Chair East London Humanists, David Kaufman is proud to help make Guides’ vow secular


- Credit: Archant

A survey published this September by Radio 1’s Newsbeat found that over a quarter of the youngsters interviewed distrust Muslims. There are also worrying levels of mistrust of other religious groups. This should prompt all of us who want a society at peace with itself to reflect urgently on what to do.

The Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred provides an answer. Their spokesman, Akeela Ahmed, said: “These findings indicate that we need to ensure young people are mixing at local levels and that they’re working on projects together so that people can get to know Muslims and vice versa.”

How can mixing and cooperation be achieved? Two welcome and momentous developments point the way forward. The British Humanist Association (BHA) is proud of the important role it played in both.

On September 1, the promise for Guides, Rainbows and Brownies was changed after consultation with the BHA. The promise ends the religious discrimination of the old promise.

It means the Guide movement is now inclusive of all children irrespective of their beliefs.

Similarly, on October 7 the UK Scout Association announced a new alternative promise which will come into force on January 1. The Scouts and Guides were the last major non-religious membership organisations to discriminate on the grounds of religion.

Unfortunately the government has no answer. Their backward policy of encouraging the proliferation of faith schools flies in the face of the evidence. Faith schools serve to divide children on religious, ethnic and social grounds.

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Humanists are at the forefront of campaigning against faith schools and are pleased our views are shared across the political and religious spectrum.

In the end a secular school system will provide the best protection against discrimination and the best chance of future generations living in harmony.