Girl Guide Promise Change

(40 Posts)
technodad Wed 19-Jun-13 07:33:24

Looks like girl guides will no longer need to promise to "love their god" when they join.

This is great step by the Girl Guides to prove they are not discriminatory any more.

The Scouts next???

Ragwort Wed 19-Jun-13 07:38:30

This is under review by the Scout Association.

It is interesting to note one of the comments in the article stating that it is hard to recruit leaders and one of the reasons is becuase of having to make the promise.

I really hope that this is true and that lots more people will volunteer as both Guides and Scouts are desperately short of Leaders, however, call me a cynic if you like but I doubt hundreds of new Leaders will be offering their time and skills hmm.

MirandaWest Wed 19-Jun-13 10:18:34

I just got an email about this and was wondering if a thread had been started.

Tbh I doubt it will make any difference to the number of leaders - making a promise is not the hard part - the time and effort it takes up is.

niminypiminy Wed 19-Jun-13 10:19:40

Yes, I am waiting with bated breath to see a huge influx of secularist campaigners rushing to volunteer as Scout Leaders <drums fingers, whistles>

technodad Wed 19-Jun-13 21:08:48

Why should a group of people who have been actively discriminated against for decades by these associations be banging their door down to volunteer?

Maybe they are changing their rules for the wrong reason. Surely they should be changing their policy to be inclusive of all children and to set a good example to society.

niminypiminy Wed 19-Jun-13 21:19:26

Yes, those poor atheists, longing for decades to help out at Scouts but unable to do so because they couldn't bring themselves to utter the promise. And their poor children, desperate to join but prevented because of their parents' hobbyhorse principles.

Comfyseat Wed 19-Jun-13 21:27:53

I think it is great they have stopped discriminating against aethiests
I doubt there will be an avalanche of aethiests, but bit by bit there will be more kids and a few more helpers.

Not sure where the sarcasm is from here...
Lots of people who believe in all sorts of gods don't help out, so I suspect there will be a few aethiests who help and many more who don't
It's people innit

Comfyseat Wed 19-Jun-13 21:30:41

Fwiw I didn't want my kids to go to cubs and scouts because I felt as aethiests that we weren't welcome.
Later, when my older son asked to go, I explained about the promise and he didn't understand thst he should lie about the god thing. He's a bit literal and he won't lie so be refused to go.

So I think it's great!
Equality now!

technodad Wed 19-Jun-13 21:40:42


I am not sure what your problem is!

Would you allow your DCs go to a club where they had to lie about being Christian to join and where that had to promise something they were unwilling and unable to undertake.

I suspect not.

Because I am atheist you call it my "hobbyhorse", but for you it is a deeply held belief, so somehow OK.

Double standards!

Comfyseat Wed 19-Jun-13 22:04:46

GG and scouts had to allow Muslims other religions in a while ago and the promise changed to "loving god" to "loving my god"
So thst left aethiests out.
Anyone with a faith was allowed in becuAse it's illegal to discriminate against people for their beliefs.

However, being aethiest is to have no belief so they could discrjminitate against us.

But it seems they realise they can't get away with it any longer and have agreed to let aethiests in now.

niminypiminy Wed 19-Jun-13 22:11:03

Well, you know, when I was a Guide I took the promise, and had no belief in God, being brought up in a good atheist family. But I don't remember that it was ever a point of principle for me or for my family. (Mind you, I was a crap Guide and didn't last very long, but it really had nothing to do with the promise, it was more to do with being hopeless at knots and team games.)

I find it interesting that so much ire is being directed at this. Why are people quite so steamed up about it? And I really do wonder how many people will now find that they can perfectly happily send their children to Guides,or Scouts or whatever, and will suddenly be ready to volunteer as leaders.

And, of course, there has always been the Woodcraft Folk for those unable to stomach Scouts, Guides and the like. It's not as if Scouts etc were compulsory, and there was not alternative. But it's the point of principle, innit -- regardless of how much adults or children actually want to participate.

technodad Wed 19-Jun-13 22:13:40

And what is wrong with having principles and integrity?

