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The Girl Guides’ new oath – sincere secularism or juvenile ageism?

A dismissive attitude to older generations will not help the Guides movement prosper

By on Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Girl Guides parade down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh (PA)

Girl Guides parade down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh (PA)

Catholics might be disappointed to learn that a group of Christian Girl Guides, who initially refused to drop the traditional pledge to “love my God” from their oath, will now be using the Girl Guides’ new secular oath, “to be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.

I was never a member of the Girl Guides so I cannot pretend to feel especially passionate about this latest victory for secularists, many who hold sincere and well-meaning beliefs about the benefits of a secular ethos.

But I was struck by the comment from an ‘atheist volunteer leader’ which was featured in the Daily Telegraph today.

Responding to the news that the St Paul’s Harrogate troop will now be using the secular oath, the 28 year-old, Jem Henderson, said: “It’s a new oath, and more leaders that are younger and perhaps less stuck in their ways should make Guiding more exciting for people that want to join that don’t just want to go and sit in a church hall with women who are older than their mothers talking about whatever it is they’re talking about.”

“Women who are older than their mothers talking about whatever it is they’re talking about?” Does this comment reflect sincere secularism or juvenile ageism? Will this dismissive mentality make “a positive difference to Girl Guides’ lives and their communities?”

Admittedly, many of us can recall teenage times when we rolled our eyes at an elderly relative’s favourite anecdote but with the benefit of maturity one spots the priceless wisdom in the advice they imparted. I personally regret not having listened more closely to the stories my grandparents told but, thankfully, I do remember my Polish grand father speaking of his experience when the Russian army occupied Eastern Poland during World War Two. He told me how he had prayed the Memorare as he hid from armed men in a forest in Poland. Crouching in the undergrowth as he prayed, he overheard the men tell each other: “If you find that Polish dog, shoot it”. Having survived this terror he always maintained his prayer was answered.

Most of us who grow out of ageism come to cherish those tiny tales of love of God and love of country. “Being true to oneself and developing your beliefs” is not as inspiring when you believe that anyone over 45 is an irrelevant bore.

  • Tridentinus

    Of course you were, dear: night night.

  • Julian Lord

    What “logical fallacy” ????

    Pointing out your misunderstanding of rhetorics, and its figures of thought and speech and writing, by virtue of the fact that you have most likely never studied the Art, is the description of a fact, not involving any logical process whatsoever.

    factual … therefore logical

    Your extreme confusion concerning these things is self-evident (logic is not a function of factuality) ; and yet you continuously rant on about “logic” and “fallacies” and various content-free assertions purporting in your extremely naïve and ill-informed manner to suggest that whilst you yourself are some kind of paragon of “rational” “logicality”, any Catholics disagreeing with you must therefore (by a priori principle) be “irrational” and “fundamentalist”.

    How you could expect anything from such an inherently ludicrous position as yours to be taken “seriously” is beyond me …

  • Alex

    This is not ageism, but is just reflecting the inescapable fact that young Britons are no longer religious. Less than half the under-25s now profess the Christian faith; this is a huge demographic shift from one or two generations ago. So yes, when it comes to religion, people are no longer interested in the thoughts of people older than their mothers.

  • Julian Lord

    I clearly showed how your use of the word is inaccurate

    There is NEVER any substance to your posts.

    Indoctrination is the process whereby people are induced to believe doctrines.

    Doctrines are central teachings of any coherently organised system of belief, philosophical, religious, political, or otherwise. The organisation of such systems might be either overtly provided by formally constituted groups of individuals, but more frequently the doctrines in question belong to various perfectly informal schools of thought.

    The vast majority of indoctrination in the modern world occurs through propaganda provided by the mass media, whether it might be of governmental origin, from various lobby groups wishing to publicly promote whichever political agenda, and whether overtly in “documentaries” and other such “factual” sources such as various news programmes, or covertly in the form of various kinds of popular entertainment used to promote the doctrines in question, such as the ghastly sexual “morality” of the modern age for example, and its blatant promotion in various forms of televisual fiction.

    The principle source, which is to say the wealthiest and the largest and the most organised, of the pro-contraception, pro-abortion population control propaganda that you have been spouting out continuously in this website is the Rothschild Foundation and its numerous satellite organisations and partners (such as Planned Parenthood) that it provides massive funding for, which has been creating this propaganda and disseminating it since about the 1920s.

