UK

Girl Guides consult on oath change

Girl Guides
Image caption Girl Guides currently swear allegiance to both God and the Queen

The Girl Guides are consulting on whether to remove references to God or the Queen in their oath.

Currently, when Guides join, they promise: "I will do my best, to love my God, to serve my Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Guide law."

But Girlguiding UK said an increasing number of girls and volunteers do not identify with the current oath.

The organisation has more than half a million members.

The voluntary organisation has launched an online consultation into changes to the Promise - the pledge Guides take when they join.

In a statement, Girlguiding UK said: "The Promise is guiding's beating heart - it is the core expression of values and the common standard that brings everyone in guiding together.

"Over the past few years we have heard from more and more girls and leaders who struggle with the wording, particularly in interpreting what it really means to girls today.

"Girlguiding UK is committed to retaining a Promise that is in line with its original principles, but we know it is crucial that girls and young women understand and believe in the words they say."

Alternative pledges

The consultation asks respondents to express their preferences for alternatives such as "do my duty to God", "be true to a higher ideal" and "serve the highest truth and love faithfully at all times".

Alternative options for the current mention of the Queen include having "serve the Queen" instead of "serve my Queen", or "engage myself with responsibility in the community I live in" or "be true to my country".

Last month, the Scout Association announced it had also launched a consultation to see if its members would support an alternative Scout Promise for atheists, who are unwilling to pledge a "duty to God".

And last year 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.

The Guides' consultation, which is open to members and non-members, will close on 3 March.

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