Children may be stopped from pledging their devotion to God when joining the Girl Guides following complaints that it discriminates against non-Christians.
Girls wanting to become Guides, Brownies or Rainbows currently promise to “love” God when signing up to the 101-year-old organisation. However, the association is considering reviewing the wording of its affirmation for new members, to remove religious references. The move comes after parents complained it was unfair to exclude children who had not received a Christian upbringing.
The promise is optional but only girls who have taken it can be awarded the movement’s highest badges.
Christian campaigners yesterday warned that the 600,000-member association risks losing its values if it abandons the religious element of the oath.
“It would be terribly sad,” said Mike Judge, spokesman for The Christian Institute. “The Girl Guides has always embraced all people but has its roots in Christian values, which is what has made it so popular and successful.
“It will be very difficult for it to maintain its values if it removes the ethics from where those ideas spring from. It would change the character of the Guides for the worse.
“Sadly, I think this is symptomatic of a much wider problem in Britain, which stems from a culture of embarrassment about being Christian.”