Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Why don't they join the Woodcraft Folk?
And if there were as many atheists as the likes of the National Secular Society claim that there are in rural England, then the Scouts, the Guides, the Boys' Brigade and the Girls' Brigade would all die out. No one would join them. That has not happened, and it is not happening.
However, and I write as an old Patrol Leader with the Chief Scout's Award, "we don't care which god it is, as long as it's a god" won't really do theologically, will it? There is a reason why Scouting and Guiding grew out of public school Broad Churchmanship while the BB grew out of the chapels in the days of their fire and brimstone appeals to men who put in 12-hour shifts of backbreaking work.
The Scouts are now using material prepared by the ghastly Brook operation. In February 1980, Helen Brook wrote in The Times that, "From birth till death it is now the privilege of the parental State to take major decisions - objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child." In 1995, she was given the CBE. The Conservative Party was not at that time in coalition with the Lib Dems or anyone else.
I blame letting in girls, part of a general denial of boys their space these days. There was none of that in my day. But the decision of the Scouts to sign up to the grooming industry, otherwise known as Sex Education, raises serious questions about whether it should in so many places be sponsored by churches, in England usually C of E ones. The Evangelical wing would most obviously take the lead on this one. But out in the pews of Middle England, it would find plenty of comrades in arms if it did.