Girl Guides drop God from pledge – put “be true to myself”

Girl Guides drop God from pledge – put “be true to myself”

The Girl Guides are to drop references to “God” and “country” from their traditional pledge but are to retain a public expression of allegiance to the Queen.

In one of the biggest changes in the organisation’s 103-year history, the promise to “love my God” is to be replaced with a more individualistic pledge to “be true to myself” and to “develop my beliefs”.

And a patriotic commitment to serving their country is to become one to the “community” in the oath taken by Brownies and Guides when they join the organisation.

But in a consultation which attracted almost 44,000 responses Guides made clear that they wanted to retain a public expression of allegiance to the Queen, who is also their patron.

A vow to “help other people” and to “do my best” are also to remain in the new promise, which will take effect from September.

It is not the first time that the organisation, founded in 1909 under the leadership of Agnes Baden-Powell, sister of Robert Baden-Powell, the creator of the Scouting movement, has altered the wording of its traditional promise over the last century but it is by far the most radical change.

The rethink followed the appointment of the group’s new chief executive, Julie Bentley, the former head of The Family Planning Association, who described the Guides as “the ultimate feminist organisation”.

Gill Slocombe, the Chief Guide, said the changes would make the promise less “confusing” and easier for the organisation’s 550,000 members to take with sincerity.

“I honestly think the Baden-Powells would have approved, they were so free thinking and good at thinking in terms of people’s needs,” she said.

“I don’t know whether it is radical I just think it is fantastic that our members have come up with a promise that they feel they can confidently say and feel that they can keep.”

She said she was also “delighted” that, despite the reference to God being dropped, there would still be a spiritual dimension to the promise and that the Queen would continue to be a focus of unity.

Among responses to the consultation, one young girl wrote that she felt like she was “lying to the Brownies” by making a promise to a God in whom she did not believe.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said: “By omitting any explicit mention of God or religion the Guide Association has grasped the opportunity to make itself truly inclusive and relevant to the reality of 21st century Britain.

“The new secular promise can now be meaningful and relevant to all guides and potential leaders, whatever their beliefs – and sends a clear signal that Girlguiding is equally welcoming to all girls.”

But Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: “It sounds like jargon from a consumerist self-help manual 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.”

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

The Telegram

Below is the pledge that in Zambia girl Guides make:Guide-pictures-619

Promise:

I promise that I will do my best:
To serve God,
To serve my country and other people, and
To keep the Guide Law.

Lechwe Guide Promise

I promise that I will do my best:
To serve God,
To serve my country and other people, and
To keep the Lechwe Guide Law.

Law:

Girl Guide Law

1 A Guide is to be trusted.

2 A Guide is loyal.

3 A Guide is helpful.

4 A Guide is a friend to all and a sister to all Guides.

5 A Guide considers other people.

6 A Guide is kind to animals and respects all living things.

7 A Guide is obedient.

8 A Guide is cheerful and brave, even in difficulties.

9 A Guide is thrifty.

10 A Guide controls herself in all she thinks, says and does.

Lechwe Guide Law

A Lechwe is truthful, obedient and cheerful.

A Lechwe thinks of others before herself.

 

Motto:

 

Girl Guide Motto – Be Prepared

Lechwe Guide Motto – Wide Awake

 

Age groups:

 

Guide Cadet 18+

Ranger 14-18

Guide 11-15

Lechwe Guide 5-11

Share this post