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  • Girl Guide group told to ditch God or be expelled.

    A girl guide group faces being thrown out of the national association after refusing to force members to drop God from the oath.
    Troop leaders have rejected new rules saying that the inclusion of God should not be compulsory but a matter of personal choice.
    But they have now been sent an ‘aggressive’ letter ordering them to back down or leave GirlGuiding UK at the end of the month. Critics branded the approach a ‘move for exclusion’.

    The Guiding Promise was altered earlier this year so that members now swear ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’ rather than the original ‘to love my God’.
    But Glynis Mackie, 55, who has been leading the 37th Newcastle Guide Unit in Jesmond for more than 25 years, said the new pledge ‘sidelined’ Christianity.
    Mrs Mackie, added: ‘This is an example of people not realising the importance of faith, of all faiths, in our community.
    'I would go as far as saying that it is an example of faith being sidelined in society.’

    ‘I imagine changing the pledge was intended to include more people, but what it is actually doing is excluding those who have faith.

    ‘I understand why an atheist might not want to make a promise to God, and that is fine by me, but it has to be up to the individual.’

    Mrs Mackie and the other leaders of the group slammed the new pledge as a ‘fridge magnet promise that doesn’t really mean anything’.

    But Chief Guide Gill Slocombe insisted the move ‘opened our arms to welcome even more girls and adults, of all faiths – and none’.
    The words ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’ have replaced ‘to love my God’, and the words ‘to serve the Queen and my community’ will replace ‘to serve the Queen and my country’.
    Girl Guiding’s chief commissioner in the North East has told the group their membership of the organisation will be ended on December 31.
    It means that the unit, which includes more than 100 girls in Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers from a variety of different faiths, will now have to meet as an independent group.
    She added: ‘This letter, which is surprisingly aggressive, says that we "will not use" the new Promise and that simply isn’t true.

    ‘We would use this new form of words but we do want the children to have the choice to say the old Promise if they want to.’

    Mrs Mackie wants Girl Guiding to take the same stance as the Scouts’ pledge, which says a member will ‘uphold our Scout values’ and can be taken by those who do not choose to vow to ‘do my duty to God’.

    She added: ‘They are trying to force us out of Girl Guiding with no process and with only three weeks’ notice. The girls are really incredibly angry and they just want their voices to be heard.’

    Chief Guide Gill Slocombe said: ‘Girl guiding is extremely sorry to hear of any Guide group leaving our organisation.

    ‘By changing the wording of our promise, after an extensive consultation with over 44,000 people, we have opened our arms to welcome even more girls and adults - of all faiths and none - who will benefit from all the fantastic things we do in girl guiding.

    ‘We hope the new wording will help us reach out to girls and women who might not have considered guiding before, so that even more girls can benefit from everything guiding can offer.’

    David Holloway, the vicar of Jesmond Parish Church, wrote in the church’s monthly newsletter: ‘The hard reality is that this new promise is, whether intentionally or not, a move for exclusion.’
    The changing of the Guide promise earlier this year sparked 839 official complaints from members amid fears of a split in the movement.

    In August, one troop in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, vowed to resist the change but was forced to back down by national leaders.

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  • #2
    When a take-it-or-leave-it option is put out there, there are those who will leave it. If there are those out there that take the Scout Law at face value and have chosen to live by it, I'm thinking this may be just a start of the exodus. This is a fundamental change in the scouting movement to something other than what it was originally intended to be.



    • #3
      Wait -- people here are now complaining about having to follow the rules or leave?

      Oh, I see. A different set of people are now being excluded.


      • #4
        I gotta agree. Why shouldn't they change their oath to include republicans who don't believe in the Queen? Their violating their conscience too. Why not just skip the oath and appeal to the broadest number of boys and girls?


        • #5
          Sounds like it is time to split. There are some fundamental principles that people value. Scouting without reverence or God is not scouting. Heck, the vast vast majority of charter orgs are churches. There's a reason churches sponsor scouts and not sporting groups as much.