Comfyseat Wed 19-Jun-13 22:19:14

I suspect it's because the governemnt has offered these organisations money to expand ( in inner cities- after the riots) and they obvs can't give money to people who discriminate against others...

I've been cross abiut it for yrs tbh.
It's not that there is an alternative, or that people do or don't help out, it's about saying that it's ok to discriminate against people .
The other stuff is smoke and mirrors

niminypiminy Wed 19-Jun-13 22:23:27

Nothing. But it's interesting to see where people's sense of their integrity lies. Stand on your principle not to have to make a promise to love God if that's what's so important to you. Or undertake training, have a CRB check, give up your time to be a Scout leader. Or both. What I started out by saying was I wonder how many of those who think this is a great victory will now follow through by putting their principles into action and volunteering?

technodad Wed 19-Jun-13 22:34:49

So if I campaign against racism, do I have to have an anti-Michael-Jackson operation? If I agree with feminism, do I have to have a sex change? If I think gay marriage is a great idea, do I have to move to Brighton?

Why do I have to join the guides or Scouts just because I might campaign to stop their discrimination?

I can't be a post-op, black, gay guide leader, I just don't have time in my life for all that! I am too busy living in trees in the jungle eating bananas after my recent support for WWF.


Although I am now a Christian, as a child and young teenager I was not an active Christian, although I was a theist. At age 11 or so I went along to the Woodcraft Folk. Which was a lot of fun and was really because my cousins sent.

My daughter now goes to Brownies and if there were the option to go to the Girls Brigade locally, which is a more overt Christian group for girls, I would choose that. But there is, as far as I know, no Girls Brigade and no Woodcraft Folk in my area.

My point is really that if lots of parents objected to any slight religious content or religious requirement in the Guides or Scouts could they not join a totally secular group and start one up? Just as if I objected to the lack of religious content in the Brownies then I could try and start a girls brigade group in my area.

If Guides want to change their rules as to who can join it is fine by me.

I can see why parents might feel unhappy about the fact their children could not get into the local Scouts etc and in some ways I feel the requirement is not really worth so much. However, for me what may be worth more is the involvement in local activities like the Christmas Christingle service. What if atheists objected to this being on list of activities?

According to dear old Wickipedia there are already some Scout groups that omit the promise to God anyway...

Under the heading 'Non-WOSM Scouting'

"Scout sections that follow traditional Scouting, such as Baden-Powell Scouts within the World Federation of Independent Scouts, use several promises including the original Scout promise above that includes the reference to God.[8] Some, however, for example the 1st Tarrant Scout Group in Fort Worth, Texas use a blend of the original promise[9] and the "Outlander Promise" which, "according to tradition", B-P wrote for Scouts that had to omit the reference to God or a monarch for reasons of conscience."

Comfyseat Wed 19-Jun-13 23:00:40

Well, if more of the god loving folk volunteered to help I suspect there wouldn't be this need to have the aethiests fill in the gaps...

I don't reay understand where you are coming from, ninny.
I think that it is a good thing thst the discrimination has stopped, because discrimination is t very nice or moral or tolerant.
But I'm not going to go and help out as I still don't want to send my kids ( boys anyway)
I am a trustee of a charity and have worked as paid staff and voluntarily in the charity sector for 20 yrs so I don't feel the need to prove anything more to you either

Techno me and the cat are laughing our silly arses off at your tree-hugging-banana (surely it should be bamboo eating-pandas are n danger) shananagins!

DizzyPurple Wed 19-Jun-13 23:14:50

There are other groups out here for kids to go to. If you object to the principles of one, go find something else! I don't see that it's discrimination having "love my God" in there. The world, well the UK is becoming so anti Christianity it drives me mad. If it were eg Muslim groups people wouldn't feel the need to get so het up they would just accept 'that's a Muslim group, I am not Muslim I'll go elsewhere. ' Why is Anything even vaguely Christian fair game for all the 'anti' people??

