Jump directly to the content

Boy Scouts' Inspiration May Accommodate Atheists

U.K. group would offer alternative 'Scout Promise' that removes reference to God.

The United Kingdom's Scout Association, which inspired the Boy Scouts of America, has announced that it will consider welcoming atheists into membership, drafting a new pledge for boys and girls who do not wish to reference God when they become members.

The Scout Association is now considering whether or not to offer an alternative membership pledge for atheists and non-believers, just as it offers pledges tailored for Muslim and Hindu members. The organization would not do away with its existing pledge, and still would offer non-believing students only "associate" membership.

"This isn't a cosmetic exercise; it's a real consultation, without foregone conclusions," said CEO Derek Twine. "It would take the best part of a year to implement, if that's what members want."

The Scout Association was founded in the early 20th century by Lord Baden-Powell, who originally required all members to take the Scout Promise: "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."

Yet, following reports that an 11-year-old atheist schoolboy felt he had been "banned" from the Scouts for refusing to take the oath, the Scouts announced that the organization would consult whether or not to revise the existing pledge for non-believers.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Related Topics:Atheism; Boy Scouts
Posted:December 18, 2012 at 9:24AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
British Government Affirms Christmas at Work
New report details when workers' faith expression is protected and when it can get them fired.
How Fidel Castro's Death Will Affect Cuba's Christian Revival
It won't. And that's (mostly) a good thing.
Died: Russell Shedd, Brazil's Top Evangelical Theologian
Longtime missionary's books trained generations of pastors.
Five Men Sentenced to Death for Burning Christian Couple Alive
Ruling on 2014 incident is rare moment of justice for Pakistani Christians facing blasphemy allegations.
Christianity Today
Boy Scouts' Inspiration May Accommodate Atheists