A Catholic bishop just released a warning to Catholic parents about – of all things – the Girl Scouts. Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver praises the Girl Scouts for forming “the young person in a spirit of service” and a “sense of duty to the wider community.” The group also “builds character and cultivates civic pride.”
But, says Conley, “over the past year, a growing number of Catholic parents and youth ministers have shared concern with me. Their unease involves the Girl Scouts and especially the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS).”
Conley says parents should explore the Girl Scouts and WAGGS websites and pay attention to all the links, which will be a “sobering experience.”
He quotes one youth minister: “It’s hard to imagine that a girl who remains involved with Girl Scouts into young adulthood won’t eventually learn of the connection her organization has with ‘pro-choice,’ pro-contraception, and ‘reproductive freedom’ groups. Having been influenced by GSUSA, she’ll be more receptive to this agenda. And if she was introduced to GSUSA through her parents and her local parish, then that will inevitably create contradiction between her Catholic faith and her Scouting experience.”
This is strong language from a respected Catholic bishop, but he likely will not be the only one stepping up to warn Catholic parents about what has happened to the Girl Scouts. Many other bishops are now reviewing their diocese’s connection with this once esteemed institution.
Scrutiny of the Girl Scouts increased exponentially over the past year and a half since the group I lead, C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) reported on a Girl Scout panel held at – where else? – the United Nations. We have watched the Girl Scouts for years as they have participated in the annual U. N. Commission on the Status of Women, what can only be described as a pro-abortion jamboree.
Two years ago we sent some high school students into the Girl Scout panel, a panel where parents are not allowed. These wholesome young girls from a Catholic high school in Rhode Island said the panel was “creepy,” including odd role-playing about their bodies.
A year ago, one of our colleagues was sufficiently concerned that she went to the U. N. Girl Scout panel. She sat down, but was immediately asked to leave by the Girl Scout handlers. No parents allowed. So she hung around outside the locked door and when the meeting broke up she immediately went inside. What she found shocked her, a stack of brochures called “Healthy, Hot, and Happy,” which, among other things extols the virtues of anal sex. The brochure, produced by Planned Parenthood, is intended for adolescents with HIV/AIDS.
The offending brochure
What was this material doing at a closed-door Girl Scout panel? For that, one has to look at what has been a long time relationship between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.
In 2004 a Girl Scout troop in Texas held a conference at which they distributed sexually graphic brochures, not unlike the one at the U. N. Girl Scout panel. This caused a nationwide stink including a boycott of Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scouts USA President Kathy Cloninger appeared on the Today Show  to try and calm everybody down.
Cloninger actually admitted, however, that the Girl Scouts work with Planned Parenthood: “We have relationships with our church communities, with YMCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the county, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.”
Even during the present crisis, the Girl Scouts have not denied or clarified this statement. They do say the Girl Scouts does not have a formal relationship with Planned Parenthood. Lots of wiggle room in that word “formal.”
After the report about their panel at the United Nations and the vulgar brochures, Girl Scout flacks in New York swung into action and offered various justifications. They have claimed that the brochures weren’t in the room, that someone else must have left them there, that if they were in the room the Girl Scouts did not distribute them – and so on.
A group called the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministries has given cover to the Girl Scouts. This group supports and promotes scouting among Catholic schoolgirls. But they are folks who are supposed to be watching out for our girls. Its Executive Director, Robert McCarty, did his own “investigation” and, no surprise, gave the Girl Scouts a clean bill of health. What’s more, the report attacked C-FAM for making the initial report. Did his report address the comment by Kathy Cloninger that the Girl Scouts have a relationship with Planned Parenthood? Or any of the evidence that Girl Scout troops actually run programs with Planned Parenthood? Not a peep.
I suspect that at the U. N. Planned Parenthood, being quite cozy with the Girl Scouts, said something like, “can we put these brochures in the room for your conference” and the Girl Scout leaders told their Planned Parenthood friends, “sure no problem,” all the while thinking that no one was watching.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many Catholic parents – and now bishops – are waking up the fact that the Girl Scouts at the national and international level have been taken over by the pelvic left, who are busy trying to indoctrinate our girls with their agenda.
Parents should know that there are alternatives to the Girl Scouts. American Heritage Girls, for instance, is quite wholesome and free of the questionable ideology that has infiltrated Girl Scouts USA. American Heritage Girls even signed a letter of cooperation with the Boy Scouts, who have remained so true to their mission they are regularly attacked by the usual crew.
It is not too late to save the Girl Scouts, but only if people inside and outside the organization take action to stop the corruption of yet another American institution.
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.