UK Girl Guides and Boy Scouts consider oath for atheists


UK Boy Scouts and Girl Guides are considering development of an oath for atheist scouts and guides according to The Guardian:

Since 1908, when Robert Baden-Powell laid down the rules for his nascent movement in Scouting for Boys, new Scouts and Guides have made the traditional three-finger salute and promised to not just help others but remain loyal to a deity or higher power. Now, for the first time, the self-professed godless could also be welcome.

The Scout Association has launched a consultation to gauge support among members for an alternate atheist Scout promise, removing the invocation of a deity. At the same time, the Guide Association, the parallel movement which began two years later, is to launch a consultation about its very similar promise, with views sought on all parts of the wording from early January.

The current version of the Scout promise 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.”

The reference to God is deemed usable for most religions, although there have been options – such as Allah for Muslims or “my Dharma” for Buddhists – for more than 40 years. Those in other countries promise duty to their own nation or monarch.

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