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 ...

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