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The instinct to defend oath-taking and swearing runs deep within many religious people.
The Christian Institute are reporting that Lib Dem Evan Harris MP tabled (and then withdrew) an amendment to the Equality Bill currently before Parliament, that would end the exclusion of children from joining the Scouts, who didn't want to swear an Oath of Allegiance to God. (We reported on the wider issue back in February here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/6669)
In his original book on boy scouting, Baden-Powell set out the scout promise, as follows:
On my honour I promise that:
I will do my duty to God and the Queen.
I will do my best to help others, whatever it costs me.
I know the scout law, and will obey it
In fact (which the Institute doesn't mention) the promise varies from country to country around the world in order to accommodate many different religions within Scouting.
The Institute quote another MP, Mark Harper, who said Evan Harris was "creating fictional problems that do not exist in the real world and is asking us to deal with them."
What Harper, the Institute, and perhaps even Evan Harris don't seem to have realised is that there are a lot of Christians who don't believe in swearing oaths to God (and the Queen) either.
Alan and Eleanor Kreider in a 2001 lecture, set out a theological case for why many Christians don't believe in oath swearing here: http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/448
They suggest that oath-swearing also creates two-tier truth telling. It's well worth a read. Do recommend it to the Christian Institute too...Tweet