The Guide Movement, led by former Family Planning Head Julie Bentley, is threatening to expel Guide Leaders in Harrogate who are refusing to drop God from the Guide Mandate as a consequence of a complaint from atheist Jem Henderson, with the support of the National Secular Society.
Former condom Czar Julie Bentley was only in post six months when she mandated the removal of ‘love of God’ and ‘service of country’ from the Guide Promise. But the Guide leaders of Harrogate have publicly stated that they will not use the new PC version of the Guide Promise.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
‘But now a group of leaders from Harrogate, North Yorks, have signalled publicly that they plan to defy the leadership and continue to use the old pledge at the groups which meet in their church.
Hazel Mitford, who runs the Guide group at St Paul’s United Reformed Church, in Harrogate; Jayne Morrison, the Brownie leader and Alison Ellison, who runs the Rainbow group for younger girls, announced that they will encourage all girls and leaders in their groups to continue to use the original promise.
In a joint letter with the church’s minister, published in the Harrogate Advertiser, they voiced “dismay” at the change and insisted the movement should keep “God at its core”.
Mrs Mitford declined to comment last night but her letter sets out the women’s stance. “The spiritual aspect is recognised in girlguiding and ‘God’ has been part of the promise since it was founded,” they said.
“The divine is fundamental to everything it stands for. No one need join Girlguiding, so removing the reference to God in the interests of inclusivity removes much of what we stand for.”
They added: “Girlguiding has God at its core and anyone who has issue with this is free to start their own organisation.”
Last night a spokeswoman for Girlguiding confirmed that only the new pledge will be recognised and signalled that the rebel leaders could eventually be forced out if they did not comply.
She said: “The members decide to take the promise and to commit to Guiding values, they need to absolutely sure that they believe those values and if they cannot they need to consider their membership of Guiding.”
She added: “It is not September yet so we will cross that bridge when we come to it. We will be working closely with local guiding to make sure that all our members understand what the new promise means to them.
“There will be no alternative promise as our members made very clear in the consultation that there would be one promise for all.”‘
Here is the original letter from the Harrogate Guide Leaders:
‘Dismay at major changes
As members of Girlguiding UK and St Paul’s United Reformed Church, Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, we wish to express our dismay at the recent changes to the Guide Promise. In particular we object to the replacement of the already inclusive phrase ‘to love my God’ with ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’ and ‘to serve my country’ with ‘to serve my community’.
The spiritual aspect is recognised in girlguiding and ‘God’ has been part of the promise since it was founded. The divine is fundamental to everything it stands for. No-one need join girlguiding, so removing the reference to God in the interests of inclusivity removes much of what we stand for. You would not join the Lawn Tennis Association and insist they had to make provision for all other sports. Girlguiding has God at its core and anyone who has issue with this is free to start their own organisation.
The changes have been brought in by unelected officials and although there was some consultation, over half a million members had no say in the wording of the new promise. We are told we must use only the new promise from September 1. Our Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, with the full backing of St Paul’s Elders who support us and provide our premises for free, have decided that our girls and leaders should continue to use the previous promise, though anyone unable to make this may make the new one.
Hazel Mitford, Guide Guider
Jayne Morrison, Brownie Guider
Alison Ellison, Rainbow Guider
Brian Hunt, Minister
The National Secular Society, led by the homosexuals Terry Sanderson and Keith Porteous Wood, is putting pressure on the Girlguiding movement to deal with the Harrogate guide leaders, resulting in the threat of expulsion. The NSS have launched an angry campaign, under the banner ‘Anger as Christian Girl Guide leaders refuse to implement secular Promise.’
‘An atheist Guide leader in Harrogate has been told she will not be able to take the new Girlguide Promise because local troop leaders are refusing to drop God from their traditional promise. Former Brownie and Girlguide, Jem Henderson, joined the Girlguides as a volunteer leader in June after hearing about the introduction of a new secular Promise The new plege comes into effect from 1 September, but this week Ms Henderson was informed by the pack leader that she wouldn’t be able to take the revised Promise as the unit will be keeping the overtly religious one.’
‘Jem Henderson said: “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 Guiding principles. This demonstrates that the new promise is just for show, and that the Guiding movement, at least in Harrogate, is still excluding people from secular walks of life.”
‘The National Secular Society has written to Girlguiding UK seeking clarification that all units will be required to use the new Promise. Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society said: “The introduction of one secular Promise for all was a hugely positive and welcome development. It is disgraceful that some within the movement are letting their personal beliefs stand in the way of the clear will of the organisation and the vast majority of people that took part in the consultation.
“Girlguides were very clear in their wish for all members to make the same Promise. We therefore trust the organisation will ensure all units implement the new promise without fail to ensure Girlguiding is equally welcoming to all girls, whatever their religious beliefs.”
Protect the Pope comment: The guide leaders of Harrogate have no doubt been involved in the guide movement all their lives, giving up their free time to provide fun and education to countless numbers of girls and young women. But this dedication and generosity will mean nothing to the secularists who have hijacked yet another Christian-based institution of our country. Jem Henderson, a self-described ‘post punk, feminist poet’ with the support of the secular police Sanderson and Porteous Wood, will most probably succeed in driving these good women out of girlguiding. Archbishop Emeritus Rowan Williams and Archbishop Vin Nichols say that there is no persecution of Christians in this country. What is this then your Eminences? Will you tell us to grow up because we’re concerned about women being threatened with expulsion because they refuse to drop the God? Maybe you’ll tell us to hold our tongues?