British Boy Scouts consider atheist oath

Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:44 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Boy Scout movement in Britain is considering creating a version of its oath that would allow atheists to become full members.

U.K. Scouting said it is surveying its members on the change, a process known as consultation.

The organization has allowed members of other religions for the past 40 years to change the language of the Scout Oath by substituting the appropriate religious name. Muslims, for example, take the oath in the name of Allah.

"We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and religion will remain a key element of the Scouting program," said Wayne Bulpitt, the chief commissioner for scouting in Britain. "That will not change. However, throughout our 105-year history, we have continued to evolve so that we remain relevant to communities across the U.K."

The movement was founded in England by Robert Baden-Powell, who had served as a general in the Boer War.

All scout organizations use a variation of the original Scout Promise or Oath: "On my honor I promise that I will do my best -- to do my duty to God and the King (or to God and my Country); to help other people at all times; and to obey the Scout Law."

In Britain, scouts who are not British citizens can substitute "the country I live in" for the queen.

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