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Girl Guides from North warned they risk being expelled from the movement after refusing to drop ‘God’ from their traditional promise.

(23 Posts)
msmiggins Sat 28-Dec-13 17:38:57

Given the militaristic history of the Guiding movement it comes as no surprise that children had to promise to God and King.

I don't think it's appropriate for chldren to do either- why do they have to make a promise at all?

Housemum Sat 28-Dec-13 13:54:56

Wish they had kept the old promise but allowed alternatives - each Rainbow/Brownie/Guide making the Promise that suits them (or their family for the younger ones). After all, if you serve on a jury or are a witness, while the tradition is to swear to God on a Bible, you are allowed to swear to your own God on whatever text is appropriate or make a promise if you are atheist.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 21-Dec-13 18:35:22

Mentioning god in the promise immediately excludes all non religious and all faiths with other names for their deity/deities. But the Christians are fine with that. But make it more inclusive so that everyone can be involved and the Christians get up on their high horse. Seriously? What's their problem? The prejudice here is on the side of the Christians and it must stop. It's disgusting behaviour.

zulubump Thu 19-Dec-13 14:58:05

Yes, good points Hettie and Errol. It doesn't seem that hard for atheists and people of faith to agree on pragmatic solutions! I think that having alternative promises like the scouts or, as Errol says, have everyone say the new promise but have an add-on for people with a faith, would make most people happy. Seems crazy how this particular situation has reached the point of the unit being threatened with being thrown out!

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Dec-13 08:27:50

>I think that girls who are Christians objected to the "be true to myself" bit. The point of Christianity being to deny self and live for Christ (not been a Christian long, this is what I understand?!)

I don't see how 'be true to myself' is objectionable - if you define yourself as someone who lives for Christ then being true to yourself is to do that.

A pragmatic solution might have been for everyone to make the new promise but for the leader to show them the original and suggest that anyone who wished so could also say that one. There's surely no prohibition on that?

HettiePetal Thu 19-Dec-13 07:38:32

I don't know that "developing beliefs" implies religion or spirituality.

We all have beliefs, they are not the preserve of the faithful.

HettiePetal Thu 19-Dec-13 07:35:14

HettiePetal I think the point is that GirlGuiding is not offering an "alternative" pledge. God has been dropped entirely

Erm, yes. What I meant was that the initial campaign (such as it was) was to have an alternative pledge that could be used alongside the traditional one for those who didn't believe.

As someone else said, they've thrown the baby out with the bathwater somewhat.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 18-Dec-13 22:08:22

The Scouts have an official promise, which is
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

They then have several possible variations, to accommodate Scouts of different faiths - e.g. different names for God. They also recently introduced an atheist version: "On my honour I promise that I will do my best to uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law."

It is up to the unit leader to choose the most appropriate version for each scout.

msmiggins Wed 18-Dec-13 21:44:33

zulubumb- good pooints, "developing beliefs" does rather imply that the girls will be working towards having some religion.
Not very inclusive of those who are "working towards" non-belief, ie athiests. Many girls won't be "developing beliefs" as such.

zulubump Wed 18-Dec-13 21:35:07

Thanks for all your comments. I think it would be better to have a choice. So do the scouts have two promises they can choose from?

Back and Errol, I know of one of the girls in the unit (not wanting to give too much personal info away) and know a bit about the church (I don't live in the area, but have links). I think the article fairly represents what has happened - that Mrs Mackie wanted to give the girls a choice. And I know many of the girls would have felt strongly about the wording of the promise. It's not just the leader kicking up a fuss.

mrsmiggins - agree that "developing beliefs" is very vague. Certainly at rainbows and maybe brownies I don't think it would mean much to them. Maybe guides are at the stage where they can start to take some responsibility for questioning/reading/thinking to work out what they believe.

Oh and WaitingforPeterWimsey, I think that girls who are Christians objected to the "be true to myself" bit. The point of Christianity being to deny self and live for Christ (not been a Christian long, this is what I understand?!)

Sarahplane Wed 18-Dec-13 19:49:55

I think that the girls should be allowed to choose individually, it doesn't sound like the guide movement is throwing out individual girls for saying the old promise more like the leaders seem to be making a protest about it. How would they even know what each girl was saying if the leaders weren't making a point of it.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Dec-13 19:43:56

It would have been better to have a choice as the scouts have done, but I think this leader is making the girls suffer for something they probably wouldn't have been too bothered about - it doesn't seem that girls in other groups have been overly upset.

msmiggins Wed 18-Dec-13 19:39:41

I don't get the "developing beliefs" part- what does that mean exactly? That a brownie should be working towards becoming religious in some way? Or becoming excited about Santa? It's quite meaningless.

Waswondering Wed 18-Dec-13 19:35:46

I think the new promise is very bland and agree it's a shame they didn't offer two versions.

Dd made her promise last month, using the new version. She would have made a considered choice re promising about faith, had this been available.

tallulah Wed 18-Dec-13 19:30:05

DD came home from Rainbows with the new Promise. She is 6 years old and not impressed with the change. Neither am I; it is so wishy-washy. "Developing beliefs" is probably OK for older children, but 6 year olds? They believe what they are told to.

BackOnlyBriefly Wed 18-Dec-13 19:19:32

It's wrong to force it when there's no need to. A choice is fine as long as there's no discrimination against those who use either the new oath or the old one.

I'd like to have been there to see what was actually said because that's a big step to take if Mrs Mackie really did just want to give them a choice and they are claiming she refused to use it at all.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Wed 18-Dec-13 19:17:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 18-Dec-13 19:07:31

HettiePetal I think the point is that GirlGuiding is not offering an "alternative" pledge. God has been dropped entirely.

Scouting, on the other hand, has brought in an atheist alternative to sit alongside the traditional promise. Which is what the Guide leader in the news article says she would also prefer.

I sympathise with her - the new Guide promise is so wishy-washy as to be practically meaningless to everybody - regardless of their stance on God.

technodad Wed 18-Dec-13 19:03:01

This seems silly to me. In an attempt to become inclusive, the guides have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Surely, if swearing to ones god makes the oath more meaningful to an individual, it should be accepted, as long as it doesn't pressure others to do something that they are not comfortable.

That said, since the new pledge is inclusive of all faiths (and almost recognises the idea of no faith), so their protest is a little weak.

msmiggins Wed 18-Dec-13 17:21:39

I agree= my DD left the Brownies because she didn't want to make a promise to god.
She loved the few weeks she went but felt that her promises were too special to give without meaning them with her heart.

She was 8 years old.

HettiePetal Wed 18-Dec-13 15:46:41


The whole point was to have an alternative, equally valid pledge if you didn't happen to be a believer.

Why not let each child pick the pledge they want to use?

capsium Wed 18-Dec-13 13:16:24

I think they should be allowed to choose individually, the vow which is most meaningful to them (old or new version).

zulubump Wed 18-Dec-13 13:10:56

I'm interested to know what people think of this. I know there were a few discussion threads on here a while ago about the new promise. I think many brownie/guide leaders expressed positive opinions about the new promise to "be faithful to myself and develop my beliefs". My dd is in rainbows and it's not something I'd thought about a great deal. But I am saddened to think that girls in the guiding movement are now not allowed to make their promises to God.

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