F*ck Religious Imposition

Hanna Maxwell
5 min readAug 16, 2023

When my daughter was little she wanted to join the girl scouts so I did some looking around in our area. There was a local group of scouts and they met at the local Library which was a convenient walk from our house. She was really excited for her first meet with the girls but came home rather despondent.

When I asked her what was up she told me they prayed too much and she didn’t want to go back. I wasn’t raised praying and I didn’t raise my daughter that way either, but this isn’t about assignment of blame, this is about imposing religion in groups that are NOT religious.

At the time we wrote it off, we were fairly new to the area and just figured that’s what rural Pennsylvania is like. My daughter sent a thank you card to the girl scouts but said she wasn’t interested. Instead, she found a non-religious activity in town and is now an advanced green belt in Tang Soo Do.

When I was a little girl I was in the Brownies, loved the little hat. I didn’t make it very far either but that was because I moved around too much. I understand how it’s different depending on geography but I don’t remember any religious agenda whatsoever when I was in.

I do remember learning about teamwork and doing projects that required the whole group. There was a pledge that we said in an official capacity only but we weren’t made to recite it every time we met. We also weren’t required to pray.

The pledge was about God though, “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country…etc.” I must have been trained to say those words from time to time but not enough to remember it or look back and realize there was an agenda. To be honest, they didn’t play it like there was. We said it as lifelessly as we did the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school, like it was obligatory.

I’m not certain if I should start with a, “Back then…” or an, “In the area where I lived…” when I mention the way the brownies worked when I was in, I suppose both could be a factor. I do remember that we had different troop leaders for learning different things. We learned about edible plants, making fires and wilderness survival among other things.

Our town had a 4-H Club too but we weren’t farmers. The 4-H also had a religious agenda despite being linked with the government which allegedly restricts them from having one. I don’t think it’s intended, I think it’s like what happened with the scouts, there are just a lot of religious fundamentalists involved.

It’s a shame that a whole lot of young people could have benefited from those programs and missed out because they weren’t Christians and their parents were unsatisfied with the cavalier attitude the group leaders had about refusing to separate church and state.

Since the 4-H does have a link with the government and they aren’t supposed to push religion, you at least won’t find the word “God” in their pledge. Their pledge is pretty nice actually, it explains what the four H’s represent:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service, and
my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country and my world.
(That last bit about the world wasn’t added until the 70's)

Now that is a pledge I can get behind! I like that very much. I like their use of green and white in their emblem as well. They explain the color use thusly; green as nature’s most common color, representing youth, life and growth. White to symbolize purity and high ideals.


With a motto of, “To make the best better” and a slogan of, “Learn by Doing” what’s not to get behind? Maybe the singing of Christian prayers before meals? Maybe 4-H camping trips that may as well be extended Awana field trips?

At this point my daughter is too old for any of these groups, but she missed out on all of them. She did attend one camping excursion when she was around eight years old. I worked at the Edgar Cayce foundation, also known as the A.R.E. or Association for Research and Enlightenment. Needless to say, their summer camp was a little different.

As an employee, my daughter got to attend for a discounted rate. While religion was never pushed, it was discussed, but not just one religion, many of them. They also discussed the differences between atheism and agnosticism. The main point was to encourage informed decisions.

Other topics discussed included but weren’t limited to death, dying and the afterlife, what dreams mean, conservation of the environment and meditation as well as its function.

I suppose if those sorts of groups for kids were more prevalent the same could happen. They might end up pushing what I hear someone I know calling, “their hippy-dippy agenda.”

My input then is simple, make sure you know what sort of groups are out there and what their agendas are before exposing children to them.

Personally, I have nothing against Christians or any other organized group, they have rights. Then again, don’t people have the right to NOT have an agenda shoved down their throats? We’re talking about groups that shill themselves as inclusive not exclusive.

It’s a shame that my daughter had to miss out on the girl scouts, it’s a bummer that so many kids don’t feel comfortable in 4-H and either quit or don’t join at all. There is much to learn in these groups that has nothing to do with religion and too many kids miss out.

To be honest, I don’t have a solution, but in a world increasingly divided it seems overall detrimental to our youth if they are growing up learning all those great things but with the main foundational message of discrimination.

In this age of information it seems that there are plenty of ways to get children involved in activities, so I appeal to parents to investigate before signing up your kids, make sure you are on board with what is really going on.

I also encourage the people who run these programs not to hi-jack non-religious groups and force a religious agenda onto them. Most of all, make informed decisions, at least while it’s still allowed. Parents, your kids might be in programs where they are not allowed to think for themselves, but hopefully you still can.

Even if you agree with the agenda being pushed ask yourself if you think it’s right that it’s being pushed. If you immediately conclude that you support the agenda pushing since you agree with the agenda be aware, one day you might not be the one choosing it.



Hanna Maxwell

Creator of Gorgonzola Journalism, Author, Consultant, Traveler, Polymath, Mystical Maven, Mental Health Muse & Mediator to the Gods, M.H., C.H.T., O.M.D.