UK Scouts Announce Alternative Scout Promise

imagegenFrom The Scout Association (UK) website:

The Scout Association (TSA) has launched an additional alternative version to the core Scout Promise in order to officially welcome atheists into the Movement.

Following an extensive 10-month consultation process within and outside of the Movement, TSA has introduced an additional alternative version of the Scout Promise that can be taken by those without a faith for the first time in its 106-year history. Alternative versions of the Scout Promise have been available for nearly 50 years and have been used by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and those who live in the UK but are not UK citizens. This is the first time that the Movement has introduced a Promise for members and potential members who are without a faith.

The announcement of the additional alternative Promise has been welcomed by faith leaders and the British Humanist Association (BHA) as demonstrating inclusiveness of the Movement to all sections of society.

The existing Scout Promise:
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.

New alternative wording of the Promise:
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best To uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen,
To help other people And to keep the Scout Law.

The Scout Association (founded by Baden-Powell himself in 1907 ) serves the United Kingdom (Great Britain) has enjoyed burgeoning growth in the last ten years;

Over the last decade, female youth membership has increased from 29,200 to 77,500 (an increase of 165%), and in the last 10 years, over 50 Scout Groups have been opened that cater for young people who are drawn mainly from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities. Not only is the Movement growing in these new areas, but it is increasingly popular amongst teenagers; attracting twice as many teenage members as it did in 2002 (18,000 in 2002 compared to 40,000 in 2013).

The addition of an alternative promise (note that this is, indeed, an addition, not a replacement) has been welcomed and supported as by a number of faith leaders .

I, for one, applaud TSA’s decision to be inclusive after a long conversation that solicited opinions from TSA members and the general public. I admire the process as well as the decision. The alternative Scout promise has an interesting history, and several alternatives have been accepted  – notably the  outlander promise reportedly written by B-P for Scouts that had to omit the reference to God or a monarch for reasons of conscience.

Using alternative promises TSA recognizes that people of faith have different terms for God – Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists have been able to use terms appropriate to their faith or the past fifty years. Offering an alternative for atheists recognizes that Scouting has a vast potential for uniting rather than dividing people of good conscience.

Additional Resources
The Promise [PDF] a fact sheet explaining The Scout Association promise.
Summary of the key findings from the consultation [PDF] The additional alternative Scout Promise FAQs

Via Nick at Nick’s Ramblings

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