Scouts to consider changing pledge to welcome atheists

Swindon Advertiser: Terry Shipp, back right, with members of the 1st Stratton St Margaret scout group collecting donations for the Woodlands trust Buy this photo » Terry Shipp, back right, with members of the 1st Stratton St Margaret scout group collecting donations for the Woodlands trust

ATHEISTS may be able to join the Scouts for the first time in 105 years.

The Scout Association are considering accepting members who have no religious beliefs, as part of a movement backed by TV adventurer Bear Grylls.

The new version of the Scout Promise is being considered for those who feel unable to pledge a duty to God.

Terry Shipp, District Explorer Scout Commissioner of Swindon North Scouts, has welcomed the idea.

"The Scout Association is a movement and the criteria is that we need to move on and move with the times so I think it’s a good idea," he said.

“It’s been on the cards for a while as the Scouts are open to all faiths and everyone and it’s always been a stumbling block for people who don’t believe in God.

“A survey is will be going out tonight with my explorer scouts to discuss the idea”

The current Scout Promise reads: "On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law."

Alternative pledges already exist for other faith groups including Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, which allows them to use the word ‘my Dharma’ and ‘Allah’ instead of God.

But this is the first time atheists will have the opportunity to become a scout.

Membership of the Scouts has risen during the past seven years from 444,936 in 2005 to 525,364 this year, figures released by the association show.

The proposed changes are designed to increase diversity in the movement and enable more young people and adults to join.

Comments (7)

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1:34pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Inda UK says...

Um, I was a born again atheist from the age of six, and I was a fully joined up Cub, Scout and Venture Scout. This was 30 years ago too.

Sure, you had to repeat some of the brainwashing lies to get membership, but that was a small price to pay for all the exciting things they offered. We've all told lies to gain something of value, such as lying to children under six years old.

The things atheists have to put up with. Sigh.
Um, I was a born again atheist from the age of six, and I was a fully joined up Cub, Scout and Venture Scout. This was 30 years ago too. Sure, you had to repeat some of the brainwashing lies to get membership, but that was a small price to pay for all the exciting things they offered. We've all told lies to gain something of value, such as lying to children under six years old. The things atheists have to put up with. Sigh. Inda UK

1:39pm Tue 4 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

How come they were able to get away with it and not be done for discrimination then? There are enough human rights act leech lawyers and hangers on out there who bleat on about prisoners and terrorists rights, but an Atheist cant join the scouts. it really does show what a double standards world we now live in.
And why should anyone be made to make that pledge anyway, what has religion got to do with being a scout?
How come they were able to get away with it and not be done for discrimination then? There are enough human rights act leech lawyers and hangers on out there who bleat on about prisoners and terrorists rights, but an Atheist cant join the scouts. it really does show what a double standards world we now live in. And why should anyone be made to make that pledge anyway, what has religion got to do with being a scout? house on the hill

1:57pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Davey Gravey says...

I was not allowed to join the cubs when I was a child as my parents didn't want me to have to swear allegiance to God and the queen. The cubs insisted I would have to do the above to be able to join. Glad its changing now many years later. Hopefully in the future the myth of gods will be consigned to history and laughed at.
I was not allowed to join the cubs when I was a child as my parents didn't want me to have to swear allegiance to God and the queen. The cubs insisted I would have to do the above to be able to join. Glad its changing now many years later. Hopefully in the future the myth of gods will be consigned to history and laughed at. Davey Gravey

2:08pm Tue 4 Dec 12

scoutleader says...

Well, if we change the promise, we won't have to get 6 year olds to lie!

We're not descriminating. When you join the scouts you make promise. It's a contract, just like you would have to do if you joined any organisation, club etc.

The fundamentals of scouting will not change that much.
We are guided by values - integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation.

Scouting takes place when young people, in partnership with adults, work together based on the values of Scouting and:
•enjoy what they are doing and have fun;
•take part in activities indoors and outdoors;
•learn by doing;
•share in spiritual reflection;
•take responsibility and make choices;
•undertake new and challenging activities; and
•make and live by their Promise.
Since its inception Scouting has continually adapted to remain relevant to society, whilst staying rooted to the underlying principles on which it was established more than one hundred years ago.
We're a movement, and we're moving with the times.
Well, if we change the promise, we won't have to get 6 year olds to lie! We're not descriminating. When you join the scouts you make promise. It's a contract, just like you would have to do if you joined any organisation, club etc. The fundamentals of scouting will not change that much. We are guided by values - integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation. Scouting takes place when young people, in partnership with adults, work together based on the values of Scouting and: •enjoy what they are doing and have fun; •take part in activities indoors and outdoors; •learn by doing; •share in spiritual reflection; •take responsibility and make choices; •undertake new and challenging activities; and •make and live by their Promise. Since its inception Scouting has continually adapted to remain relevant to society, whilst staying rooted to the underlying principles on which it was established more than one hundred years ago. We're a movement, and we're moving with the times. scoutleader

4:30pm Tue 4 Dec 12

The Patrician says...

Appalling that scouts don't care which religion you belong to provided you have a religiion. Better to have someone who has no religion and is honest about it than take an oath which you don't mean.
Appalling that scouts don't care which religion you belong to provided you have a religiion. Better to have someone who has no religion and is honest about it than take an oath which you don't mean. The Patrician

8:09pm Tue 4 Dec 12

house on the hill says...

"""The fundamentals of scouting will not change that much.
We are guided by values - integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation. ""

Why is it the religious types think you have to be religous to show these traits. I some some athiests who are a hell of a lot kinder and show more respect and are far more trustworthy that a lot so called religious people who have shown time and again they clearly cant be trusted.
Stop being so pompous and let people make their own minds up about religion instead of forcing them or else they cant join. Strange that religion is the second biggest killer the world has ever known after maleria.
"""The fundamentals of scouting will not change that much. We are guided by values - integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation. "" Why is it the religious types think you have to be religous to show these traits. I some some athiests who are a hell of a lot kinder and show more respect and are far more trustworthy that a lot so called religious people who have shown time and again they clearly cant be trusted. Stop being so pompous and let people make their own minds up about religion instead of forcing them or else they cant join. Strange that religion is the second biggest killer the world has ever known after maleria. house on the hill

8:46am Fri 7 Dec 12

RichardR1 says...

I think the scout leader makes a valid point about the rules of a club.

What next the Freemasons changing their entry cruteria, which includes God and Monarch.
I think the scout leader makes a valid point about the rules of a club. What next the Freemasons changing their entry cruteria, which includes God and Monarch. RichardR1

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