George Bernard Shaw, Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Girl Guides Go for Nietzsche

 Girl Guides of Canada via Flickr
The Girl Guides are good eggs. They get girls to do stuff, mess around, run about and learn how to sew, bake, hide, spot constellations, recycle and make tea.

But now they're teaching them to be little Nietzscheans. They have killed God, expunging Him from the pledge. Or at least that is how the Christian press are sure to spin this latest development. But let's not panic just yet. I'm not sure the Girl Guides was ever a truly Christian organisation. It's not affiliated to one particular church or under kind of religious authority. It's just when it was set up, God was part of the package, along with King and Country.

Except the Country bit has gone too, replaced with the word 'community'. The Nation State is dead to the Girl Guide movement. Call off the UN delegation. It's all about the local now.

So God's dead. The Nation has vanished. But the Queen remains in the pledge - majestic and proud. After all, the Guides are blue-dressed helpers, not red boiler-suited revolutionaries. It seems odd the organisation is happy to swear allegiance to an inherited monarchy rather than the Nation or The Supreme Being, but these are strange times we live in.

The new pledge goes as follows:
I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law.
You might have felt queasy as you read the middle part of that pledge. It might have struck you as you read the words 'To be true to myself'. Alternatively, at point you might have felt like bursting into song and singing 'A Whole New World' from Walt Disney's Aladdin. (See below) 'Being true to myself' is the gospel of Disney. I am who I am and I'm fine with that. It's okay but it's not exactly aspirational. At least they stopped short of having to pledge 'to be true to myself and everyone else can just deal with it, yeah?'.

It's not the beginning of the end. Girl Guides are a voluntary coming together of children from all creeds and backgrounds to do interesting, fun and useful things. Enforcing some kind of oath of allegiance is not just dumb, it's anti-Christian. I'm with Jesus on this one, who says "Do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

So there it is. Don't drop God from the oath. Just drop the oath.

If you'd like to read more of this sort of thing, why not buy my book, Death by Civilisation, full of articles about the sacred and the secular? Also available for the Kindle.

Anyway, I'd like to finish with a song...

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