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Girl Scouts... Attack!

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In addition to being a Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout Troop, I was the camping adviser for my daughters Girl Scout Troop from 2005 to 2011. The girls loved to go camping and do just about everything Boy Scouts do. My focus was clearly on camping and outdoor activities, and we did a lot of it! At no point did I ever hear anything like that discussed below.


From today's (1/29) Washington Post...


Dont fall for smears against the Girl Scouts

By Robert McCartney, Published: January 28


The culture wars in this country have grown so acute that we cant even agree to support a patriotic, faith-affirming, achievement-oriented group like the Girl Scouts.


I smile when girls from the local troop stand nervously on my doorstep and ask me to buy Thin Mints and Trefoils. I see the next generation of a treasured institution about to celebrate 100 years of giving girls a chance to hike and camp, learn skills such as gardening and first aid, and build character and leadership.


But some religious conservatives see something very different: representatives of a dangerous, secular organization that aggressively promotes abortion and quietly encourages paganism, homosexuality and other alleged social ailments.


Its ill-informed nonsense. Nonetheless, its spawned a smear campaign against the Girl Scouts thats starting to have an impact, including in our region.


Conservative activists have used social media to encourage parents to boycott cookie sales, pull their daughters out of scouts and push churches not to provide meeting spaces for troops.


This month, for the first time in our area, a church bowed to the pressure. St. Timothy Roman Catholic parish in Chantilly in Fairfax County ousted 12 troops with 115 girls. In Alexandria, Saint Rita Catholic Church is reportedly considering doing the same.


At St. Timothy, Rev. Gerald Weymes told scout leaders they could no longer use church or parochial school facilities after the current school year. He didnt offer a public explanation and wasnt giving interviews.


But the diocese didnt deny reports that St. Timothy was unhappy with the U.S. Girl Scout organizations membership in the international girl scouting association.


The latter group, which has members in 145 countries, supports access to contraception and is also often accused of backing abortion and being affiliated with Planned Parenthood.


To appreciate the extremity of the churchs action, consider the following: Americas Girl Scouts say explicitly, repeatedly, at the neighborhood, regional and national level, that they have no stance on birth control or abortion.


No Girl Scout dues or proceeds from cookie sales go to the international group, called the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Rebecca Munro, a spokeswoman for the association in London, said it has no position on abortion and no relationship with Planned Parenthood.


Misinformation is passing as fact, Diane Tipton, president of the Girl Scout Council of the Nations Capital, said in a Jan. 22 statement responding to St. Timothys move. The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on abortion or birth control, and these topics are not part of the Girl Scout program or our materials. We believe these matters are best discussed by girls with their families.


Such avowals havent dissuaded the critics. They are convinced the Girl Scouts are secretly promoting abortion under guise of teaching knots and scrapbooking.


That didnt square with the experience of local Girl Scout adult leaders whom I interviewed.


I have never come across anything thats pro-life or pro-choice in any of our council literature, or any of our national literature, said Kathy Sears, a troop adviser and adult trainer, who lives in Calvert County.


Another defender of the scouts is the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, a group that ought to have some credibility with Catholics. Its an official church organization and has been actively investigating and mostly refuting the accusations for several years.


The federations Web site devotes a page to knocking down rumors. Girl Scouts support Planned Parenthood? Not true, the federation says. Girl Scout law does not refer to God anymore? Not true.


The federation has some concerns about the international association, but thinks that doesnt justify rejecting American Girl Scouts altogether.


Its the whole thing of guilt by association. Does one policy with which you cant agree prevent you from being involved in broader coalitions? My position is that the only way you can advocate for the churchs position is to be engaged in the dialogue, said Robert McCarty, the federations executive director. (Yes, we shared a laugh about our names similarity.)


Some Girl Scout leaders in the area wish St. Timothy had adopted a similar, broad-minded attitude.


Im not sure that the father has made his decision based on any real fact, said one adult leader from Chantilly, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared alienating the church. I think its unfortunate that somebody makes a decision, and other people assume its right and act accordingly, and it kind of snowballs.


