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Guide pledge drops God

20 June 2013

PA

Back then: in 1965, Marilyn Martin, aged 16, from the 3rd Wembley Park Guide Company, models the organisation's new uniform

Back then: in 1965, Marilyn Martin, aged 16, from the 3rd Wembley Park Guide Company, models the organisation's new uniform

GIRL GUIDES will no longer pledge their loyalty to God and country, it was announced on Wednesday.

The new promise, unveiled by Girlguiding, replaces the words "to love my God" with "to be true to myself and develop my beliefs". The pledge "to serve the Queen and my country" is replaced with "to serve the Queen and my community". It will be effective from 1 September.

The organisation hopes that the new wording will make it "truly open to all girls and women", and "create a space where those of all faiths and none can find a home".

The announcement comes after a consultation, begun earlier this year ( News, 11 January), which secured responses from 44,000 people. A statement from the organisation said that respondents felt that the pledge to love God "did not truly reflect the society we live in, and many commented on the need to be open to all, and to respect the beliefs of others, including those with no specific religious belief".

"Spiritual development" would remain a goal of the organisation, it said, and referred to "making your own spiritual choices, respecting the spiritual choices of others, and achieving inner peace".

The consultation had revealed a "strong commitment" to retain service to the Queen in the promise. Her Majesty is patron of the organisation.

In December, the Scout Association undertook a consultation about an alternative version of its promise "for potential members who are atheists" ( News, 7 December). This consultation closed at the end of January, but no decision has yet been made public.

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