The Air Cadet Organisation has announced its intention to provide an alternative ‘non-religious’ oath for new members that excludes any references to God, reports Christian Concern for our Nation.
Under the current promise of the air-training organisation, each recruit promises “to be a good citizen and to do my duty to God and the Queen, my country and my flag.”
The announcement follows 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 the 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.
General secretary of the UKAFHA David Brittain said that other Ministry of Defence funded organisations will now have to provide similar alternative promises.
Girguiding UK and the Scout’s Association are also considering similar changes to their respective promises following pressure from secularist campaign groups.
Should we change the words of the national anthem because they include 'God save our gracious Queen'? What are people threatened by?
Andy Tilsley, spokesman for ChristChurch
The decision to change the Air Cadet’s promise was criticised by Andy Tilsley, a spokesman for ChristChurch London, who said that the move raised broader questions.
“Should we change the words of the national anthem because they include 'God save our gracious Queen'? What are people threatened by?”
The Air Cadet Organisation was established in 1938 and is one of the largest youth organisations in the UK, with over 41,000 members aged from 13-20.
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 like 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 worldview.
“A vocal minority seems intent on forcing change whilst a vast number of young people are perfectly happy to make a promise that makes reference to God.
“Organisations like the Air Cadets, Guides and Scouts were founded on Christian principles. Removing references to God will result in a loss of identity and a basis for the values promoted by these institutions”.