Happily, the controversy doesnt seem to be hurting this years cookie sales. Lidia Soto-Harmon, chief executive of the Washington area council, said initial orders were up more than 6 percent.


I say, lets all cast a vote for girls with backpacks and against disinformation. When the neighborhood girls ring your doorbell, order an extra couple of boxes.





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Yes, the boy scouts get it for being too conservative by the liberals.. The girls scouts get it for being too liberal.


The problem is there is no neutral ground on the issues right now are polarized.. Maybe some Catholic churches are turning their backs on supporting Girl Scouts (I would imagine LDS too if they ever did support girl scouts.) But Girl Scouts will get the backing of schools and other publicly funded institutions, where boy scouts no longer do..




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I wonder if there isn't one too many Scouting groups in this country. And I wonder if the two that we have haven't both moved dangerously far from the center. And I wonder if the two organizations' mutual enstrangement hasn't helped this situation to develop.(This message has been edited by sherminator505)

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sherminator - Is there a middle ground.. Either you are against it and a conservative.. Or you are for everyone's right to choose and considered a liberal..


Now if the two sides were Against it.. And a side that was forcing everyone to get an abortion, and be homosexual (or at least bi-sexual).. (of course if we were all homosexual, it would solve the need for abortions.) Then I would say there was a middle ground of "Everyone has a right to choose"..


But it is not.. Those who believe people have the right to choose, are not middle ground, they are radical liberals, and enemies to the conservatives.

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As I said - silly stuff.


Catholic parishes can't "oust" Girl Scout Troops because they do not own them, and have no control over them. Unlike BSA, GSUSA does not utilize Charter Organizations. GSUSA Troops/Groups are "owned" by their local councils.


If the girls meet on parish property (many GSUSA Troops meet in leaders homes), they CAN tell them that they are no longer welcome to use their facilities. However - if the Troops consist of girls registered in the parish school they are taking a big chance that they will be shooting themselves in their own foot when it came to parental (and youth) support for the school/parish in both money and service.


LDS churches do not utilize GSUSA as they do BSA. They separate their boys and girls programs (Venturing Crews are boys only), and have have their own youth program for their girl members.

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LDS churches use BSA as a part of their Aaronic Priesthood Young Men's program.


Girls go into the LDS Young Women's program. They do not use Scouting in any way in this program.


Is it fun? For LDS Young Women, I suppose it might be. At least as much fun as any religious instruction program is.

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A follow up article in today's Post...


Girl Scout Cookies: A battle brewing over the boxes

By Melissa Bell 09:48 AM ET, 01/30/2012


For years, the most scandalous thing about the annual Girl Scout cookie sale was the companys inability to decide on what type of lemon cookie people liked best.


Gone are those halcyon days. The kid-friendly corporation has come under attack from small groups of religious conservatives. To protest the protest, though, people have come up with a sweet solution: Buy more cookies.


This weekend, The Posts columnist Robert McCartney writes about the smear campaign against the Girl Scouts thats starting to have an impact.


I see the next generation of a treasured institution about to celebrate 100 years of giving girls a chance to hike and camp, learn skills such as gardening and first aid, and build character and leadership.


But some religious conservatives see something very different: representatives of a dangerous, secular organization that aggressively promotes abortion and quietly encourages paganism, homosexuality and other alleged social ailments.


Already, some churches are pulling their support of the troops, by revoking meeting spaces. A social media campaign implored people to stop buying the cookies.


So, to counteract that, McCartney and others are advising a buying campaign: Show your support by eating Thin Mints.


Dave Lieberman of the OC Weekly writes, for those of us who think your boycott is wrongheaded and prejudiced, theres a solution: the Girl Scout Cookie Locator, an app available for the iPhone through the App Store.


It could be the effect of the counterprotest or perhaps everyone just really wants to try the newest cookie Savannah Smiles. Either way, the Girl Scouts seem to be winning this round. The Washington area council leader Lidia Soto-Harmon told McCartney initial orders on the cookies were up more than 6 percent.



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