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BHA welcomes Girlguiding UK consultation on admitting atheists

Following on from today’s announcement that the Scout Association is to consult on extending membership to non-religious atheists and agnostics, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the news that Girlguiding UK is also announcing it is to consult on the text of its Promise.

As with the Scouts, the BHA has long called for an end to any mandatory promise to God or another deity or religion – including in July, after the Australian Girl Guides similarly amended their pledge. Many other countries, such as France, the Netherlands, Canada and the Czech Republic, already have alternative pledges that are inclusive of all. In addition, the Girl Scouts of the USA have been allowed to substitute another word or phrase for ‘God’ in their membership oath since 1993.

Like the UK Scouting consultation, the Girlguiding UK consultation will be open to everyone – regardless of whether or not they are a member of the organisation. It will run from 4 January to 3 March.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘We welcome the news that Girlguiding UK are consulting on their promise. With two-thirds of young people today reporting themselves as not religious and a growing proportion not believing in any god, it is important that the promise should be inclusive of all girls. The current situation is unfair on those who are excluded from what is often the only organisation of its kind in the area – and one which has received considerable state funding.

‘It is vital that these changes are realised. We urge everyone to respond to the Girlguiding UK consultation – and everyone who is eligible to respond to the Scout Association’s consultation.’


For further comment or information contact BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson on 07534 248596 or at

Respond to Girlguiding UK’s announcement:

Read this morning’s press release, ‘BHA welcomes Scout Association consultation on admitting atheists’:

Read the recent BHA press release, ‘11 year-old banned from joining the Scouts for refusing to pledge allegiance to God’:

Read the recent BHA press release, ‘Girl Guides in Australia drop their promise to serve God and the Queen’:

Read more about the BHA’s campaign on Scouts and Guides:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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