Miriam A. Baker
Patriots' Trail Girl Scout Council
When this subject was being discussed on the list, I sent e-mail to GSUSA asking for the official policy on this. I finally received the reply printed below. The key phrasing to me is, " [GSUSA} looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word 'God'." To me this would allow girls who are atheists to be members.
Date: 22 Jul 1997 15:36:30 EDT
Subject: Inclusion of God in the Girl Scout Promise-
Please forgive this late response - Please refer to the GSUSA Blue Book of Basic Documents, 1997, page 21, Place of Religion in the Girl Scout Program, which reads "Girls are encouraged and helped through the Girl Scout program to become better members of their own religious group, but every Girl Scout group must recognize that religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and religious leaders." and, Respect for Religious Opinions and Practices which reads, "Every Girl Scout group shall respect the varying religious opinions and practices of its membership in planning and conducting activities." and also, Flexibility in Wording for Spiritual Beliefs in the Girl Scout Promise, which reads, " Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. makes no attempt to define or interpret the word "God" in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word "God"."
Best wishes, Rosa Esposito, Information & Referral Center, GSUSA