UK's Girlguiding removes 'God' and 'country' from its promise

Published: Thursday, June 20 2013 3:35 p.m. MDT

Girlguiding changed its promise to remove both God and country. The change takes effect Sept. 1.

Photo courtesy of Girlguiding

For the eleventh time in the organization’s history, the United Kingdom’s Girlguiding organization changed its pledge, this time dropping God and country from the promise.

Girlguiding, a girl scouts group, is the U.K.’s leading charity for girls ages 5-26 that began in 1909. Its new promise replaced the line “to love God,” with “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs.” It also changed the line, “to serve the Queen and my country” with “to serve the Queen and my community.”

Some in the U.K. welcome the changes to the promise.

“The removal of the word 'country' is entirely fitting. The Girl Guides are not a patriotic club,” said Ian Dunt, editor of politics.co.uk in his article, “The new Girl Guide Promise is wonderfully British.” “[And] they replaced God with something lovely. Usually, the stripping away of religion leaves something drab and official in its place. I've always felt that way at registry weddings, which seem short and harshly unceremonial. But here, it was replaced by the promise to ‘be true to myself and develop my beliefs.’”

Others are not pleased with God being replaced with the phrase “to be true to myself.”

In an interview with Premier Christian Radio, former member of Parliament Ann Widdecombe said it was an “appalling decision” that reflected the “me society.”

Girlguiding made the change to welcome “all girls and women, and to create a space where those of all faiths and none can find a home,” according to the Girlguiding news release about the change.

The change to the promise will take effect Sept. 1.

Abby Stevens is an intern for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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