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Why it's important to add your voice to the scout consultation on non-believers

(36 Posts)
Bags Fri 07-Dec-12 08:36:42

There is a link in this article to the public survey.

feetlebaum Fri 07-Dec-12 09:06:39


vampirequeen Fri 07-Dec-12 10:28:37


jO5 Fri 07-Dec-12 10:53:04

Oh it's such a hard one! I definitely think non-believers should be able to become scout leaders. The willingness and ability to do a good job is the most important thing. But I don't wnat children to get too tied up in worrying about whether they believe in God or not. Not at such an early age. They are hardly old enough to know.

Can't they just leave things as they are? Are we sure the kids really hate having to say the promise in its present form? I don't remember giving it that much thought tbh. I just wanted me badge so I could be a patrol leader! ( hmm)

I will have a think.

annodomini Fri 07-Dec-12 11:03:55

I can assure you, JO5, that children as young as 7 can be sceptical about the existence of a god. Parental attitudes may be as responsible for this as for belief.

jO5 Fri 07-Dec-12 11:21:53

Bags I think it might be best to just leave the God bit out of the promise now. Do it quietly without drawing anyone's attention to it. Then they wouldn't need to make any big decisions at such a young age. The ethos would still be the same.

Is there an option for that? Will have a look.

Ana Fri 07-Dec-12 11:27:05

I find that rather sad, that young minds can be closed so early because of parental attitudes. Surely a child of 7 hasn't developed proper reasoning powers?

Greatnan Fri 07-Dec-12 11:28:01

I would hate to think that children or leaders had to be hypocritical ( ie. to lie) in order to join the scouts or guides. That would not be much of a lesson in ethical behaviour, would it? Signed.

Greatnan Fri 07-Dec-12 11:29:23

Ana - does your comment not apply equally to all philosophical beliefs, whether religious or atheist?

Ana Fri 07-Dec-12 11:33:44


jO5 Fri 07-Dec-12 11:42:57

Bags I think having an alternative promise is the only way forward. There would be uproar if they did away with the God bit entirely. Bear Grhylls is a committed Christian isn't he?

It's not right to exclude any boy or girl.

Sorry to drag this out but I'm thinking. hmm

jeni Fri 07-Dec-12 11:59:25

Watch out worldsmile

Riverwalk Fri 07-Dec-12 12:17:33

I agree J05 it's a hard one!

I'm a non-believer but had no problem with my two boys joining the Scouts - to be honest I gave no thought to any oath that they made.

The Scout movement was presumably set up as an outward bound/military type of thing with a spiritual aspect - if you don't do spirituality then maybe it's not for you.

gracesmum Fri 07-Dec-12 12:38:17

I am going to ask a really dumb question here - so pay attention at the back. Do other faiths not join the Guides/Scouts/Brownies etc ? I am thinking af areas which are more mixed than perhaps your average leafy Home Counties suburb, for instance Moseley/Kings Heath in Birmingham where DD lives. And going back decades we lived in Tooting when the DDs joined the Brownies, which they loved because they could play team games, at that time out of fashion at their trendy PC school, but that's another tale of woe. To call Tooting mixed was a bit like calling the Pope Catholic!
On the one hand I am against the secularisation of Christmas or Easter ("Happy Holidays"- yuk) but kids get so much fun from these organisations it would be wrong to exclude them.

Riverwalk Fri 07-Dec-12 12:58:01

Grace yes they do - but they still swear to god - any god will do, it seems!

Bags Fri 07-Dec-12 12:58:39

Small point, slightly off-thread too, but Christmas and Easter both existed under other names before they were claimed as the property of the christian religion, so tough luck if you don't like them being 'used' by non-christians. They belong to everyone.

Greatnan Fri 07-Dec-12 13:10:11

It doesn't matter whether some people dislike secularisation - it will happen anyway. The child abuse scandals and the lack of clear guidance on women bishops or sexuality have simply hastened the demise of the power of religion in Britain.
I don't believe Baden Powell intended the scouts to be primarily a vehicle to further religion - he wanted to give children a chance to take part in healthy outdoor pursuits and learn to work in a team. You don't need religion for that.

gracesmum Fri 07-Dec-12 13:13:56

Not quite what I meant Bags although I take your point re Saturnalia (Easter was what??) It is the total blandness or PCness of "Happy Holidays" that gets me - the secularisation and materialism seems to be part of the territory.
Why not call it Christmas? We don't send "holidays" cards, eat "holidays" cake/pudding or buy "holidays " wrapping paper, do we? And if it is OK (which it is) to recognise Hanukah, Dewali, Thanksgiving (in the US) et al,what is wrong with wishing people a Happy Christmas? Even "Compliments of the season" which few could object to is preferable to me.

Bags Fri 07-Dec-12 13:14:11

But the get back to thread, the silly thing is that there are lots of atheists in the scouting movement already. If you admit to being an atheist you can still be an associate member (i.e. they'll accept your help); if you call yourself a humanist, even an atheist one, they'll let you be a 'full' member but they won't call you a leader even if you are one. Petty, discriminatory and prejudiced. The Scout Association should be ashamed of itself for not getting over this before now. Fat lot of use their proclaimed values are!

Bags Fri 07-Dec-12 13:15:24

I think most people do call it christmas, gracesmum. There are only a few who don't. Here at least. I think Happy Holidays is more common in the States because, mainly, of the Jews.

jO5 Fri 07-Dec-12 13:16:33

I think it's a shame we take these things so heavily these days. We've managed all these years. I don't for the life of me think the kids came to any harm either way. Still, it's the way things are.

Greatnan Fri 07-Dec-12 13:18:42

I talk about Christmas dinner, going home for Christmas, etc. It is the generally accepted term for the holiday.

Granny23 Fri 07-Dec-12 14:53:22

Bags I have completed the consultation. Here is what I put on the religion bit:

"In an increasingly secular society, I feel that Scouting will fail in its duty to young people if it does not accept that it is entirely possible to live a good principled and moral life without having any belief in the supernatural. Scouting currently has the opportunity to offer a moral code, based on respect and responsibilities to Young People who may be floundering in a vaccum created by the decline of religious belief."

baubles Fri 07-Dec-12 19:04:40


Butty Fri 07-Dec-12 19:09:16

Go Granny23 - Great response.