Saturday, May 12, 2012
Girl Scouts Continue To Be Under Attack From Catholic Bishops and the Right
Another complaint came last year when a Colorado troop had the audacity to embrace membership for a 7-year-old transgender child who was born a boy but was being raised as a girl. On top of that, the Girl Scouts are one of 145 organizations that are members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which favors emergency contraception for women in developing countries.
Nearly a quarter of the 2.3 million Girl Scouts in the U.S. are Catholic, and so is the scouts' CEO, so the organization doesn't want to lose its historic ties to the church. Nevertheless, some bishops and parish priests have banned Girls Scouts from church property.
The Girl Scouts reportedly changed some of its materials in an effort to appease critics. But it denies any partnership with Planned Parenthood and says it doesn't take positions on sexuality, birth control, and abortion.
“'For nearly 100 years, we have partnered with the Catholic Church to support the growth and development of millions of girls,' Anna Maria Chavez, a Catholic who has been the Girl Scouts CEO since last November, told Catholic News Service last month. 'It is a wonderful legacy and we’re grateful for the opportunity to participate in the process that will only enhance our partnership.'
"Chavez told CNS, which first wrote about the bishops’ review, that she and other GSUSA leaders have been meeting with church officials in Washington and around the country to resolve any concerns."
From my seat on the sidelines, this sounds like an appropriate strategy to deal with this crisis. I hope they also are communicating with parents to garner their support and keep their daughters in scouts. But when it comes to the Catholic church, there is no compromise, even though many of its own devout members use birth control and have had abortions.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, claims “important questions still remain and need to be examined.” He asked bishops to continue communicating concerns and reports they have heard about the Girl Scouts. "There is a strong push among the bishops to ensure that no church organization has even remote connections to doctrinally problematic groups. And conservatives do not seem assuaged by the reassurances.
On the other hand, the organization needs to study what happened to Susan G. Komen for the Cure early this year when it tried to cut off funds for Planned Parenthood. There was such an outcry from the public and some employees that the policy was rescinded days later. The attempt to dictate moral values continues to haunt Komen's fundraising. Girl Scouts leadership must be careful to keep all its members and families in mind before it tries to appease the religious right.