Girl Guides May Remove Mention Of 'God' And 'The Queen' From Oath

In a bow to secularism, the Girl Guides could drop all mentions of God and the Queen in their oath.

The voluntary organisation, which boasts more than half a million members and is more than 100 years old, has launched an online consultation into changes to the pledge that Guides take when they join, known as the Promise.

Girlguiding UK, which consists of the Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, said the move was necessary because an increasing number of girls and volunteers do not identify with the current oath.

The Queen with her sister Princess Margaret. Both were part of the Girl Guides

In a statement the organisation 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."

Guides currently promise to "love my God" and "serve the Queen and country", as well as do their best, help other people and keep the Guide law.

Respondents to the consultation are asked 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".

Options mooted to replace the current mention of the Queen include "serve the Queen and my country", "engage myself with responsibility in the community I live in" and "be true to my country".

The move towards a new oath has been seen as an attempt to attract a new breed of volunteers to lead the Guides.

Last year 50,000 girls were on waiting lists to join the 102-year-old organisation because of a lack of trained leaders, according to reports.

But it also reflects a modernising leadership, with new Girlguiding UK chief executive Julie Bentley, who told The Guardian on Friday that any changes were "in no way a watering down of our values or moral compass".

In November Bentley told The Times that the Guides are the "ultimate feminist organisation".

Bentley also told the newspaper that running the Guides was a natural extension of her previous role as head of the Family Planning Association, where she campaigned for abortion rights and greater access to contraception.

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

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

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