Can of worms – check.
Tin opener – check.
Apply opener to can and stand well back……
Ok, I am being a little facetious as this is an important subject. Today the Scout Association has announced that it is considering an alternative oath (promise) so that atheists can become full members. I am inclined to think that they should now be able as this is currently the only belief (or lack of!) or lifestyle choice (for want of a better phrase) that stops people joining the Scouts (except for the obvious illegal, sick and/or dangerous ones). Now despite what side of the argument you may sit upon, and there is going to be some argument with hissy fits thrown, the main thing is that a unilateral decision has not been made and the Scout Association is asking its members what they think through a survey. And even better, once the survey is closed, the results will be examined by an independent organisation who will then report back to the SA what their members want it to do.
This consultation was announced today and it is appearing all over the media and it seems that we are getting some very positive coverage.
Interestingly all this is not specifically about faith, but about the fundamentals of Scouting, however they do make on point particularly clear –
No matter what the outcome of the consultation, the existing Scout Promise and its alternatives will continue to be used. Scouting remains a values-based Movement and our programme with young people will continue to enable them to explore their faiths, beliefs and attitudes as well as share in spiritual reflection.
Let’s just hope that this will now end the silly press stories along the lines of “little Johnny couldn’t join Scouts because he’s a disciple of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”!
Interestingly the Guides have announced a review of their promise today as well.