Girl Guide unit sticks with original God oath

A Girl Guide unit is refusing to adopt the organisation's new oath that omits the word "God".

According to The Times, St Paul's in Harrogate told a volunteer leader wanting to make the new Promise that it is "sticking with the previous Promise". 

The Girl Guides announced in June that they were changing the Promise from the original pledge "to love my God", to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs" instead.  The promise to serve "my country" was also replaced with "my community".  The promise to serve the Queen remains unchanged.

Jem Henderson, an atheist and volunteer leader at the unit, wants to take the secular pledge.  

"The pack leader's insistence on keeping the old Promise excludes me and any other atheist girls from the troop, or asks us to lie when making the promise, something that surely goes against the principles of the Guides," she was quoted as saying by The Times.

The group's position was made known to her in a letter by its leader Hazel Mitford.

Mrs Mitford told The Times: "She wouldn't necessarily have been needing to use it [the Promise] anyway. She made a Promise when she was a guide. If she was continuing to be a leader she can join a unit and make the new Promise. There are lots of units in Harrogate."

The new Promise comes into effect in September, the first time Guides will not pledge their allegiance to God and country since the organisation came into being over a hundred years ago.