An 11-year-old boy has been banned from joining the Scouts – because he doesn’t believe in god.
George Pratt has been attending his local Scout group for ten months and was delighted when they invited him to invest in the group.
But the schoolboy was unable to swear allegiance to God and the Queen – because he is an atheist and does not believe in the almighty.
As a result he has been banned from attending and his furious dad Nick, 45, has accused the Christian movement of being ‘intolerant’.
He said: “Christianity is meant to be about being tolerant, forgiving and understanding.
“You are allowed to join if you are a Christian or a Muslim but you can’t not believe in God. He’s being excluded because he doesn’t believe.
“I’ve brought George up to be courteous, kind and considerate.
“He’s a clever child and came to the decision himself, he doesn’t believe in God and doesn’t believe the world was was formed in seven days.
“There are a lot of Christian organisations which do not exclude anybody. It just seems the Scouts in this area isn’t one of them.
“As a family we neither promote nor dismiss any religion and hold no firm views on God in any form.
“We have always let our children make up their own mind as and when they feel they can make an informed choice.
“This is George’s choice and if he changes his mind in six months’ time then that is fine by me, as long as he has made an informed choice.”
George began attending the 1st Midsomer Norton Group in Somerset – which meets in a hall opposite his house – in January.
But to become a full member he must now take the Scout Promise, which reads:
“On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, To do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law.”
Different versions of the oath are available for different faiths, such as the use of ‘Allah’ to replace ‘God’ for Muslims.
George called the decision “very unfair” and says he is missing out on the fun adventures Scouts enjoy because of his beliefs.
He said: “I am really disappointed about not being able to go anymore just because I don’t believe in God.
“We have spoken about it with the Scout Leader but he won’t change his decision, it is very unfair.
“My friends who are Scouts don’t think it is right, either.
“Everyone is going caving soon and I’ve never been before. It is something I would love to do but I’m not allowed.
“I’m not going to change my decision though.”
The Scout Movement was founded by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 with adventurer Bear Grylls the UK’s current Chief Scout.
The ‘Born Survivor’ star, famed for his death-defying challenges, has spoken strongly about his Christianity in the past.
Mr Pratt, who lives with wife Kate, 40 and 14-year-old son Henry, has been is surprised that the Scouting movement is not willing to accept George.
He said: “To be invested into the Scouts you have to believe in a God but it does not say which religion that God is from.
“So you can be Muslim or Buddhist, but if you have the courage to stand up and admit that you do not believe in any God then look out because you are not welcome into the Scout community.
“This is regardless of the fact that you are sensitive, generous, kind and genuinely a good person.
“George had the guts to stand up and admit his view and I believe the Scouts are being narrow minded.”
The Scout Movement is refusing to accommodate George, saying children must make the promise to God if they want to join in the organisation.
Simon Carter, assistant director of media relations for the movement, said: “All young people are required to make the Scout Promise if they wish to become a Scout.
“Variations of the Scout Promise are available for different faiths (such as the use of ‘Allah’ to replace ‘God’ for Muslim Scouts), however all the variations of the Promise recognise the ‘Duty to God’ element.
“Young people are required to show both an understanding (relevant to their age) and an acceptance of the promise before they become a member.
“Young people will not be refused membership solely because of their parents’ beliefs or non-beliefs, however they are required to make the promise as outlined above.
“Furthermore, Scouting accepts that as they grow into independent adults, some young people may question or doubt the existence of God as they develop their personal spiritual understanding.
“Scouting believes that young people going through this process should be able to remain a Scout.”