The Girl Scouts of the USA has faced no shortage of controversy over its purportedly leftist slant and a once-highly controversial separation from its religious roots. In 1993, the group allowed for more flexibility in its use of the word "God," allowing girls who didn't embrace the Judeo-Christian worldview to substitute the word for something that seemed more personally fitting. Now, it seems the Girl Guides of Australia, a Girl Scouts sister organization, is following suit.
The decision to remove references to both God and the queen comes as the organization appears to be experiencing a major decrease in membership. The International Herald Tribune, a publication of The New York Times, has more:
Millions have paid their respects this year to Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60th year on the throne. But a group of her young subjects, the Girl Guides of Australia, have now deleted the queen from their oath, along with a reference to God. [...]
The Girl Guides, a sister organization of the Girl Scouts, has 10 million members worldwide. Founded in Britain in 1910, the Girl Guides have about 28,000 members in Australia, down from a reported high of 80,000.
With the deletions of God and queen, the Guides hope “to be seen as more inclusive and a modern, relevant organization and that many more women will like to join us,” said Belinda Allen, director of Girl Guides Australia.
Before the change, the girls who participated would pledge an oath to multiple parties. They swore to "do my duty to God, to serve the queen and my country." The new oath, though, takes a divergent approach, reading, "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."
This more generic pledge is creating a stir among those who believe it's improper to remove "God" and the queen. Others, including atheists and non-believers, contend that it was a viable decision based on an overwhelming need to "modernize."
Watch ABC News for more about the controversy:
You can also read more about the decision to remove "God" here.