GrimmaTheNome Wed 19-Jun-13 23:48:36

>There are other groups out here for kids to go to.

not in a lot of areas there aren't. Well, there might be Girls' Brigade, but that really is a Christian organisation - which doesn't get flak because it doesn't pretend inclusivity. That was the problem with the Scouts/Guides - they claimed to be inclusive but then put this stumbling block of an oath in the way.

Anyway, this is good news for the children smile

Comfyseat Thu 20-Jun-13 05:56:25

Guides and scouts include people of faith, not just Christians.
I suspect they included Muslims, Jews, Hindus etc becuSe it is illegal to discriminate against people becuSe if their religion.
It is not illegal to discriminate due to lack of religion but it is unpalatable

Insert the word jew for aethiest and then argue that in this day and age that it's ok to say "this type of child can come to our group, but that child can't"

It's not abiut how many other groups are available, it's about being right and fair and not discriminating against certain parts of the community

Comfyseat Thu 20-Jun-13 05:58:54

I think once they decided to open it up to non Christians, they out themselves into a really odd place where they really did exclude a section if the community becuAse of very spurious reasons.

If they wanted to keep aethiests out, they should never have let Muslims etc in

crescentmoon Thu 20-Jun-13 07:40:24

What a strange comment: if they wanted to keep atheists out they should never have let muslims in. The oath was to God not to Jesus so Muslims wouldn't have had a problem with it. Whether the wording said 'to God' or 'to my God'.

What was the wording of the scouts promise in countries like France/united states that are fiercely republican/anti monarchial before this change. Which queen / king would they have sworn to?

SineOfTheTimes Thu 20-Jun-13 07:48:05

Guide Leader (and Christian) here!

I'm delighted by the new Promise. Someone in the discussion surrounding it said "We're not getting God out, we're letting everyone else in" which I feel sums it up really well.

Girlguiding has never been a Christian organisation. When the Promise last changed in 1994 to "love my God" it was explained that this was YOUR God (and other names for God could be substituted).

However, many of our members - perhaps especially in Guides and The Senior Section - are at a point where they are questioning their faith or beliefs. Some of them have said that they don't know whether they believe in God or not, or they do not believe in God, and therefore felt very uncomfortable making the Promise.

I do know girls and potential Leaders who haven't wanted to make the Promise and who now will be making it.

Many of us will find that our beliefs change and develop through our lives. This wording means that we can continue to support girls and young women to develop spiritually whilst explicitly acknowledging this.

This comes after a long period of consultation, open to all Girlguiding members and members of the public. We had several very thoughtful discussions at Guides, and encouraged all of our girls to contribute to this process.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what my girls think, too!

BumbleBee2011 Thu 20-Jun-13 10:39:14

Sine - as another Guide leader I totally agree. I can't wait to start enrolling new starters in September with the new wording, and talking it through with our Guides (all of whom took part in the consultation, which was brilliant).

I personally am a church-goer but felt very uncomfortable making my promise with the old wording, I was joining a Women's organisation not a Christian one so it seemed a bit inappropriate.

I know a few ppl who view(ed) Guiding/Scouting as seemingly white Christian paramilitary groups, and used the old promise to back this up confused Now I'm thinking - brilliant! I'm going to ask these same people if they'd like to come and help me out, where before I did feel like they had a point! wink

Comfyseat Thu 20-Jun-13 18:41:56

I think by letting other religions IN then the argument that it is a Christian organisation was lost.
It became a multifaith organisation......

And excluded only one section of the community- aethiests.

Which is entirely legal but really not Very Nice and not very "inclusive"

I was making the point that it can't be called a Christian organisation, and if you want to defend it as such, you have to exclude Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc as well as aethiests.
you can't have it both ways!

