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Girl Guides drop God vow from promise

Girlguiding is it dropping the phrase "to love my God" from its Promise after a consultation suggested the pledge needed to include non-religious youngsters and those of other faiths.

Bethany (left) and Abby Williams show off their 45 Badges and Awards for Guiding. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive

Instead, girls joining the organisation will now be asked to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs."

The new Promise also asks guides "to serve the Queen and my community" instead of "the Queen and my country".

Girlguiding calls for an end to Page 3 Girls

Dominic Mohan
Editor of the Sun Dominic Mohan has been lobbied over Page 3. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Girlguiding movement, which counts over half a million members, have signed a petition calling on The Sun newspaper to stop the use of page 3 topless models.

In a poll of its members, who are aged 16 to 25, 88% called on Sun editor Dominic Mohan "to finally take bare boobs out of The Sun".

Julie Bentley, chief executive of Girlguiding, said: “We are very proud that young women in Guiding are choosing to speak out and play a part in building the society they want to live in.”

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Guide leaders 'struggle' with religious oath

The Girl Guiding Association says that the online consultation on the future of the organisation's oath of allegiance will allow them to match their members needs better.

The Promise is guiding's beating heart - it is the core expression of values and the common standard that brings everyone in guiding together.

Over the past few years we have heard from more and more girls and leaders who struggle with the wording, particularly in interpreting what it really means to girls today.

Girlguiding UK is committed to retaining a Promise that is in line with its original principles, but we know it is crucial that girls and young women understand and believe in the words they say.

– Girlguiding UK statement

Girl Guides could remove Queen and God from their oath

Brownies model their uniforms in 1990
Brownies could no longer swear to love the Queen as part of the new Promise Credit: GIRLGUIDING UK

The Girl Guides are considering removing references to God and the Queen from their oath of allegiance as the organisation seeks to attract new volunteers.

Thousands of girls are on waiting lists to join the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides because of a lack of trained volunteers to help run events.

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 on the rise

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.

Adventurer and Chief Scout Bear Grylls with young Scouts
Adventurer and Chief Scout Bear Grylls with young Scouts Credit: Martyn Milner/The Scout Association/PA Wire

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Existing Scout Promise includes a 'duty to God' pledge

The existing Scout Promise contains a vow of allegiance to the God and the Queen .

It reads:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law."

Alternative versions allow Hindus and Buddhists to use the word "my Dharma" while Muslims can use the word "Allah".

Non UK citizens are permitted to replace the phrase "duty to the Queen" with "duty to the country in which I am now living".

Scouts commissioner: 'We have continued to evolve'

We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and religion will remain a key element of the Scouting programme. That will not change.

However, throughout our 105-year history, we have continued to evolve so that we remain relevant to communities across the UK.

We do that by regularly seeking the views of our members and we will use the information gathered by the consultation to help shape the future of scouting for the coming years."

– Wayne Bulpitt, The Scout Association's chief commissioner in the UK

Scouts consider move to welcome Atheists

Atheists could be welcomed into the Scout movement for the first time in 105 years, the Scout Association has said.

The movement, led by TV adventurer Bear Grylls, is launching a consultation to see if members would support an alternative Scout Promise for those who feel unable to pledge a "duty to God".

Scout
A consultation has been launched to see if Atheists could be welcomed into the Scout movement Credit: PA Wire

For more than 40 years, versions of the oath have existed for faith groups including Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, but this is the first time Scouts have considered an adaptation for atheists.

The proposed changes are designed to increase diversity in the movement and enable more young people and adults to join.

Leaders insist the existing Scout Promise - which also contains a vow of allegiance to the Queen - would continue to be used alongside alternative versions.

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