The Girl Guides Association is launching a consultation to see if its members would support an alternative oath for those who feel unable to pledge a "duty to God". A similar consultation was launched by the Scouts a month ago.
National Secular Society welcomes Scouts atheist consultation
The president of the National Secular Society, Terry Sanderson, said the Scouts' consultation on an alternative oath for atheists was a "move in the right direction".
He also said it would put an end to "unpleasant confrontations" such as that of 11-year-old George Pratt, from Midsomer Norton in Somerset, who was excluded because he did not want to make the Scout Promise in its present form.
By adjusting their promise to include people without a religious belief, the Scouts will bring themselves in line with the reality of 21st-century Britain, where more than two-thirds of young people say they have no religious belief.
If the Scouts decide to change the promise, it would relieve many young people of having to lie about what they believe in order to be part of this great organisation.
– Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society
Membership of the Scouts has risen during the past seven years from 444,936 in 2005 to 525,364 this year, figures released by the association show.
Since 2002, the number of girls taking part has increased by 69% while more than 50 scout groups catering for young people drawn mainly from Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities have opened in the last ten years.