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Opinion: Why I Will No Longer Support Girl Scouts
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It's time for Catholics to carefully and prayerfully consider whether Girl Scouts still fits in the framework of authentically living our faith in the world.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - They'll soon be knocking on my door, tempting me with my favorite box of cookies, and with a sad heart I will say no. With all due respect to the many, many great Girl Scout troops out there and their wonderful leaders, I simply cannot support the Girl Scouts anymore, and I propose that all Catholics carefully and prayerfully consider whether this organization still fits in the framework of authentically living our faith in the world.
I don't say this lightly and I mean no disrespect to the moms and girls around the country who are part of vibrant, positive and generous troops who serve their communities with pride. However, it's time to seriously examine the leadership of Girl Scouts on a national level and honestly evaluate their message and agenda. I believe it's time to make a painful break for the sake of our daughters.
What I've learned over the last year tells me that the Girl Scouts organization has taken a very liberal feminist and pro-homosexual turn, and more disturbing, a sharp turn away from acknowledging God. For example, since 1993 the Girl Scouts USA curriculum now reads, "Girl Scouts of the USA makes no attempt to define or interpret the word "God" in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own beliefs for the word "God."
While many will argue that Girl Scouts is simply respecting the beliefs or non-beliefs of its members, who come from varied backgrounds, this "tolerant" oath denies the One True God, allowing a girl to swear her oath to a tree or an animal or anything else she chooses to substitute for the word "God."
I'm also disturbed by the treatment of our nation's flag at the 2008 Girl Scout National Council Session and Convention. The traditional flag ceremony was trashed, as was the playing of our National Anthem. Flags of all nations were brought in bunched together to Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire tunes. That just doesn't' sit well with this Army wife.
My greatest concern lies with the Girl Scouts curriculum called "Journeys." This new program steadily leads the girls down a path of moral relativism toward the New Age. (An excellent review of "Journeys" can be read here.) Having read through the highlights on the Girl Scouts website, I'm left with the distinct impression I've just joined a Zen-yoga, environmental, defeat global warming, free choice, girl-power, modern feminist think-tank. There's lots of talk about "women's issues", environmental issues, empowerment, and the new "globalism", but no mention of God and very little of country.
By the time the girls reach grades nine and ten, they are introduced to "Girltopia." This book emphasizes the disparity between the sexes, particularly when it comes to jobs and wages, and asks, "How could everyone create a Girltopia?" The text then praises three different books on the subject of utopias, including, "The Gate to Women's Country," by feminist author Sheri S. Tepper, who also happens to be the Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood.
In grades 11 and 12, the curriculum is called "Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy." The most disturbing part is that at the bottom of each page is a "Voice for Good" featuring women meant to be role models for the girls to follow. More than 50 women are named, and only 3 are women of faith, including Mother Teresa.
Mainly, these "role models" are feminists, lesbians, existentialists, communists, and Marxists. Here are just a few examples:
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: labor leader, activist, feminist, founding member of the ACLU and chairwoman of the American Communist Party.
Simone de Beauvoir: existentialist, French author of feminist books including The Second Sex, key player in France's women's liberation movement.
Billie Jean King: retired tennis champion, sued for palimony by lesbian girlfriend while she was still married, first prominent professional athlete to come out as homosexual.
Betty Friedman: feminist writer on Girl Scouts' board of directors best remembered for 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, primary founder and first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, strong opponent of abortion laws, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action league, or NARAL, active in Marxist circles, spoke in favor of "homosexual rights."
Excepting, of course, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, these are not women I want held up as role models for my daughters. Yet these are the women whose lives and works are chosen by Girl Scouts to inspire and motivate our young girls into advocacy. Advocacy for what? Abortion, homosexual rights, and male-bashing, liberal feminism? No thanks.
On the national level, the Girl Scouts National Conclave in 2005 featured pro-abortion and pro-lesbian speakers like Dr. Johnetta Cole and Kavita Ramdas. Dr. Cole has some very strong and disturbing words about God (whom she refers to as "she"), sexuality and marriage, like:
- "No must be the answer to - to proselytizing to all who are not Christians into some denomination of Christian faiths."
