scout leader argues that exclusion of an atheist is against the
principals of the movement as exemplified by one of the first ever
troops formed in Chiswick nearly a century ago
fate of, Darrel Lambert, a boy Scout in Port Orchard, Seattle who
was excluded from his troop for being an atheist has angered both
local Scout leaders and atheists. His story prompted a local resident
to write to the Boy Scouts of America National Council to complain.
On reading this letter, the former Group Scout Leader of 1st Chiswick
(currently not operating due to lack of leaders) recounted this
of the oldest Scout troops in the world was founded here in Chiswick
in April 1908 by Harold Price. Originally Scout troops were founded
by children who had bought Baden-Powells ‘Scouting for Boys’ and
decided to start their own group. Only later did adults get involved,
so Baden Powell was technically never the founder, the boys were.
Price was a member of Chiswick Free Church and when the Troop became
too big for him to manage on his own, he sought an HQ.
was offered the Church Hall, but only on condition that the boys
all became members of the church. Since his friends at that time
included a Jew, a Muslim, boys of various Christian denominations
and mostly boys of no religion at all, he realised that taking up
the church’s offer would restrict who could join the Scouts.
that Baden Powell would never have approved of that (because he
said that Scouting held no brief for one set of beliefs over another),
he refused the church’s offer and declared that the Group must always
be independent of any church in order to be open to all.
policy is written in stone in the group and it has always been open
to all faiths and none, although boys are asked to make the duty
to God part of the promise, which few object to.
there is an ongoing campaign to change the Scouts’ policy in the
UK to introduce an option that would make duty to God non-compulsory.
up for our free weekly newsletter
Scout Group Out to Raise £65,000
- Beaver Scout Leaders
and Guides in Chiswick