Girl Guides Australia Promoting Secular Values

Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Featured, Thoughts | 0 comments

In a bold move toward a secular Australia, it was recently announced that Girl Guides Australia will be removing any reference to “God and The Queen” in all their pledges. Instead of the old pledge, emphasising fealty to a deity and a monarch, the girls are now being told to “trust themselves and their beliefs.” A far cry from the theistic notions that atheists are trying to steal god from public life, this has instead been a reaction to the new multifaceted country we find ourselves in; Australians represent hundreds of religious beliefs, as well as agnostics and atheists, so the move to remove god is welcomed. It seems secularity is moving into the 21st century finally.

The updated Girl Guide Promise reads:

I promise that I will do my best

To be true to myself and develop my beliefs 

To serve my community and Australia 

And live by the Guide Law

… and the Guide Law is:

• Respect myself and others

• Be considerate, honest and trustworthy 

• Be friendly to others 

• Make choices for a better world 

• Use my time and abilities wisely 

• Be thoughtful and optimistic

• Live with courage and strength

This is a collection of values I think we could all do well to abide by.

While this is just a small move, for me it represents some great moves forward by Australia. The removal of fealty to The Queen is welcomed since the British royal family have had little interest in the politics of our nation for decades now. The removal of God is welcomed, since religions are so varied, and beliefs are so widespread that to pledge to any one belief system is narrow minded. The biggest thing this change brings forward is that the girls are told to trust themselves and their own beliefs. This leaves room for personal worship and the like, but also works as an empowerment tool for young Australian women. All up, I can’t see how this could be a bad thing.

In addition to this, the ABC reports:

In the new Guide law “loyal” has been replaced with “respect”. “Helpful” with “considerate”. “Obedience” has been abandoned and instead girls are encouraged to make choices for a better world.

That “loyalty” and “obedience” have been stricken from the pledge shows just how forward thinking GGA is; loyalty and obedience are things to be taught to dogs, not to the young women of the world. Empowering young women to trust in themselves and their abilities is something we should all encourage. Monarchy and piety to god have no place in this conversation.

Scouts however are showing no signs of doing the same. Scouts Australia has retained its pledge of “duty to god and the queen”, an antiquated notion that seems to come straight from the trenches of World War One. That it continues only shows that Scouts Australia are not keeping up with the secular demands of the 21st century.

I applaud Girl Guides Australia for promoting these secular values, and hope that it is a sign of things to come in australia, and indeed, the world.

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