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 489.

    I can remember joining the scouts many years ago and not only having to swear the oath but also having to go through confirmation. Ti us ut meant nothing. I never believed then and don't now but it was the price to pay if we wanted to go camping with our friends. The only holiday most of us got.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Re 471. Lord President
    Here is some reality for you: sit by someone as they die. There is a point when they are no longer present but everything about their body at that moment is the same. So whats happened? Their spirit has left their body: It's a profound experience I hope you have the privilege of having. Then you may understand you are more than an intelligent animal and (sorry) get a life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    Religion is a handy crutch for those trhat need it, an even better form pf control for those that want to abuse it. But to seriously believe that a being that no one can proove or disproove the existence of made the human race special is slightly deluded considering the sun that our planet orbits is not even a grain of sand in the scale of the universe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    I find it very sad that the argument is often being seen as Girlguiding now excluding Christians, because a word was removed from the promise but this could not be more wrong. The hope is to include everyone who wants to join regardless of faith or creed. The message of tolerance should be the one passed down to our younger generations, not one of intolerance seen in many comments today

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    Every organisation, club, group etc in this country should be religion free. If someone wants to join a religious group then join a church!

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    1. Brownies/Guides do not HAVE to make this promise. 2. All religions are welcome 3. It is not a legally binding "promise". 4. This is a VOLUNTARY organisation, you do not HAVE to join. The organisation has given disipline, life skills, team work and FUN to millions worldwide over the years and that is what is great about it. Not wether is uses the word "god" in its promise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    461 Norman Brooke : with regards the life threatening illness etc, I've been there and done that and no, as a Humanist I most definitely did not pray to any God. Indeed I'm rather fatalistic about these things and I'm not afraid to die.
    I'm glad the vows have changed to become inclusive, I actually felt an awful hypocrite promising to do my duty to God all those years ago just so I could 'fit in'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    There is no "god".

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    468. I respect your beliefs and I myself have many doubts. I cannot prove God exists I personally feel it. Lots of us turn to God or to our own God or Jesus you have to accept. Man has caused the World to be in this shocking state so why does God not intervene? I don't know I wish he would but maybe he suffers with us. I just like to keep an open mind. Jesus was a humble and good Man.

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    Anyone claiming that this is an atheist plot might want to check some figures. As of 2009 there are more non-believers (sensible people) than believers in the UK. This change is not only a good step forward for an enlightened society, but actually representative of the populations majority understanding.


  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    I joined GirlGuiding as a Rainbow thirteen years ago. Since then Guiding has been a part of my life and I couldn't imagine it any other way. However back then I had no problem promising to love my God. Like many other people my beliefs have changed over time and I'm now an Atheist. I'm glad of this change because now I can feel comfortable about what I'm declaring every time I renew my promise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    455. Jaw dropping truth
    Ah, but it’s a well known fact that satan is to blame for all the nasty stuff in the world. God only does kittens and sunsets and nice fluffy things.
    Or at least, that’s what I’m usually told when I try to ask questions like "if god is so loving, why did he create alzheimers and childhood leukaemia?".

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    Guides pride themselves on being inclusive and 21st century yet still prevent half the population from joining. If the Scouts can go multi-sex, why not the Girl Guides? Or is sex equality a one-way street?

  • Comment number 476.

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

  • Comment number 475.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    That's wonderful - "be true to myself and develop my beliefs". Far better than I had hope they might come up with. I believe that developing ethical and spiritual beliefs in ways that suit individuals is vital for happiness and quality of life, and for relating to other people, animals and our planet/environment. So it's excellent that this has been reworded so well. Well done!

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    465.Michael Lloyd
    Let's hope the idea catches on. There is no place for invisible friends in this world, thanks!
    I had an imaginary "insvisible" friend when I was a kid and it never did me any harm...[shut up Mr Smiley, I'm not talking to you...you tipped Mummys perfume bottle over and I got into trouble....go away, I don't want to play with you any more]

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    @469 Philip Iszatt

    Err, that book appears to be a load of para-psychology nonsense.

    You may as well say you can prove life after death because you've seen ghostbusters...

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    447.Philip Iszatt
    "Yes there is, it's called radio waves. You are confusing spiritual with invisible."

    You appear to be confusing spirituality with reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    461.Norman Brooke
    So you claim to know for a fact we'll all to turn to God in hours of need (no thanks I find all the comfort I need in the wonder of the natural world and scientific endeavor) and in the next breath breach tolerance of others. So the usual relgious cake & eat it attitude then...


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