SCOUTS TURN ON GOD AND QUEEN
JACKIE SINNERTON REVEALS PLAN FOR A DRAMATIC CHANGE OF ALLEGIANCE
GOD and the Queen would be eliminated from the scout pledge under proposals by Scouts Australia to include children of all religions and nationalities.
Instead of pledging “I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and the Queen” the new option is “I promise that I will do my best to be true to my spiritual beliefs”.
If approved by the country’s 70,000 members, the National Council of Australia will vote on the reworded Promise and Law next year.
Over the past 18 months the association has been re- viewing the educational program delivered to children and young adults in a bid to make it more inclusive.
“Scouts Australia has been carefully looking at where our Australian society is heading,” Chief Commissioner of Australia Chris Bates said.
When young people or adult leaders join the scouting movement they are required to make a promise, and agree to abide by the Scout Law.
These are worded to reflect the fundamentals of scouting as set by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, to which Australia belongs.
In the past 50 years, Scouts Australia has seen at least four changes to its Promise and Law as societal expectations and language evolved but this would be the first move to erase references to God and the Queen.
“It would be a sad development to see a major part of the pledge removed,” said Wendy Francis, Queensland state director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
“It will be interesting to see if change results in a dramatic recovery in enrolments or whether it has the effect of making scouting a less meaningful pursuit.”
Scouting has had a revival in Queensland in the past few years, with the state tb boasting 15,000 members.
“Scouts Queensland membership has seen strong growth in the last four years which is why it is important that we seek feedback from every member and parent to ensure we are relevant in a contemporary Australia,” Queensland Chief Commissioner Kirsty Brown said.
Brisbane father-of-two and scout leader Malcolm Aldridge said while he believed in Christian values and was a traditionalist, he understood the need for the scout movement to consider change.
“I am not against the royal family in any way but I think the reference to the Queen is not relevant to a diverse range of people,” he said.