- "The sister warrior who helped me to fight my own homophobia and hetero-sexism in my life . was Audrey Lore. It was at Hunter College where we were both faculty members that she was my teacher. Let me share with you how Sister Audrey would often introduce herself. She would say I´m Audrey Lore, a black woman, lesbian, feminist, poet, professor, mother."
- "For those women who happen to be in a traditional relationship with a man, they may have even put something on it called marriage - all of those sisters also share something. They must have some kind of special honing device so that when the man with whom they are living says - or it could be one of those children - where are my socks? She knows exactly where they are."
As the President of Global Fund for Women, Ms. Ramdas had this to say on her website in 2003:
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"The Roe v. Wade decision culminated many years of struggle by the North American women´s movement and helped establish a policy environment within the U.S. that supported women´s reproductive rights around the world. Subsequently, the U.S. strongly endorsed women´s rights at both the Cairo and Beijing U.N. conferences by supporting a woman´s right to information about and access to contraception, and safe, legal abortions. Today, however, these achievements are being undermined by a U.S. administration which is hostile to women´s rights, having re-instated the Global Gag."
"Global gag?" What´s that, you ask? That´s the pro-abortion spin-name for the Mexico City Policy that Barack Obama rescinded on his third day in office. It´s not about gag orders; it´s about the United States taxpayers funding the abortions of children in developing countries.
If these are the women invited by Girl Scouts to speak to them and share their philosophies and goals, what does it say about the Girl Scouts' philosophies and goals?
Have you ever wondered why the Girl Scouts haven´t been sued and publicly demeaned by homosexual groups, while the Boy Scouts have been battling lawsuits left and right? It´s because the Girl Scouts long ago embraced homosexuality in their leaders and their troops.
In 1997, a book called On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience was published. As reported in National Review in 2000, the book is filled "with coming-of-age stories sparked by gay encounters in the Girl Scouts. Along with an essay entitled "All I Really Need to Know About Being a Lesbian I Learned at Girl Scout Camp," and various stories of "butch" counselors who "wore men's clothes and had slicked back short hair," is testimony to the prevalence of lesbians in Girl Scouting. One writer remembers: "By the time I was a junior counselor, Mic was assistant camp director and her gruff, deep-voiced directives no longer scared me. I didn't know that most of the counselors were lesbians." Others remember how sleepovers and camping trips were opportunities for same-sex sexual experimentation. Girl Scout staffers writing in the book claim that roughly one in three of the Girl Scouts' paid professional staff is lesbian.
And most disturbing of all is Girl Scouts´ associations with Planned Parenthood. In 2004, CEO Kathy Cloninger admitted that they partner with PP to bring sex-education programs to troops all over the country. Planned Parenthood has no interest in abstinence. It doesn't benefit their bottom line for teenagers to wait for marriage to have sex. They are financially invested in promiscuity and all the destructive consequences it brings, especially abortion. And now it seems Girl Scouts' vision of sexual health and freedom mirrors Planned Parenthood's. Is that your vision for your daughter?
Can faithful Catholics continue to ignore what is happening in Girl Scouts simply because many individual troops do not yet reflect the immoral shift occurring from the top down? The apple can't disown the tree. We must consider the bigger picture here. Their vision of womanhood, marriage, sexuality, and faith simply screams with the moral relativism our Holy Father warned us about years ago.
For this mom, it was an easy decision. Girl Scouts simply isn't the organization it once was, and it's not compatible with my Catholic faith any longer. Yeah, I know. I´ll miss the cookies a lot. I´ve been known to eat an entire box of Thin Mints in one sitting, but not anymore. My faith is more important. My loyalty to Christ and His Church is more important, and my daughters´ hearts and minds are definitely more important.
Thankfully, both the American Heritage Girls and The Little Flowers Club offer outstanding alternatives.
Jennifer Hartline is a Catholic Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online on topics of Catholic faith, family, Life and politics. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
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