- - Thursday, May 4, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Once upon a time nothing could have been less controversial than the Girl Scouts. Scouting taught the universal values of moral character, patriotism, community service and a love of learning. Scouting taught the virtues grounded in faith.

The regiments of little girls, including the junior Scouts called Brownies, fanning through the neighborhood peddling Girl Scout Cookies is one of the anticipated rites of spring.

But the Girl Scouts, like the Boy Scouts, succumbed to the politically correct, and the Scouting leadership has embraced what the Roman Catholic archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, calls “the many troubling trends in our secular society.”

The archbishop, Joseph F. Naumann, has severed ties to the Girl Scouts, the latest religious group to do that. Several Protestant and non-Catholic denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, have encouraged troops to affiliate with one of a growing number of alternative Scouting organizations. Pastors of Catholic churches in Kansas have been instructed to begin eliminating sponsorship of Girl Scout troops.

Archbishop Naumann encourages parishes in his diocese in eastern Kansas to form troops of American Heritage Girls, a non-denominational group organized more than a decade ago as an alternative to the Girl Scouts by parents disappointed when the Girl Scouts departed from their mission of teaching family values.

The archdiocese was particularly concerned that the Girl Scouts have aligned with International Planned Parenthood, and cites radical feminist icons Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem as models for impressionable young girls.

Many Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops meet in churches and church halls, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which advocates for First Amendment rights, has warned churches that “under threat of litigation, a church that chooses to maintain ties with the Boy Scouts of America [and Girl Scouts by implication] could face forfeiting that ability to teach biblical principles of sexual morality to its Scouts and to require them to adhere to those principles.”

The alternative organizations have shown remarkable growth over the past two decades, particularly after the Scouts opened the ranks of Scoutmasters to homosexuals. American Heritage Girls, which is unapologetically Christian-based, now claims 43,000 members from all 50 states, and American members in 12 other nations.

American Heritage Girls was founded by two Scout mothers, Patti Garibay and Laurie Cullen of Cincinnati, who were particularly disturbed when the Girl Scout oath — a promise “to serve God and my country, to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout law” — was altered to make it politically correct. The promise to serve God was made optional, with an asterisk beside the name of God enabling Scouts taking the oath to substitute any word they choose, a tree or a lake or a rock. When Mrs. Garibay complained to her husband about it, he replied, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

She invited other parents to her house to talk about what they could do, and American Heritage Girls was born at her kitchen table. The subsequent handbooks for Heritage Girls, together with the badges familiar to Scouting, soon followed. The first was the sewing badge, and Heritage Girls sew their own uniforms. Politically correct, these girls are not. All that’s left to do is to do something about cookies.

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