          Time to split. BSA has it right. Reverence without dictating the specific faith components.

          To remove reverence would be the death of scouting.


          • #6
            Removing reverence is removing moral values. The result is turning a character development program into a camping program. A youth program cannot survive off the theme of camping, so Fred is exactly right. Removing reverence is the death of scouting. Barry


            • #7
              What I can't get my mind around is: Why would a non-religious person want to join a religious program? If they wish to make waves, dictate to the program what it should be, etc. are but a few of the reasons, however, they would need to be successful in their efforts to insure they wouldn't be hypocrites. But then being a hypocrite doesn't always stop many people from doing what they do.

              We get all bent out of shape over these issues and yet live with hypocrisy all the time. BSA gets demonized for being religious and so they take it on the chin, but Salvation Army doesn't. Go figure.



              • dcsimmons
                dcsimmons commented
                Editing a comment
                That'll be "Happy Holidays Mr. Scrooge" there jblake.

              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                Happy Holy-Days must really irk the non-religious to have to say even that much.


              • Papadaddy
                Papadaddy commented
                Editing a comment
                The Salvation Army hands out free stuff. That trumps everything.

            • #8
              "What I can't get my mind around is: Why would a non-religious person want to join a religious program?"

              Because it isn't, really. I'd bet that the number of kids wanting to join the BSA because it's a religious program is about zero.

              "BSA gets demonized for being religious and so they take it on the chin, but Salvation Army doesn't."

              No, the BSA gets criticized for excluding people and for inducing public schools to break the law, among other things.
              The Salvation Army gets criticized too; it looks like you didn't even bother to check.


              • #9
                Heres a radical solution for the Girl Guide Troop:Leave Girl Guiding UK, and Join the Scout Association.While they will have to accept boys As Scouting is a co-educational movement (should they wish to join them) they (soon ) will have the option to drop God, or to keep God should they wish to do so.


                • Peregrinator
                  Peregrinator commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Maybe they like not being co-ed.

              • #10
                It's interesting to see what's going on in the UK but I don't think it is relevant to the BSA. The percentage of the UK population that attends religious services on a regular basis is quite small. Given that, it's understandable why the Girl Guides are making the oath as broad as possible. It's probably accurate to say that Scouting and Guiding in the UK are outdoor youth programs with very little religious component.

                The National leaders for Guides have decided one oath only so the groups that don't like it have to change or leave. Hmmm...sounds familiar...


                • #11
                  Be aware that this report comes from the Daily Mail, a newspaper so right wing it makes Fox News look like a bunch of commies. Take everything you read from it with a massive pinch of salt. A few years ago there was a serial killer in the town of Ipswich, not far from Cambridge, was murdering prositutes. 5 young women were brutally murdered before he was caught. The Mail published an opinion piece describing the victims as "no great loss". A vile, revolting and frankly unforgiveable piece of journalism that the writer, Richard Littlejohn, should be ashamed of. I suspect that the facts of this case are a long way from what was published.


                  • #12
                    Well since you are there Cambridge, enlighten us of the Daily Mails inaccuracie's. Barry


                    • Cambridgeskip
                      Cambridgeskip commented
                      Editing a comment
                      To be honest I don't know!

                      It's certainly true that the Girl Guides have changed their Promise. It's also though the case that it is not intended to exclude religion from the movement, they simply wanted one promise that could include all beliefs. Guides are still encouraged to explore their own beliefs and those of others.

                      Religion has NOT been excluded.

                      In terms of the facts of the case I am not familiar with the disciplinary process within Girl Guides.

                      What I am familiar with though is the editorial attitude of the Daily Mail towards scouting and guiding which generally tries to make out that BP would be spinning in his grave. I am also familiar with the persistent bias and inaccuracies that the Daily Mail repeatedly prints on pretty much every subject you can imagine.

                      Given this I simply don't believe anything published by them.

                      Take a look at this blog for some of the best examples of their made up nonsense