THE father of an 11-year-old boy who has no belief in God has accused the Scout movement of being “narrow minded” and “intolerant” after his was barred from the 1st Midsomer Norton Group in Somerset.
According to this report, George Pratt had attended his local Scout group for ten months, and was expecting to invest in the group along with his friends. But, after being required to swear the traditional promise, he found himself unable to join as he does not believe in God.
George said he was “very disappointed” in the decision, calling it “very unfair” and claiming he feels left out from experiences and trips his friends are attending.
To become a full member of the group, which meets in a hall opposite his home, George must take the Scout Promise. This reads:
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.
Different versions of the oath are available for different faiths, such as the use of ‘Allah’ to replace ‘God’ for Muslims.
A spokesman for the Scout Movement has insisted all young members are required to make the Scout Promise, recognising their duty to a God relevant to their faith.
I am really disappointed about not being able to go anymore just because I don’t believe in God.
We have spoken about it with the Scout Leader but he won’t change his decision, it is very unfair.
My friends who are Scouts don’t think it is right, either. Everyone is going caving soon and I’ve never been before. It is something I would love to do but I’m not allowed.
The determined youngster added:
I’m not going to change my decision though.
His father Nick Pratt, 45, said:
To be invested into the Scouts you have to believe in a God but it does not say which religion that God is from. So you can be Muslim or Buddhist, but if you have the courage to stand up and admit that you do not believe in any God then look out because you are not welcome into the Scout community.
This is regardless of the fact that you are sensitive, generous, kind and genuinely a good person.
George had the guts to stand up and admit his view and I believe the Scouts are being narrow minded.
There are a lot of Christian organisations which do not exclude anybody. It just seems the Scouts in this area isn’t one of them.
Simon Carter, assistant director of media relations for the movement, said:
Young people are required to show both an understanding (relevant to their age) and an acceptance of the promise before they become a member. Young people will not be refused membership solely because of their parents’ beliefs or non-beliefs, however they are required to make the promise as outlined above.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn