RELIGION
06/19/2013 03:14 pm ET Updated Jun 19, 2013

Girl Guides, British Girl Scouts, Drop God From Pledge In Effort To Maintain Inclusiveness

AP

After more than 100 years of swearing allegiance to God, country and Queen, the British Girl Guides have decided to drop the God reference in a move hailed by secular groups.

Founded in 1910, the British version of the American Girl Scouts made the change after a consultation that resulted in close to 44,000 responses, according to the Associated Press.

Chief Guide Gill Slocombe said that ultimately the reference to God seemed to have been discouraging some people from joining or volunteering with the Guides.

For example, one of the young women who wrote in to the Guides said that she felt like she was lying when she recited the promise to a God she didn't believe in, according to The Telegraph.

"We hope that the new wording will help us reach out to girls and women who might not have considered guiding before — so that even more girls can benefit from everything guiding can offer," Slocombe said in a statement on the Guides' website.

The new promise reads:

I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law.

The National Secular Society applauded the Gild Guides' move and said the changes send a "clear signal that the organization is equally welcoming to all girls," society campaigns manager Stephen Evans said, according to the AP.

In a poll conducted by The Independent, the majority of respondents said they felt the Guides were right to change the pledge. However, some religious organizations were less enthusiastic about the wording revision.

British Christian advocacy organization Christian Concern, for example, said the change was not consistent with the original Girl Guides values.

“It sounds like jargon from a consumerist self-help manual completely at odds with the true ethos of the Guiding organization which was set up to encourage belief in God and a corporate identity, not about individualism but to understand what it really is to be part of a community," Christian Concern's Andrea Williams said, according to the Telegraph.

(h/t Raw Story)

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