    I have never seen any evidence linking these activities with Freemasonry BTW, though the coherence between the methods of Masonry and those of these population control ideologues is undeniable.

    There is no “set of beliefs” involved in my thinking

    As has been pointed out numerous times, despairingly in the face of your pig-headed rejection of cognitive reality, this is an utterly ludicrous claim, given that thinking as such is impossible in the absence of a belief system. Only infants and the severely mentally handicapped can be described as being without belief systems.

    So, you’re a baby boomer — what a “surprise”.

    The trendy Marxist/Trotskyist propaganda that was prevalent throughout the 1960s to 1970s higher education systems in much of the West oozes out of everything that you write…

  • Julian Lord

    I despair of your reading “skills” …

  • Julian Lord

    That you should pour your neverending scorn on anything that is of religious or divine beauty, and seek instead to replace it with your hideous brand of self-centred intolerant barbarity is no surprise to those of us familiar with your so-called pseudo-“agnosticism”, the origin of which is in Hell.

  • Julian Lord

    negation is intrinsic to disagreement

    pure word-play now — the words “negatives” (as used) and “negation” are not synonymous.

    So, if a girl who does not believe that God exists wants to join the Girl Guides, what would be your advice to her if she was faced with having to recite the original oath?

    Convert to Christianity, or join a different youth organisation.

    Is there any law preventing the creation of secularist/atheist/agnostic/Hindu/Muslim/etc youth organisations, or even ones that are entirely neutral to these various religions or ideologies ?

    But it seems that anything that is Christian must be actively de-christianised.

    Do you ever see any Catholics whipping up a frenzy of political agitation to have any Jewish, or Sikh, or Polish immigrant, or any other such non-Catholic youth groups to abandon their own identities and replace them with something entirely different ?

    But yes, as predicted, yet another of your typical online campaigns against the Christian Faith.

    Such a trigger is involuntary in that one cannot just decide to believe

    Blaise Pascal says otherwise. My own conversion definitely involved a conscious decision. You’re simply discussing something that you have no personal knowledge of.

    More fundamentally, you’re completely wrong. Cognitively, every individual belief in anyone’s belief system, whichever that might be, is based on an effort of Will typically involving a decision, howsoever that the decision might be conscious or otherwise.

  • Julian Lord

    We “dullards” and our “imaginary friend” seem to have decided that the answer to the question posed by the author of the article must be :

    Q : sincere secularism or juvenile ageism?

    A : No — rancid and dishonest anti-Christianity AND juvenile ageism

    The idea that such a person as this will be let loose to foist this hideously bigoted atheist propaganda upon dozens of young girls is a fine illustration of the state of Britain in 2013

  • Julian Lord

    Jefferson is not the sum total of “the founding fathers”, though it seems that he personally was a Deist.

    I believe that George Washington made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, and therefore did in fact receive Holy Eucharistic Communion.

    Franklin’s religiosity is, I believe, a contentious subject.

    I realise that a 1984-style rewriting of History to suit contemporary times is endemic to the discipline, but the fact that the USA has developed into a Federation based on Deist, syncretist, and secularist values does NOT mean that the initial founding documents were not originally based on protestant notions.

    Furthermore, the authorship of the Constitution is not the sum total of the origin of the USA in the first place, and it cannot be denied that various protestant sects of Christianity provided the very nature of the original thirteen States of the Union.

  • Jem Henderson

    Bonjour, troll boy. Didn’t you read the bible quote? Guides shouldnt swear to god anyway. Not just that, but you also don’t understand the difference between post-theism and atheism.

  • JR, Sydney

    Just read Ms Philips; last comment and couldn’t help thinking that one of the delights of senescence is the realisation that age is no barrier to being an irrelevant bore. Good to hear her Polish grandfather got lucky. Thousands didn’t, Memorare or no.

  • TreenonPoet

    Ah! So your accusation that my original comment is against the Faith is based on your misunderstanding that the Girl Guides is a Christian organisation. It is not a Christian organisation, so your accusation is false.

    I disagree with the last part of your post because free will is an illusion.

  • $20596475

    Yet another typical JP mistake. You are again claiming your opinion as fact, without a shred of supporting evidence. You even follow “most likely” with “description of a fact”. That really is factual evidence of your error.

