"I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law."
Up until now, the first promise was to God. The whole point of God, if you will pardon this clumsy way of putting it, is that He is above everything. There is an authority which is over and above all my other allegiances: Queen, Country, Family and certainly self are all subject to another who is greater and it is to Him that I owe my first allegiance and only then to these others and only to the extent that they too owe allegiance to Him.
In the new promise my first allegiance seems to be to myself. An unreliable authority for any of us but for a child and a teenager I would have thought that self, as yet unformed and uninformed, would be a hopeless guide as to what is good. Zoe Williams puts all this very well in her piece in the Guardian today.
But dangerous? If my first allegiance is to myself, who is to tell me that I am wrong? If I promise to be true to myself and my beliefs and if that is to be my guiding principle through my life then my Queen, my country, my family and my community will all take second place in my moral reference book and God does not get a look in at all. Morality has been reduced to what I think is right with no outside arbiter to tell me that I may be wrong.
If God is my reference point all other claims on me are judged by His demands. If my ego is my only moral reference may God help us all!