Changing the Girl Guide promise to remove reference to God is “nothing other than secular totalitarianism”, a columnist has said.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips said the oath which replaces “love my God” with a pledge to “be true to myself” is now “actively discriminatory” against Christians.
In June this year Girl Guiding UK adopted a secular promise for the first time since the movement began in 1910.
Melanie Phillips said the move by Girl Guiding UK appears to be “just a crude and shallow attempt by the Guiding establishment to rebrand itself as modern, by dumping timeless values”.
She added that the “true intention” of the movement’s leader is to exclude Christians.
Gill Slocombe, the Chief Guide, said all Guide groups need to accept the change and signaled that any rebels may be excluded from the movement.
Melanie Phillips said, “this movement is now actively discriminating against those who wish to proclaim the continuation of those religious values at its own core”.
“Having dumped God and country altogether, it is now actually forbidding Guides — on pain of excommunication — to promise to serve anything beyond themselves. Is this not beyond perverse?”
A group of Guide leaders in Harrogate have rebelled, saying they will give girls the option of using the traditional oath.
Bishop Nazir-Ali backed the group in Harrogate who want to continue referring to God in the Guide promise, saying they should be supported if Girl Guiding UK believe in “diversity”.
Melanie Phillips said it was no surprise to her to discover that the Guides’ chief executive, Julie Bentley, formerly headed the Family Planning Association, an abortion and contraception group.
The columnist said Julia Bentley is bowing to “political correctness”, which “supplants traditional morality and the concepts of right and wrong, truth and lies by a creed which says in effect, ‘Whatever is right for you is right’.”
She said: “It is a promise for a narcissistic, self-centred and morally vacuous age.”