A Christian mother has claimed that she was fired from Girlguiding U.K. after she allowed children to use the phrase “love my God” when making pledges to join.
Girlguiding U.K, the country’s leading organization for girls and young women, has insisted that the woman resigned, however.
Emma Jeffery told The Daily Mail that she was “not trying to shove religion down people’s throats — just offering them a choice.”
The phrase “love my God” had been replaced in the Girlguiding oaths in 2013 with the more secular “develop my beliefs.”
Jeffery says that she was initially allowed to offer parents of girls to choose which phrase to say as part of their promise, but argues that in November she was told by County Commissioner Karen McFarlane that such an arrangement breaches the rules.
The mother of two, who had been a leader at 1st Abbeydale Rainbows group in Gloucester, was told that she had to agree to leave out references to God in the text, or leave the organization.
“The very name Rainbows is taken from the story of Noah’s Ark, it was given to Noah as a gift from God,” she said, in reference to the Biblical story in Genesis.
“If the Scouts don’t feel the need to be so didactic about their promise, why does Girlguiding have to be so inflexible?’”
A Girlguiding spokesperson clarified that the 100,000 volunteers at the organization are "expected to follow our policies and volunteer code of conduct at all times," however.
"We’re aware a Girlguiding leader resigned from her role following a complaint made that she wasn’t using the standard wording of the Promise," the statement continued.
"The leader was not withdrawn from Girlguiding. The complaint is being handled internally."
Some parents have come out in support of Jeffery, including Lisa Kerr.
“We love the fact that Emma gave our daughter the option when she did her promise of using the old one or the new,” Kerr said.
“As a Christian family, our daughter wanted to say the promise where she can publicly promise to ‘love my God.’”
Girlguiding U.K. attracted controversy back in November 2017 as well, after it said that transgender members born as male who identify as female will be allowed to use the same shower and tent space as girls.
"Some people may not feel comfortable sharing accommodation so in this case an alternative option should be provided. This should be done discreetly, in conversation with the young person and, if appropriate, their parent or carer," the organization clarified at the time.
David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth in South Wales, spoke out against the move at the time.
"If transgender girls who are physically male are going to be sharing facilities, it's going to make some girls threatened and uncomfortable and the Guides shouldn't be doing that," Davies argued.