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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Last chance to take part in Girl Guides consultation on the Promise

Posted: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:04

Last chance to take part in Girl Guides consultation on the Promise

The Girl Guides consultation to discuss the wording of its Promise closes on Sunday 3 March.

Currently, girls wishing to become fully-fledged Guides promise to do their best, love "my God", serve "the Queen and country" and keep the Guide law. But Girlguiding UK has said an increasing number of girls and volunteers do not identify with the current oath. The UK's leading charity for girls and young women says it is keen to ensure Guides can believe in the words they say.

The 'essence of spirituality' section of the consultation questionnaire sets out a number of possible alternatives to "love my God. These include "Be true to my beliefs" and "Search for the meaning in my life", amongst others.

The questionnaire also considers whether the reference to the Queen should be replaced with a commitment to a Guide's community or country.

The consultation is open to everyone and Girlguiding UK says it is particularly keen to hear from parents, potential members, volunteers and supporters. More than 30,000 people have so far responded.

Unlike the Scouts, which recently consulted on the introduction of an alternative atheist oath, the Guides are considering replacing their existing oath with a secular version that can be used by all girls wishing to take the Promise.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said: "The introduction of one secular Promise for all would be a hugely positive and welcome development.

"Not only are young people more likely to be non-religious, they also appear to be more likely to adopt a secular outlook on life. Girlguiding UK's own research into the attitudes and opinions of girls aged 7 to 21 across the UK has found a massive 70% of them agree that religious belief should be personal, and should not affect public issues such as education or politics.

"This clearly shows that a secular Promise, without reference to religion and belief, and relevant to all young girls and potential leaders, is the most appropriate way forward. We hope as many secularists as possible take part in this consultation to send a very clear signal that girlguiding should be fully inclusive and equally welcoming to all girls."

Get involved!
The short questionnaire takes just a few minutes to complete. Please take part and encourage Girlguiding UK to adopt one secular Promise for all.

Girlguiding members aged 14 or over can access the survey here.

Non-members wanting to take part in the consultation can do so here.

Surveys for the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides sections can be found on their websites.

A draft version of the NSS response can be found here

Tags: Girl Guides