God and country ditched in Guides and Brownies’ promise

Thu, 20 Jun 2013

Guides will no longer promise to serve God – instead pledging to be “true to myself and develop my beliefs”, in a move criticised for pandering to individualism and secular humanist ideas.

The change, which applies to the Brownie promise as well, will also see girls saying they will serve “my community”, rather than “my country”.

Critics said the change “sounds like jargon from a consumerist self-help manual”, and was “worryingly relativistic”.

‘All faiths’

The pledge retains the promise to “serve the Queen”.

Girlguiding UK made the change after a consultation and say they hope the new promise will “allow all girls – of all faiths and none – to understand and feel proud of their commitment”.

But Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said the new promise was “completely at odds with the true ethos of the Guiding organisation which was set up to encourage belief in God and a corporate identity, not about individualism but to understand what it really is to be part of a community”.

Humanist

Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley criticised the new pledge for being relativistic, and said the changes “reflect the triumph of a crass kind of individualism”.

David Landrum, from the Evangelical Alliance, said: “No doubt, the Girls Brigade will be the main beneficiaries from this erroneous decision, because as the growing poplularity of faith schools attests, parents will always seek to provide religious rather than secular humanist values for their children.”

The change was welcomed by both the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association.

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