The GIRL SCOUTS??? Those sweet, cute little girls with braces and pigtails that come ‘round to your door every year right about this time? Say WHAT??? They are the personification of EVIL??? No, say it ain’t so! No more THIN MINTS???
In this Thursday’s New York Times, the following story ran:
Girl Scouts Face Opposition From St. Louis Archbishop
The Archdiocese of St. Louis is encouraging Roman Catholics to scale back ties with the Girl Scouts, advising church members to think twice about membership and even about buying their cookies.
The warnings came in a letter from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and in a statement on the archdiocese’s website about how the church is distancing itself from the Girl Scouts, which it says supports transgender rights, homosexuality and other stances at odds with Catholic values.
In the letter addressed to priests, followers and scout leaders, Archbishop Carlson announced two new measures. He instructed pastors to discuss alternatives for the Girl Scout troops that meet on parish property. He also disbanded the archdiocese’s Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts, which sponsored Catholic programs for the scouts, and formed a new entity called the Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that will include alternative youth leadership programs. About 515,000 Catholics live in the archdiocese, which includes the city of St. Louis and 10 surrounding counties.
“Girl Scouts is exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior and it is clear to me that as they move in the ways of the world it is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values,” the archbishop wrote in the letter, dated Feb. 18.
I did a bit of research on the history of the Girl Scouts organization, officially the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA). This organization was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Lowe, with the intention to “empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, entrepreneurship, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning badges by acquiring practical skills.” Do you see anything here that indicates immorality or poor values? Me either.
A few other interesting facts:
- During World War II, 1943–1945, many young Japanese-American girls were confined in internment camps with their families. Girl Scout troops were organized, even in these camps.
- The first troop for African-American girls was founded in 1917; the first American Indian troop was formed in New York State in 1921; and the first troop for Mexican Americans was formed in Houston, Texas, in 1922.
- There are programs for girls in unusual situations that make it difficult for them to participate in the standard program. The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program helps daughters of incarcerated mothers to connect with their mothers and to have the mothers participate in Girl Scout activities. Another program, Girl Scouting in Detention Centers, allows girls who are themselves in detention centers to participate in Scouting. Other initiatives try to help girls in rural areas or in public housing.
- Their motto is: Be prepared; their slogan is: Do a good turn daily
- The aim of the Girl Scouts is to help girls by pursuing four goals: developing their full potential; relating to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; developing a meaningful set of values to guide their actions and make sound decisions; and contributing to the improvement of society.
- Their activities include: canoeing, backpacking, service projects, collecting for food drives, visiting nursing homes, etc.
In October 1991 the GSUSA issued the following statement:
“As a private organization, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference. However, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has firm standards relating to the appropriate conduct of adult volunteers and staff. The Girl Scout organization does not condone or permit sexual displays of any sort by its members during Girl Scout activities, nor does it permit the advocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual preference. These are private matters for girls and their families to address.”
This is the 21st century, a time when we have come to accept that our differences make us special, unique, but not wrong. A time when we have come to accept that not all humans are either asexual or heterosexual, that not all human beings choose the same paths, ideologically, religiously or politically. We accept these differences. Most of us embrace these differences. The Roman Catholic Church, apparently, has not moved with us into the 21st century. And they are making young children their scapegoats. I, for one, will be buying cookies from little girls with braces and pigtails this year.