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 349.

    This is a "promise" not an oath. Its not legally binding...pretty sure there has never been a legal case citing the Brownie Promise as a legally binding agreement. But I can check...

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    @26 Science, particularly Neurology, is increasing showing that there is no physical interface between the mind and the brain; that is we are spiritual beings who can only be truly happy when in friendship and partnership with God.

    When I say Science, I mean Science. When you say Science you meand Mumbo Jumbo that fits in with your prejudices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    @342 - you make it sound like a problem.

  • Comment number 346.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    Its a bit of a middle-ages misconception that Atheists lack a certain moral compass, I'm a nice person and I don't need the threat of eternal damnation to convince me not to steal, kill or covert a goat.

    Christians are quite happy to discriminate against women and homosexuals yet cry foul play when we say "actually, we don't want to worship your God"

    Play nice and we will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    'The British Humanist Association' This 'group' is wheeled out every time God pops up in the news. Who appointed them as a public voice?//

    It happens...same as Simon Calder for transport, Tony Travis for local govt, the UAF, hilariously enough, on tolerance and multiculty....

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    It is good to see this change as religion should not play a role in such organisations.
    Binding communities through such groups should transcend cultural and religious differences.
    I would also like to see the removal of the pledge to the Queen.
    We must teach our young people about alternatives to monarchy and the need to keep an open mind about other systems of constitutional governance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Just another nail in CHRISTIAN Britain's coffin. :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.


    Is that balanced reporting? Or is it a biased atheist agenda?

    Be honest.

    You want unbiased honesty. Well for a start Religious institutions have too much sway in the U.K. and hold the U.S. to ransom. Try running for office under an Atheist banner in the U.S.

    Another thing BBC " thought for the day" has consistently rejected any attempts by secular organizations to have a say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.


  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    @87 - you are aware, are you not, that 'true to myself' means sticking to your beliefs and not giving in to peer pressure. It's about keeping your morals, not worshiping your own a*se.

    As a Catholic child - and now an Agnostic adult - who attended both Brownies and Scouts, I'm glad young girls will no longer be forced to acknowledge a God they don't believe in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 338.

    190.Bailey the Leg End

    "...We teach our children that we live in a democracy, citizens of a democracy do not serve those in power, it is the other way around... they serve us!"

    And you thought that religious people and monarchists were delusional!

    Eventually all oaths of allegiance will have to be watered down to the "not the 9 o'clock News" version of the Creed.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    All parts of the promise should be read together. The final part is to keep the Guide law. Anyone who reads the law will see that it is all about caring for the planet, each other, being a responsible citizen , being a loyal friend etc so in that context being true to oneself is clearly not about being selfish or self centred but having the courage of ones convictions

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    As a Guide leader who's been in guiding since I was 5, I welcome the change. There are lots of young people and adults who are atheist or agnostic as well as people such as Buddhists who do not always believe in a god. This change was done the right way, by consulting members and non-members. I just wish they'd got rid of the Queen part as well, I guess they didn't want too much to change at once.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    You are incorrect in your assumption that athiests miss the good practices of faith. It is more likely that they believe that the good comes from humans/us regardless of whether faith is included or not. If there was no faith there would still be charity.
    It is easy to overlook the good of faith when all around there is indifferences and intolerance of other faiths/or lack of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    @323 NicoleHS
    *disgrace. Sigh. My blood was boiling, let me off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    Aren't various people within the CofE under investigation for all sorts of wrong-doings? What's curious is that those who say it's wrong for a group of little girls, wanting to have fun and learn together, to no longer need a god to do it. Hypocrisy maybe?

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Scouts did this some time ago. I'm afraid the Girl Guides are still changing too slowly. I am a leader with the Scouts and find that typically 25% of my group are girls. Guiding needs to wake up and realise how much things have changed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    @316.Little Welsh Dragon

    "Polly8122 The same people who appointed christianity as a public vote!!!"

    Fair point but how come an organisation with 2000 years of history & millions of followers is ignored in the article while the BHA, 100 or so years & 28k members gets a voice?

    Is that balanced reporting? Or is it a biased atheist agenda?

    Be honest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    All mortals have a need of worship, if it is no longer God, then it inevitable becomes something else and celebrities/materialistic things are now filling this void but 'To love my smartphone, 52" TV and celebrity pinups'' wouldn't sound too good as an oath now would it?


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