Catholic Bishops Are Investigating the Girl Scouts Because They’d Rather Not Talk About What They Do With Boys
Because, apparently, there are no other world issues worth looking into that might actually be offensive to practicing Catholics (like, I don’t know, world hunger, children dying of starvation of disease here and abroad, things like that), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is conducting an “official” investigation into the Girl Scouts. They claim that since some Catholic churches sponsor Girl Scout troops, they have every right to question what is being done there, but mostly, they are concerned about affiliations with certain women’s health organizations that … yes, this is related to abortion. Abortion and Girl Scouts.
I’ll start off by saying that yes, I have many disagreements with the Catholic church. Do I think that Catholics are bad people? No. But do I think the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a misogynistic, power-hungry group of backwards-thinking types? Kinda, yeah. And that is to whom I refer throughout this post when I refer to Catholics, and not the normal, everyday people (including some Girl Scouts and their families) who enjoy going to church.
So, yeah — Really, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? You want to spend your time and resources going after a bunch of young girls because of the Girl Scout’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides women’s health services and education? First of all, no need to investigate — they are affiliated. We all knew this. In fact, they wave that awareness flag high because it’s very important for young people — girls and boys — to know what’s going on with their bodies and if something doesn’t feel right about it. Yes, they do provide abortion services. It’s a scant three percent of what they do there, but we all know that the Catholic church is also against birth control, premarital sex (yeah, okay), and the responsible practice of “good-touching” in general.
Among the other complaints is the Scouts’ policy of tolerance and inclusiveness, which was applied when one troop in Colorado allowed a transgender girl to join them. I guess God didn’t create her … enough? I don’t know.
Meanwhile, they continue to cover up and basically ignore the persistent cases of young boys being molested and assaulted by their own clergy, the men children are raised in the church to trust and look up to.
The Conference’s complaints against the Girl Scouts are in no way new, however; the Girl Scouts say that they’ve been fielding these complaints and denying the bishops’ charges for years now. But it’s also the timing that has the Girl Scouts fiercely rolling their eyes and thinking, “Seriously, again? Now?” — this year is the centennial celebration of the Girl Scouts. And yes, the inquiry was made now on purpose. The Conference’s intention is to rain on the Girl Scouts’ parade.
It’s not even as if the Girl Scouts haven’t modified their program in order to please these people. They have stopped using the play Simply Maria by Josefina Lopez because the bishops complained that it mocked their religion. (Which is, by the way, something we are all actually allowed to do in this country because we have a First Amendment in our Constitution, which was created by our government, to which the Catholic church does not pay taxes.) But this is what the Girl Scouts get for being inclusive and promoting girls’ leadership — pushback from people who want to go backwards. In the middle is the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, with whom the Girl Scouts have been working on addressing the complaints and coming to a compromise. And that organization is happy with the discussions they’ve had. Says its executive director, Bob McCarty, who defended the Girl Scouts:
“I don’t think any of this material was intentionally mean-spirited. I think a lot of it was lack of attention. … It’s easier to step back and throw verbal bombs,” he said [of the Girl Scouts’ critics]. “It takes a lot more energy to work for change.”
But that’s not good enough for some. Among the Girl Scouts’ biggest critics is Mary Rice Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which is a conservative think tank, which is, to be perfectly factual, a political organization. She said of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry:
“They just repeated the Girl Scouts’ denials. Families’ concerns were minimized or ignored.”
In other words: “Unless you start becoming a Catholic organization which is religious and Catholic, this is never going to work out and we will continue to be annoying about it.”
Inclusiveness and progress is everything the bishops are against; the Girl Scouts aren’t even the only group they’re investigating because of their ties to the church and possible conflicts with church teachings. And when the Catholic church has so many of its own serious problems that concern its own children, it looks like a blatant attempt to deflect attention elsewhere. In this case, a target that is 1. obvious and 2. not obligated to please the Catholic church.