An eight-year-old Catholic boy cannot be a Cub Scout in Britain because he refuses to pledge allegiance to the Queen of the United Kingdom on religious grounds.
Matthew McVeigh, who lives near Glasgow, refused to recite the Cub Scout Promise because it requires swearing allegiance to the Queen. He was told he cannot become a full Cub Scout as a result, the Daily Mail reports.
“It's not fair. I don't want to say a promise that I don't believe in. I really enjoy the Cubs and don't want to feel left out or different from everybody else,” Matthew said.
Matthew’s mother, Tracy Anne McVeigh, said her son’s refusal to recite the part of the oath promising “to do my duty to the Queen” was a matter of principle. She said she was especially irked that other nationalities living in Britain can change the wording of the promise to accommodate their requirements.
“The 1701 Act of Settlement specifically discriminates against Catholics and only allows for Protestants to take the throne - so why should we make an oath to the monarchy?”
According to Cub Scout Association spokesman Chris Foster, people of other nationalities residing in the United Kingdom may change the section regarding the Queen to pledge their duty “to the country in which I am now living.”
“However, British subjects must promise to do their duty to the Queen,” Foster said. “She is the head of state.”
Scout Association rules also allow for the word “God” in the promise to be replaced with other deities according to people’s religion, but the guidelines are strict for the section regarding the Queen.
Matthew’s mother said the boy has been going to Cub Scouts since January and was preparing to become a full fledged member.
“He was really excited about it,” she said. “But when he had to fill out the application form, he realized he would have to pledge duty to the Queen.
“We weren't happy as we don't think it's necessary in today's world. We are supposed to live in a multicultural age but this just flies in the face of that.”
She said she expected Cub Scout leaders to allow a change of wording.
“I was gobsmacked that the Cub Scout commissioner said that if Matthew didn't say the Promise then he would effectively be out the door,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
“He said he could still go along to trips but he would not be insured. As he can't wear the necktie, that sets him apart from his friends and I think that on trips it would be a safety issue too.
“I am not asking for special treatment. I would just like him to be a Scout without compromising on what he believes in,” she said.