Of Baden Powell and the Girl Guides

Tony Ward writes for the Christian Post

My dismay at the recent changes to the Girl Guides vow, therefore, has less to do with omitting God from the wording, but the utterly inane wording of what is the replacement. Instead of pledging to love God, Guides must now aim to “be true to myself” and “develop my beliefs”. It is manifestly obvious that you can make that mean whatever you want it to mean. In a culture where Christian values have become an endangered species, this is a carte blanche to do whatever you feel comfortable with. Whereas the Bible teaches that we have a fallen, sinful human nature that needs to be crucified, not indulged. It seems to me that if we are to define what the generally meaningless phrase “being true to myself” actually implies, we can hardly escape the conclusion that this is a commitment to indulge my own self-willed human nature and, as Ann Widdecombe has observed, it promotes the “Me Society”.

Christian Values are not an endangered species.

Despite the Christianity telling us the world is shit, the biggest problem has been  economic downturn. We are at our BEST. The average Brit has never been better educated. He has never lived in a more peaceful society. For fuck’s sake! We consider the “threat” or “promise” of violence to be a crime! We live in paradise.

We may not realise it though and yes we do have to struggle but that’s “life”. Most of us don’t get easy ones.

You are not being told to do what you feel comfortable with. You are being told to be yourself and what you want to be and to hold to your beliefs rather than “Kowtow to my Middle Eastern God! No! No that One! The other one!”.

And of all the people on the planet the Guides have generally been the least “ME ONLY” about humanity and has generally lived on it’s altruistic principles.

We are not fallen or sinful. We are just human and doing the best we can with what we have got. Sometimes it’s not great, but sometimes we do amazing things. If all you do is flagellate yourself and claim you are sinful then you cannot be anything more than a sinner. You have already admitted defeat. You are the villain of this piece and all you think you are doing is damage control.

Secondly, the “beliefs” that Guides are now committed to developing are utterly undefined – it could refer to political, social or cultural beliefs rather than anything spiritual. The Guiding hierarchy jettisoned the old Promise on the grounds that it was ‘confusing’. So what is ‘confusing’ has now been replaced by what is utterly bewildering! Jesus once spoke about a blind person guiding another blind person, resulting in both falling into the ditch. To guide someone is to steer them safely to a desired destination. Perhaps it is a change in the name of the Girl Guide movement itself that is of greater need of revision!

Yes. How is this more confusing. If A Hindu joined the guides then which god are they claiming allegience to? To my knowledge there is no God of Camping. I am unaware of a God of Knots and I am definitely not sure what god you have to invoke to produce campfire marshmallows of sufficient caramelisation.

The Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts are about kids having fun and learning stuff. Why bring your god into it?


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  2. bruce says

    One problem with the old pledging to love God,
    It is manifestly obvious that you can make that mean whatever you want it to mean.

  3. Corvus illustris says

    … I am unaware of a God of Knots …

    Will a Christian Untier of Knots be good enough? The RC church of St Peter am Perlach in Augsburg (the German one) contains a pilgrimage painting (Wallfahrtsbild) of St Mary Untier of Knots. The devotion to the BVM in this capacity is recommended by the current Pope.

  4. smrnda says

    Christians tend to believe the absolute worst about human beings and human nature, so to them, only pledging allegiance to external authority can provide any sort of order – they panic the moment you place a shred of confidence in human reason.

  5. Erp says

    He also doesn’t know much about the Guides. Guiding/Scouting has never been a Christian only movement (that was the Girls/Boys Brigades) and from the earliest days included non-Christians (the largest national Scouting organization in the world is in Indonesia) and, in the US, the first Girl Scout troop included at least three Jewish women. ‘Duty to God’ is part of Scouting/Guiding but, as far as the world organizations are concerned, it is explicitly meant to be interpreted broadly and explicitly is not meant to require a belief in God (one of the other large and early national Scouting organizations is in primarily Buddhist Thailand). Slowly that it is being expanded to include atheists (for the girls (Guides/Scouts) that would be Canada, Australia, the US, and the UK; for the Scouts (boy and co-ed) that would be the Czech republic, France, the Netherlands, Israel, shortly the UK and possibly some others).

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