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A letter from the president of the BHA. Very welcome news.
Dear all,

Many of you will know that a long-standing campaign of the BHA has been to get the Scout Association and Girlguiding UK to change their membership pledges, known as Promises, to be inclusive of the non-religious. Until recently, both organisations have required all members to pledge to ‘do my duty to God’ (or some variant). We were thrilled when both organisations announced last December that they were to consult on changing their Promises, and even more so when both organisations approached us to work with them in this.

Last month Girlguiding UK went ahead and removed the reference to God from their Promise.

Today we are very pleased to be able to bring you the further good news that the Scout Association has decided to introduce a secular Promise as a new option for members, allowing those with no religion to join for the first time.

We have been working very closely with the Scouts over the last few months to help them develop this new Promise and overcome all the difficulties in doing so. Last week, the last details were dealt with and the Scout Association is to announce the change tomorrow. The new alternative Promise replaces ‘do my duty to God’ with ‘uphold our Scout values’.

As the only non-religious organisation working with them on this, we gave the Scouts a promise to keep the work confidential while it was going on so have only been able to let you know this now – but I’m sure you will agree it represents brilliant work by our staff team!

This sort of patient behind-the-scenes work rarely makes headlines and means we don’t always get the credit for all the things we accomplish, but it’s what makes us a trusted and effective organisation. Individual progressive changes like today’s that are not only achievements in themselves, but help to set society as a whole on a more humanist path.

I wanted to share this news with you today because we just couldn’t do work like this without your support so if you’re not already a member please do consider joining today at humanism.org.uk/join. And if you are, do consider donating to the fundraising appeal we are currently running, to keep our faith schools campaigner in his job for another year at justgiving.com/nofaithschools.

With very best wishes,

Jim Al-Khalili
President, British Humanist Association
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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...