Our atheist promised land?
FOR decades new members of the Scouting movement have pledged to serve God.
But that could soon change.
As previously reported in the Post, the Scout Association is considering an atheist promise. Guides could also lose all references to God and the Queen from their promise.
A poll on the Post's website shows opinion divided. Of 133 responders at thisisnottingham.co.uk, 43 per cent thought Scouts and Guides should promise to serve God, while 57 per cent disagreed.
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The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, said: "The Church has long and deep relationships with uniformed organisations like the Scouting and Guiding movements. We value these greatly as they are superb organisations for children and young people.
"I fully understand why these movements want to enable all children to belong if they wish, so recognise why an alternative promise for some might be helpful.
"I am delighted, though, that the traditional promise to God remains within the Scout promise and I am sure will continue to be the preferred choice by most.
The Venerable Peter Hill, Archdeacon of Nottingham, said: "We don't need to have a restriction in the promise, preventing people who don't believe in God to join the movement."
The choice was welcomed by several Scouts in Notts.
Matt Rooney, county commissioner for Notts Scouts, said: "We have around 400 kids on the waiting list in Notts.
"A new promise, suitable for atheists, could encourage more adult volunteers to get involved which would mean we could start more groups."
The Scout consultation ended at midnight yesterday and the Guides', at www.girlguiding.org.uk/news/promise_consultation_now_open.aspx, ends on March 3 at
What do you think of the proposed changes? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org