God vow dropped from Girlguiding UK promise

Brownies The reference to God has been part of the Girlguiding Promise since the organisation was founded

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Girls will no longer have to pledge their devotion to God when they join the Guides and Brownies in the UK.

It comes after a consultation found a new Girlguiding UK promise was needed to include "more explicitly" the non-religious and those of other faiths.

They currently vow to "to love my God, to serve my Queen and my country".

The new oath drops the reference for the first time since Guides began in 1910 and will see them promise to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs".

The revised wording from September will also see members of the 540,000-strong organisation promise "to serve the Queen and my community".

Guides promise from September 2013

I promise that I will do my best

To be true to myself and develop my beliefs

To serve the Queen and my community

To help other people


To keep the Guide (Brownie) law

The consultation earlier this year involved nearly 44,000 Girlguiding UK members and non-members.

Chief Guide Gill Slocombe said: "Guiding has always been somewhere that all girls can develop their beliefs and moral framework, both inside and outside the context of a formal religion.

"However, we knew that some people found our promise confusing on this point and that it discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us.

"Guiding believes in having one promise that is a clear statement of our core values for all our members to commit to. We hope that our new promise will allow all girls - of all faiths and none - to understand and feel proud of their commitment."

The promise has been changed 11 times in the organisation's history, most recently in 1994 when the long-standing phrase duty to God" became "to love my God" and "serve the Queen" was supplemented with "and my country".

First Guides promise: September 1910

On my honour I promise that I will do my best

To do my duty to God and the King

To help others at all times

To obey the Guide Law

The British Humanist Association (BHA), which gave a response to the consultation, welcomed the change, noting it was the first version of the oath to "open guiding up fully to non-religious girls".

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: "The new promise is about personal integrity and ongoing and active self-reflection, both of which sit well alongside a sense of responsibility to others and to the community."

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 Church of England was among the groups which had urged Girlguiding UK to keep the reference to God in the promise.

In December last year, the UK Scout Association announced its own consultation to see if its members would support an alternative Scout Promise for atheists, who are unwilling to pledge a "duty to God".

And in July 2012, the Girl Guides in Australia dropped their allegiance to both God and the Queen, agreeing to serve their community and be true to themselves instead.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    I can think of no philosophy more self centred than that of the christian faith. It's all about personal salvation. If I do this then I will go to heaven.

    To be 'true unto oneself' transcends religion and opens the door for a much higher moral standard than that offered by any form of religion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    I do feel that the most zealous of belief systems these days is athiesm. "I dont believe so I will make damm sure you dont believe either".Perhaps faith does not play a part in the modern world. Cant say it makes it a better place though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    'and develop my beliefs'
    ...however radical they may be.
    ...guides and brownies becoming extremists.

  • Comment number 306.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Philip Iszatt
    3 Hours ago

    'there is no physical interface between the mind and the brain'

    Well that comment takes the biscuit for religiously motivated naivete. Though it may be proof of it's own validity...

    As a humanist I acknowledge the right of others to believe what they will, as their conscience and reason dictate even if it is logically flawed.

    This was just funny.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    I applaud the Guides on their intentions, as any move to being more inclusive is always a positive step. I wonder why some people would take offence to the phrase “true to myself”? If you believe in god, but you decide to ignore that belief, then you are not being true to yourself. Similarly, if you don't believe in god. We should all be true to ourselves! Are you pretending to believe in god?

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    "Religion has no place in Schools, Parliaments, Hospitals!""
    "Ban religion!"
    "Religion has no place in the advancement of science!"

    I hear people cry.... Constantly (especially here in threads that involve religion.)

    Do you know who Gregor Mendel was? The fellow that drew up the first concepts of genetic heredity in 1865.

    He was a Austrian Augustinian monk.

    Ironic isn't it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    As an atheist it doesn't bother me that the Guide and Scout promise includes a reference to god : it's their club so they should be allowed to make the rules. However the old promise was illogical - girls who believe in mutually exclusive gods (e.g. Christian and Hindu) could join, a girl that believes in no gods couldn't.

  • Comment number 301.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    There is a vast difference in forcing someone who does not believe in God to make a vow to the contrary in order to fit in compared to not referencing God at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    . What a load of load nonsense!

    Why not go all the way and change the name from Girlguides to Personsguides as someone may be offended or perhaps in 30 years time realised they were permanently scarred as a child and have to sue someone because of discrimination.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    I don't understand this attack on the phrase "be true to yourself".

    To me, it's just right - it says that no matter what your personal beliefs are, you should believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself. Be confident in what you believe is right.

    I think this is a very important message to be sending, particularly to teenage girls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    @ 87.M2kids

    "True to MYSELF" is all about being self-centred.

    Of course it's not. It's about being honest, principled and having the courage of your convictions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    This is great. Progress. The further away from the dangerous and divisive influences of Abrahamic doctrine the better :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    So all these poor atheists have been in the "closet" as the dramatic top rated post claims.

    So the answer is not to tailor an oath to each persons beliefs but to remove the mention of God out of it entirely for everyone else and throw people who have a religious belief in the very closet the poster supposedly jumped out of.

    Welcome to mixed up modern Britain!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Good. There's nothing worse than encouraging young people to lie in order to fit in. And if one believes in God, there's no problem. You can still make promises without bringing God into it. In fact it's better, more honourable, more responsible, and more respectful to God. Sadly, the token religious gesture now sounds worse - 'develop my beliefs' sound horribly like 'develop my prejudices'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    A change for the better - just get rid of the Queen part and it'll be fine. In my opinion, something along the lines of 'Do my duty for country and community' would be far better.
    I recall in the cubs and scouts I had my fingers crossed on my non-saluting hand at the 'god and queen' part!!

  • Comment number 292.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    'serve my community'....country is more patriotic! ..who makes these daft decisions?

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.


    You are correct that non - belief in itself is not a faith. The people who go further than just non-belief are effectively proselytizing and that makes it a defacto religious

    This hard evidence (or lack thereof) that you have in support, I wonder what form is it in, and what kind of test did you devise. I find that the (circumstantial) evidence of a Creator is Creation itself


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