    Everything else you say immediately becomes irrelevant and must therefore be ignored. That you accuse me, and others who simply disagree with you as “ludicrous” is well described by that word itself.

  • $20596475

    “There is NEVER any substance to your posts.”

    Is merely an opinion and one that I obviously reject.

    However if you believe it then please feel free to totally ignore everything I say and leave it to any others who do feel there is some substance to respond.

    I won’t bore others with a detailed analysis and rejection of your long and tedious post, which demonstrates to me, and I suspect to many others, which poster here really is indoctrinated. Clue:- it isn’t me!

    Just to remind others. JP tactic 4:-

    Confuse and Conquer: (Pseudo science or philosophy word-salad, similar to a gish-gallop in a debate)

  • $20596475

    I despair of you

  • $20596475

    I am not pouring any scorn on the words themselves, which are of doubtless beauty.

    I am pouring scorn on your use of them.

    It is absolutely typical that you cannot distinguish the very obvious difference, or enjoy a tongue in cheek remark for the smile it might raise.

  • sarah

    Our church hall is used for keep fit classes. They are well behaved and we enjoy the income. I doubt if many go to church.

  • sarah

    This is absolutely ridiculous – If you can see something sinister in the girls guides. Guides do great work in this country and the leaders are genuine volunteers. They are growing. When I ran the youth group in the local catholic parish for 15 years it was my experience from guides which helped me.

  • sarah
  • sarah

    Sorry not a good link – just google “girlguide membership figures growing “

  • Julian Lord

    The Girl Guides are no longer Christian. Which part of the general disgust with this development have you failed to understand ?

  • Julian Lord

    I can’t help it if people are so influenced by secularist/masonic propaganda that they can no longer even perceive its presence, confusing it instead with “fact”.

  • TreenonPoet

    There is no general disgust. Regarding the change to the oath, there was overwhelming support in the Guide movement for the change. That is hardly surprising, given that prior to the change the movement emphasised its inclusiveness, and I do not mean in the sense of welcoming potential converts to Christianity. The girlguiding uk website states ”Girlguiding is not and never has been a Christian organisation”, so I do not know what other ‘development’ you might be referring to.

    There is no need to be nasty in your comment by trying to suggest that the failure is mine, as if I do not have the intelligence to understand. This is an example of the sort of attitude that majorcalamity was complaining about.

    What I find disgusting is the attitude of some commenters on this thread who seem to think that girls should be punished for not believing in God (either by excluding them from the Guides, or causing them to lie under oath). It is often said that people choose their religion, but this is slightly misleading because people are slaves to their experiences. Just what good would punishment for not believing in God do?

  • $24570317

    The statement is absurd, I know. But it’s one of yours.

    But neither it, nor its refutation, is anything to do with “reality”.

  • Julian Lord

    Actually, looking into this a bit further, it is clear that the Baden-Powells had strong links with freemasonry, and their descendents are Masons.

  • $20596475

    If you keep on using these tactics I will keep on reminding others of what they are. You stop, and so will I. No more reasoning is needed. The evidence speaks for itself.

  • $24570317

    “Agreed, but you are under no moral obligation to tell the truth…”

    I do believe that you would be under a moral obligation to tell the truth under oath in a court – whatever the oath, if it were recognised by the court/state to be a valid oath.
    My reason for this belief is (my further belief) that courts should be assisted in their quest to discover the truth about matters, which I (again further believe) is in the interests of all of us.

  • $24570317

    We’re talking here of one word only, the different understandings of which, in some but not all respects, do exist – and always have done.

    The God in the original oath simply reflected the times when the UK was a Christian country and most believed the Christian faith.

  • $24570317

    “Deist and secularist in nature, as the society of the USA has inched further and further away from Christianity as a founding principle.”

    At least one other person, in addition to myself, has already corrected you on this muddled understanding.
    Your stated view is exactly (180 degrees) the wrong way around.

  • $24570317

    “it seems that he [Jefferson] personally was a Deist.”

    “I believe that George Washington made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism..”

    Sources please.

    Washington is not an important figure here and would have played no role (other than military) were it not for Tom Paine’s efforts. Some of the most revealing facts are revealed in the writings (including letters) of Jefferson and madison.

  • Tridentinus

    What is a moral obligation and whereupon doth it lie?