The Air Training Corps has announced its intention to provide an alternative, ‘non-religious’ oath for new members, that excludes any references to God.
Last month’s ET (p.7) reported that girl guiding and scouting organisations had already issued a public consultation on removing references to honouring God in their mottos. Now, the Air Cadet organisation has bowed to pressure to offer an alternative oath.
Under the current promise of the organisation, each recruit promises ‘to be a good citizen and to do my duty to God and the Queen, my country and my flag’.
However, according to Christian Concern, the cadets have come under increasing pressure from the British Humanist Association (BHA) and United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association (UKAFHA) to offer an alternative oath.
A joint campaign from the two organisations argued that if air cadets failed to provide a promise without a reference to God, it would contravene European legislation and the Ministry of Defence’s equality and diversity policy. David Brittain, general secretary of the UKAFHA, said that other Ministry of Defence funded organisations will now have to provide similar alternative promises.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said, ‘Behind the effort to secularise some of Britain’s most established institutions is the assumption that Christian faith is somehow divisive and damaging.
‘This is plainly not the case, when a youth organisation such as the air cadets has 41,000 young people as members. Making the promise, as it stands, doesn’t harm anyone. It’s a good thing and recognises that principles like faithfulness, loyalty and service flow from a Christian world view’.