Scouting Group Girlguiding UK Revises ‘Promise’ So That Non-Religious Girls Can Join

Two years ago, seven-year-old Maddie Willett was told that she had to pledge an oath to god if she wanted to remain in Girlguiding UK (their version of the Girl Scouts).

The pledge reads: ‘I promise that I will do my best, to love my God, to serve the Queen and my country, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide law.’

Her parents, Barry and Juliette Willett, are furious the 2nd Crawley Down Brownies troop in West Sussex has refused to alter the wording so their daughter could make the promise.

‘We don’t have a belief in God and our daughter is yet to make her decision,’ Mrs Willett said.

‘It’s a big decision for her to make and it would be offensive for an atheist to say they love God.’

Much like the Boy Scouts of America still do today, atheists were not allowed to become members of Girlguiding UK — at least not ones who were open and honest about their non-belief.

Unlike the BSA, though, Girlguiding UK has done something wonderful: Today, they announced a revision to the Promise that will allow openly non-religious girls to join the organization without a problem.

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Did You Know That Christians Are Getting Bullied (and Beaten Up) by Gays?!

Samantha Bee, I love you:

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Catholic Blogger: Selling Gay People Flowers for a Wedding is Like Selling Bank Robbers a Bag for the Money

Rebecca Hamilton, a fellow Patheos blogger, recently posted about a small business owner in Washington (state) who is being sued for refusing to provide flowers for a wedding.

As you might expect, the only reason she denied the couple in question flowers for their wedding is because they happened to be gay. Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, claimed that she had no problem selling flowers to LGBT people… as long as it’s not for a gay wedding because that would involve “actively participating in something that just about all traditional Christians consider sinful.” As a result, she’s countersuing the state saying that her constitutional rights were violated.

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Help Us Out and Tell Us What You Do!

Every now and then, the writers on this site will be working on a post about, say, Creationism being taught in a high school biology class… and we realize it would be great if we could talk to an atheist who teaches high school biology! Maybe we want to quote you in the post. Or (more likely) we just need to ask you a question about high school science curriculums in general.

It’s not just education — there are many times when we have questions about business or law or medicine or music, but we don’t know anyone in those fields we can talk to.

So we’re trying to compile an online Rolodex of sorts and that’s where we could use your help. If you work in a particular profession (like medicine or law) or have an expertise in some area (like video games), we’d love to be able to get in touch with you in the event that we’re working on a story about that subject.

We created a form for you to fill out. It should only take you a minute to complete, and it’ll allow us to compile a database of contacts that we can use when we need to. (Obviously, we’re not going to post the information you give us anywhere, and we’re not going to contact you unless we really need your input about something.)

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Why Don’t We Have More Productive Conversations Online?

A couple of months ago, Robby Bensinger defended Sam Harris against his critics’ charges of Islamophobia and he was still doing it a couple of weeks ago.

But the biggest question he’s left with after all of that back-and-forth is: Why were those conversations so unproductive? He’s intelligent. His opponents are intelligent. So why did it feel like they were talking past each other so much of the time? Why did it feel like both sides were more interested in scoring “points” rather than coming to a better understanding of the other side and (possibly) modifying their own opinions?

(Anyone else feeling déjà vu?)

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