Scouts follow Girl Guides by offering an alternative to God oath
Emily Dugan is Social Affais Editor for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards. Emily is on sabbatical until March 2015
Social Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 08 October 2013
The Scout Association has launched an alternative godless version of its oath in a bid to be more welcoming to young atheists – but was criticised by some secularists for not going far enough.
From January this year, new recruits who are squeamish about promising a “duty to God” will be given the option to swear that they will “uphold Scout values”. The changes also mean that Scout leaders, who previously had to be religious themselves, no longer need to be part of any faith.
Wayne Bulpitt, UK chief commissioner for the Scout Movement, said the reform “signifies the determination [of the movement] to become truly inclusive and relevant to all sections of society that it serves.”
But he added: “We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and beliefs remains a key element of the Scouting Programme.”
Some campaigners said the decision was unsatisfactory, as the ‘core’ Scout Promise that refers to “duty to God” will apply for most new members.
The compromise position means the Scouts will no longer keep step with the Girl Guides, who announced they would expunge any mention of God from their oath in August.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “It’s not very brave of them to have gone down this route, rather than what the Girl Guides did, which was have the guts to see it through and take religion out of the promise altogether.”
Sanderson said the Girl Guides’ approach was “infinitely superior” because it “relieves young people of having to make a decision about what they believe at a time in their lives when maybe they haven’t decided.”
Alternative versions of the oath have existed for other faiths for almost 50 years, but this is the first promise which cuts out all religious belief.
British Humanist Association chief executive, Andrew Copson, said: “In taking the progressive step of welcoming non-religious people of good conscience, they have shown that they genuinely wish to be a movement open to all.”
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...