Atheist boy refused membership in Scouts

Published 20 October 2012  |  
An atheist 11-year-old from the United Kingdom was recently banned from the Scouts after he refused to pledge allegiance to God and the Queen.

"Variations of the Scout Promise are available for different faiths (such as the use of 'Allah' to replace 'God' for Muslim Scouts), however all the variations of the promise recognise the 'Duty to God' element," a Scouts spokesman explained.

George Pratt was dismissed from his Radstock, Somerset Scouts chapter after he refused to pledge allegiance to God.

"Young people are required to show both an understanding, relevant to their age, and an acceptance of the promise before they become a member," the spokesperson added, according to The Daily Mail.

Pratt had been attending the 1st Midsomer Norton Group in Somerset for 10 months before he was asked to give the Scout's Promise pledge.

Pratt argues that the decision is "very unfair" and that he was excited to make new friends through the Scouts group.

"I am really disappointed about not being able to go anymore just because I don't believe in God," Pratt told The Telegraph.

"I'm not going to change my decision though," the boy added.

The boy's father, Nick Pratt, 45, has argued that he believes his son should be allowed into the organisation regardless of religious affiliation.

"Christianity is meant to be about being tolerant, forgiving and understanding," Pratt told The Sun.

"You are allowed to join if you are a Christian or a Muslim, but you can't not believe in God," he continued, adding "this is regardless of the fact that you are sensitive, generous, kind and genuinely a good person."

Great Britain's Scout Association was founded in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell as a part of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.

Since 2007, Great Britain's Scout programme has allowed both boys and girls to participate. The organisation has always required participants to carry some form of religious faith in a higher power, and has repeatedly received criticism from the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association.

The Scout's Promise reads as follows: "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."

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