Sunday, August 19, 2007

Scouts discrimination against non religious

source NSS Newsline 17/8/07

From John Catt:

There has been a lot of publicity around the Scouts 100th anniversary and my local paper (and I suspect many others) received a letter praising the movement. Could I suggest that where we see these (or perhaps even where we don't) we put in a letter highlighting the fact that they discriminate against the non religious.

My effort appears below.

"Dear Sir,

I agree with Liz Smith (Echo 10 August) about the valuable contribution that the Scouts (and indeed the Guides) make to helping young people through the challenging years as they mature from children into adults.

However they have one particular short coming in that they discriminate against quite a substantial proportion of the population.

In order to be a scout or guide you have to believe in the supernatural. The scout promise is "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."

Whilst the Queen has usually been replaced by "Country" outside the UK (and the scouts now recruit girls) both organisations refuse to allow an opt out from honouring a supernatural deity. Any God will do, so as well as the major faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and even Buddhism, followers of the Mormons, Scientologists and Druids are equally welcome.

Hypocritical non-believers also seem to be acceptable, even though this would seem to contradict the first scout law, "A Scout is to be trusted", and the last, "A Scout has self-respect and respect for others".

Surely it should be acceptable, to these organisations, for say "the Community" rather than "God" to be substituted by non believers. The last census showed that at least 15% of the population has no supernatural beliefs.

I followed this with a paragraph saying that more information could be found on Loughborough Logic.

Letters to local papers can be very effective as more people read the letters columns of their local paper than those of the nationals. Almost certainly such letters will be noticed by District Commissioners and Group leaders who will pass the cutting to HQ. Since many don't seem to appreciate what the organisation's policy is, they may be quite effective in making their Board re-consider.

See also: The Promise (pdf)
Being a Scout

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