God vow dropped from Girlguiding UK promise

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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 729.


    Roughly translates as: "God loves us as a father loves his children, and if you disagree he'll kill you".
    Ooookay then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 728.

    @727 tlo25 "One day God will withdraw his presence from all those who do not wish him to be in their lives... Then they will know what hell is."

    Nice, classy move, wishing hell on the unbelievers. Doesn't make you look petty and vindictive at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 727.

    One day God will withdraw his presence from all those who do not wish him to be in their lives... Then they will know what hell is.

    Don't say I didn't warn you! :-(


  • rate this

    Comment number 726.

    Forcing a religious opinion of ANY sort onto a child, be it theist or atheist, is wrong. I am atheist but my ex-wife was an occasional churchgoer. My children were brought up in essentially a secular household, and were left to make up their own minds when it came to deities. When it came to the kids, my ex- and I both left our religious opinions outside the front door.

  • rate this

    Comment number 725.

    Yes RichTeabisuit (722) - that is what I mean by have faith in a child's mind. They are quite capable of making their own choices - if they are given all the options. Atheists bring their children up not believing in God and religious people bring their children up believing in God. Who honestly gives their child a balanced viewpoint?

  • rate this

    Comment number 724.

    "Being true to myself hints at selfishness."
    No. See my post #717.

    "Developing my (own) beliefs avoids ideas of learning from others."
    No, it's the total opposite. Surely part of any development process is to look at what is around and use this to shape one's own opinions and interpretations? It's far preferable to having an opinion imposed, surely?

  • rate this

    Comment number 723.

    Finally! It's about time these religious notions were not given legitimacy by ensconcing them in the lives of children (who do infer that according to research). I don't think it's right for society to encourage adults to think it's ok to believe in the unbelievable but it certainly shouldn't be, or appear to be sanctioned by authority. Not that we should respect authoritah either! Another step.

  • rate this

    Comment number 722.

    "Have more faith in children's minds."

    Yes. AND have faith in their ability to decide for themselves what they believe in and who or what they chose to follow, or not to follow, rather than make it mandatory or inflicted. If the kids are interested or curious, they'll track it down for themselves without being pushed or dragged.

  • rate this

    Comment number 721.

    @ResCyn 715
    No, you are missing the point. Guides isn't a state activity. This is about the change in the promise - not the government. Do you even know what happens in Guiding? It isn't about indoctrinating, it isn't about seats in the Lords. If someone is confident enough in their belief then it doesn't matter what is going on around them - religious or not. Have more faith in children's minds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 720.

    @719 - itakuera

    Nobody is "offended by the idea of a creative force". The offensive bit comes in when someone starts claiming to know that this force is definitely real and they know what it wants. What it wants is invariably for you to follow what they say and give them money and teach your children to do the same without question.

    It's never just a creating force.

  • rate this

    Comment number 719.

    Abandoning God makes me sad. Why be offended by the idea of a creative force, whatever your faith or lack of it. People who find God difficult can join the Woodcraft Folk. Being true to myself hints at selfishness. Developing my (own) beliefs avoids ideas of learning from others. To serve my (own) community: Muslim Community, Gay Community or other 'communities' will entrench social divisiveness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 718.

    Entirely missing the point. Both sides clealy accept the existence of the other, the argument is about removing all traces of religion from state activity. Do what you want privately but when kids are still being indoctrinated and there are still guaranteed seats in The Lords, etc. those of us that resent the influence that irrational belief has over us are going to be noisy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 717.

    To those of you still worried about any potential selfishness of the vow's new “be true to myself” line, let me quote Shakespeare at you (Hamlet, Act 1 Scene III):

    “This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

    When you think of it in those terms, it sounds pretty good doesn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 716.

    400. Abdi "Never professed a religion"

    You said there was a "Creator".

    I'm amused by you matter/antimatter argument. Scientists develop and test theories about the universe, and build machines such as the LHC to test these theories. Creationists fail to understand this process and grasp at things science cannot explain (yet) claiming, illogically, that this proves there was a "Creator".

  • rate this

    Comment number 715.

    *rolls eyes* Now I have read more of these comments I wonder how many people on here actually care about the promise change, or whether they just want to use this comment section as a good old rant about how their beliefs are right and how anyone who thinks differently is stupid. Atheists need to except that people believe in God and religious people need to accept that there are those who don't!

  • rate this

    Comment number 714.

    615.Howard condor RTV
    "Or how about: " B.I.B.L.E"
    (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!?)"

    Or 'Big Irritating Book of Lies and Exaggeration'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 713.

    This is a great change! Children should be allowed to make their own minds up regarding religion and shouldn't be made to swear on something they may not choose to believe in. I was allowed to make my own mind up as a child and chose I didn't believe at all- I'm glad my parent let me make my own choices as I may have grown to resent them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 712.

    "Now you've consumed Auntie's version think about the reality and the drivers for this."
    1) Explain us what you mean.
    2) Show us evidence for this conspiracy theory of yours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 711.

    @709 - "Humanist/atheistic views always get pandered to."

    You're kidding right?
    We have an established church, a monarch who is head of that church, christian bishops have seats in the upper house and a direct say in the running of the country, and it's atheists that get pandered to?


  • rate this

    Comment number 710.

    It is my personal belief that society should go further yet and ban the religious indoctrination of our children in schools etc.
    Children should be protected against religious 'brainwashing' as we would protect them from violent images.

    Well done to the Guide movement for this.


Page 1 of 37


More Education & Family stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.