Scouts and Guides’ promise to “love God” may be dropped
We’ve had emails from parents whose children want to join the Guides or Scouts, but have been shocked to find that they’re expected to make a promise to “love God”. Letters and emails to the association have failed, so far, to achieve any sort of compromise. Now, after persistent campaigning by the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association, Girl Guides may no longer have to pledge to “love God” as part of their Guide promise. Presumably, this would apply to Scouts too. An increasing number of parents have complained that the current pledge discriminates against children who don’t have a religious faith. If they make the promise, they have to lie. Some have opted for the alternative organization, the Woodcraft Folk (which ignores religion) if there’s a branch in their area.
Today’s Telegraph reports,
… the association is considering reviewing the wording of its affirmation for new members, to remove religious references.
The move comes after parents complained it was unfair to exclude children who had not received a Christian upbringing.
The Telegraph has quoted The Christian Institute, which typically sees nothing wrong in foisting religion on children, whether they believe or not:
“It would be terribly sad,” said Mike Judge, spokesman for The Christian Institute.
“The Girl Guides has always embraced all people but has its roots in Christian values, which is what has made it so popular and successful.
“It will be very difficult for it to maintain its values if it removes the ethics from where those ideas spring from. It would change the character of the Guides for the worse.
“Sadly, I think this is symptomatic of a much wider problem in Britain, which stems from a culture of embarrassment about being Christian.”
It’s not about “embarrassment”, Mr Judge, it’s about respecting a child’s right to his or her own opinions and beliefs, and about respecting their family’s values when they owe nothing to Christianity. Even in 2011, there are still ignorant people who imagine that non-believers are amoral.