Waterbrook Fri 21-Jun-13 09:42:47

1) guiding uk is a voluntary organisation, it is not compulsory for anyone to join so they have a right to decide on their entry requirements, no one has a right to assume they can join.
2) Guiding uk is choosing to be as open as possible to those who would like to join
3)as sineofthetimes points out girls may be at a point in their development where it is appropriate for them to be questioning their received beliefs and should be allowed to maintain their integrity when joining the movement.
4)Guiding uk widely consulted their members and broadened this to included interested members of the public
5) I don't think the promise is right I think professionals in faith development and Religious Education should have been consulted.
6)I think a promise to grow in their understanding of what it means to hold a religious faith would be appropriate.

technodad Fri 21-Jun-13 11:06:18

Equally they should have consulted scientific education professionals.

Waterbrook makes a really good point that guides are at the age when they are more than likely to be entering the questioning stage of faith. Moving away from a child like stage of faith is postive and to be welcomed and supported as a young person matures and develops.

BumbleBee2011 Fri 21-Jun-13 11:48:13

I agree to some extent Waterbrook, but the old promise did make the movement sound like a religious organisation, which it isn't. It's much more about exploring themes such as personal development and civic responsibility, and while there are of course significant overlaps, that's not the same thing to me.

If I want my daughters to learn about religion I will send them to church or to an interfaith group set up for that purpose.

CallOfTheRiled Fri 21-Jun-13 21:55:29

If they really want it to be a promise everyone can make, they could also remove the part about serving the Queen, which disturbs many too!

technodad Sat 22-Jun-13 07:17:33

That is fair enough. Although There is at least some evidence that the Queen exists grin.

Comfyseat Sat 22-Jun-13 19:46:16

I take another point of view.

One of the deep seated beliefs of all of the religions is tolerance -
Do We all believe thst inclusion is a good thing? That you must not discriminate or treat people differently because of what they believe...
Is that an acceptable way for society to behave?

I think it is.

But the guides used to and the scouts definitely still discriminate against a section of the community. They have allowed different faiths in but they say no to one action if the community.

I think that is wrong, morally wrong and it sends a nasty message out from the organisation

CallOfTheRiled Sat 22-Jun-13 21:01:10

But, the Guide Movement is not being inclusive.They are still discriminating and treating people differently according to their beliefs; they are discriminating against Republicans. I do not want to promise to serve the Queen. I think that is morally wrong.
If their aim is to be totally inclusive, then their promise needs to be much broader. But I am not actually convinced their aim was to be inclusive!

Comfyseat Sat 22-Jun-13 23:00:39

Lol, yes, you are right.
I forgot abiut the queen!


woollyjo Mon 24-Jun-13 13:12:35

I felt I couldn't get my children or myself involved in brownies or guides because of the the underlying churchiness of it as I would have felt fraud (not believing a bit of it myself) in the same way that I wouldn't have attended a church toddler group.

I feel this opens the door for my girls and me to get involved in a movement which promotes activity and adventure for girls where we wouldn't have before.

TheFallenNinja Mon 24-Jun-13 15:19:54

Am I wrong in thinking that has been done to simply avoid the inevitable litigation?

BumbleBee2011 Mon 24-Jun-13 17:24:56

I would say not, the consultation involved all members so if they'd said "yes please keep the word God in" that's what would've happened.

Would be interesting to know all the stats about feedback actually.

JoTheUnsure Mon 24-Jun-13 17:38:05

My DS and I are devout atheists and he's more than happy at Cubs (and spent year in Beavers).

I am a regular helper at Cub meetings (in the local church), despite my personal beliefs...

We've agreed with the group that 'god' for us means 'humanity'.

Personally I'd prefer it if they remove the 'god' reference but it hasn't stopped us joining in.

CallOfTheRiled Mon 24-Jun-13 18:55:29

The Sunday Times said that 'Scouts will still be allowed to pledge to do their " duty to God" as part of the movement's promise, but under the planned changes atheist members will be allowed to leave out the religious element. The exact wording of the atheist promise will be decided in the coming months.'

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