The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has undertaken a new inquiry into Girl Scouts USA and what they describe as “possible problematic relationships” and “problematic” program materials.
LifeNews is reporting that because so many Girl Scout troops meet in Catholic parishes, it will now begin an investigation into the Scouts’ relationships with other organizations, such as Planned Parenthood. It will also look into various program materials that promote abortion, contraception, and views of human sexuality that are not in keeping with the teachings of the Church.
The investigation will be conducted by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, which is headed up by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Committee plans to consult with Scout leaders and with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry which has been working with the Scouts for the last two years over various complaints raised by parents.
For instance, Catholic parents were furious when former Girl Scouts CEO Kathy Cloninger admitted on NBC’s Today Show in 2004 that her organization has relationships with Planned Parenthood.
A month later, a national survey was circulated which found 17 Girl Scout councils admitting to partnering with Planned Parenthood with many other councils refusing to answer the survey question. As Life News reports, of the 315 Girl Scout councils polled, 17 admitted to having a relationship with Planned Parenthood, 49 said they did not, and the other 249 refused to answer the question.
Even though GSUSA has repeatedly denied any connection to Planned Parenthood, links between the two just keep popping up. For instance, in 2010-2011 the Girl Scouts in New York came under fire for partnering with Planned Parenthood for a sex ed program entitled, “Real Life. Real Talk” which did not reflect Catholic teaching on human sexuality.
It was also revealed that the Girl Scouts of Waco, Texas co-sponsored a sex ed conference with Planned Parenthood for 14 years.
In addition, the Scouts have been criticized for their long-running membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), a group that promotes abortion and contraception. In 2010, 10 girl scouts from the U.S. were part of a WAGGGS team that was lobbying for abortion rights at a United Nations meeting.
This time, rather than just deny the association, Girl Scouts’ CEO Anna Maria Chavez insisted that girls need to engage with peers from around the world and that being a member of a group doesn’t necessarily mean that they endorse the same programs.
However, because WAGGGS is promoted by the Girl Scouts, young members inevitably visit their website and peruse material that is not in keeping with Church teaching.
The Girl Scouts reputation also suffered last year when a Scout troop in Colorado accepted a seven year-old boy who was being raised as a girl.
Girl Scouts’ spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins, defends the organization, saying they’re just a part of the “culture wars.”
“People use our good name to advance their own agenda,” she said. “For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it. We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”
But Mary Rice Hasson, a visiting fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington, said the investigation was needed.
“A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed,” she said. “The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
As Life News summarized: “With a sizable number of pro-life advocates distrusting the Girl Scouts because of the various links to Planned Parenthood over the years, any investigation that turns up more damning evidence could make it even more difficult for the Girl Scouts to become a trusted commodity in the minds of many Americans.”
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EWTN’s Women of Grace produced a week-long expose of the Girl Scouts, a must see for any concerned Catholic! Click here for more information.