presentation. Your council can order this brochure from the Relationships Division. The SKU number is 512879.  A printable form is also available on line at


Slide 18: Presentation Resources (cont.)


Dear Parent Letter


This is a handout. Your Scouts can take it home to their parents. It provides a short summary of how to get started on the programs. It also provides space for Scouts to copy the contact information for their specific religious program.


Slide 19:Presentation Resources (cont.)


You’ll want to have a sample script when you make a presentation to your unit. Separate scripts are available for presentations to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers. These scripts use interfaith language and promote the religious emblems of all faiths. They are very helpful. In fact, I’m going to distribute a copy to everybody, and we’re going to take the time to read through one.


Slide 20: Activity: Reading the Script


Here’s your assignment. Find a partner. Take turns (maybe alternate every other paragraph), but read through the entire script.  You will be pleased to learn how easy it is to make a presentation.


[After a reasonable amount of time, announce that time is up.]

You’ve just read the script. It’s like you’ve made a presentation on religious emblems. Now you don’t have the excuse that “you’ve never done it.” You’re ready to make a presentation to your unit.


Slide 21: Adult Recognitions


A training on religious emblems isn’t complete without mentioning the adult awards. The adult recognitions are different from the youth adults.


Adult recognitions are by nomination only. Adult recognitions are not work/study programs like the youth awards. They are by nomination only.


A minimum number of years of service is required. Recipients must have served both their Boy Scout Council and their local congregation.


Slide 22: Adult Recognitions (cont.)


The adult nominations require several documents:


Completed application form (most of these application/nomination forms are available online)

Resume of candidate’s qualifications

Letters of recommendation (from the Boy Scout Council and the religious institution)


Slide 23: Adult Recognitions (cont.)


Each adult recognition is different. Please check specific eligibility requirements for a particular award.


Why aren’t the adult awards all the same? Can anybody tell me why? [Your participants should answer that the religious emblems are created by the national religious organizations, not by BSA, and that is why the requirements and guidelines will differ from program to program.]


Slide 24: Game!


[Note: the questions for this game as well as the cards for the game board are available at]


It’s time to find out how much you have learned today. We’re going to play a game to test your knowledge of religious emblems. We’re going to divide into teams. You may use any resource in answering questions. The questions will fall in the following categories: religious emblems, resources, scripts, responsibilities of the leader, and the grid/chart. We have ___ minutes to play. I’ll announce when we run out of time. Let’s begin.


Slide 25: Questions


We have ____ minutes for questions. Any questions on the material covered? Any questions on making a presentation?


[Note: If you run out of time, or if someone asks a detailed question about a specific situation that doesn’t necessarily apply to the group, offer to stay after the workshop and answer their questions.]


Slide 26: For More Information


[Note: If you are comfortable giving out your phone number and/or email address, this would be the time to do so.]


Visit P.R.A.Y.’s web site at  Or call P.R.A.Y. at 1-800-933-7729.



Slide 27: Final Thoughts


I want to thank you for coming today. I want to leave you with two final thoughts:


1. As the unit leader, YOU are the key person in getting information about these programs to your youth members and families.


2. You now have the knowledge and resources to make a presentation.


I hope you do so!


Slide 28: Thank you for promoting religious emblems!