By BRIAN CLOWES
(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of this article with footnotes, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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We’ve all had little girls in uniform appear on our porches selling Girl Scout cookies (with watchful mothers standing nearby). Just about everyone loves Girl Scout cookies. In fact, one of our neighbors back in Oregon had a sign on his door saying, “No Soliciting — unless you have Thin Mints.” My wife Kathy enjoyed her years as a Girl Scout in the 1960s, and still tells great stories about her experiences.
Unfortunately, about the time my wife left the Girl Scouts of America, signs of corruption were already appearing. Today, the rot is far advanced. Shortly after becoming executive director of the GSA in 2001, Marty Evans boasted: “We’re not your mother’s Girl Scout troop.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
The Girl Scouts have been watering down their core values for decades. In 1972, it dropped “loyalty” from its oath in favor of “I will do my best to be honest and fair.” In 1993, it made “God” optional in the Girl Scout Promise.
Organizations that fall victim to the anti-life mentality almost always begin by embracing permissive forms of sex education. In 1967, the Girl Scouts said that it “accepted responsibility for a supplementary role in sex education for its girl members….Girl Scouts of the USA hereby reaffirms that sex education and human sexuality programming developed in collaboration with the family, religious groups, school, and community are components of the Girl Scout program.”
This move was not demanded by the parents of Girl Scouts; it was unilaterally enacted by the leadership of the GSA. In a 1983 Position Statement, the Girl Scouts of America reiterated its position, stating that: “Resolved, that Girl Scouts of the USA hereby reaffirms that sex education and human sexuality programming developed in collaboration with the family, religious groups, school, and community are components of the Girl Scout program.”
The leadership of the Girl Scouts at all levels has been despoiled by the Culture of Death. It is so bad now that the GSA welcomes boys who think that they are girls, and allows them to dress as girls. If any Girl Scout leader objects to this obviously harmful practice, she is shipped off to mandatory “sensitivity classes” (that is, brainwashing sessions). If she does not “reform” her thinking, she is not invited back.
The Senior Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, for girls 14 and over, includes exercises that relate the Girl Scout Promise and Law to such situations as “supporting a decision to pull a life-support system from a dying relative” and “ending a pregnancy.” Some activities “you can do as a Girl Scout to address contemporary issues” include “organiz[ing] an event to make people aware of gender bias” or “help[ing] organize an Earth Day celebration.”
The problems afflicting the Girl Scouts can be better understood in the context of its three-tiered command structure. The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) is the largest of about 150 member associations of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). In turn, the GSA has about 300 regional councils, which have great latitude in planning their activities.
Problems Above: WAGGGS
The GSA has taken the lead of its mother organization WAGGGS, which said in its 2000 publication Exploring Spirituality: “You can rarely state that something is definitely right or wrong,” a concise statement of situational ethics.
WAGGGS openly partners with population control groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), PLAN International, and UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), the radical feminist arm of the United Nations. WAGGGS was also heavily involved in formulating the “Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration,” which demands the legalization of prostitution and which states that countries “should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services — recognizing that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures, and desires.”
In 2002, WAGGGS presented UNFPA Executive Director Nafis Sadik with its “World Citizenship Award.” By this time, UNFPA support of the Chinese forced-abortion program was well-known. According to the WAGGGS web site, its attendees particularly appreciated hearing Sadik say:
“[The policies advanced by UNFPA] may not reflect the narrow traditional moral boundaries which some people would draw around sexual behavior. In that case, I would suggest that the boundaries need to be redrawn. In many cases I believe that restrictive morality is being used falsely, as a means of asserting power, over women in particular….We must make male and female condoms far more widely available, and we must demand that men use them.”
WAGGGS has been listed as a “source of population assistance” by the UNFPA since at least 1993.
The WAGGGS “AIDS Badge Curriculum” suggests that girls should “visit one of the places in your community where young women can go for health care related to pregnancy prevention. . . . Invite a counselor from this agency to use fingers or another suitable object to demonstrate how to use a condom properly.”
WAGGGS has also thrown its considerable weight behind the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saying: “To rapidly improve the status of the girl child and unlock their potential, the international community, governments, and civil society need to focus on two areas: girls’ empowerment and integration in decision-making at all levels; and education and training, especially on sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
Problems Below: The Councils
The Girls Scouts of America has steadfastly denied that it has ever been involved in human sexuality issues. The GSA’s web site has a “Frequently Asked Questions: Social Issues” segment, and one of the questions is: “What is Girl Scouts of the USA’s position regarding human sexuality, birth control, and abortion?” The answer is “Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.”
However, in 2004, STOPP (Stop Planned Parenthood) asked the 315 GSA councils if they had a working relationship with PP. Two hundred forty-nine refused to answer, and 17 of the 66 that did reply (or 26 percent), said that they did indeed have a relationship with PP, usually relying on the organization to provide sex education materials.
Former GSA CEO Kathy Cloninger revealed in the same year that “we have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country to bring information-based sex education to girls.” The GSA headquarters claims to have no partnerships with Planned Parenthood, which may technically be true, but local councils are free to participate with PP in any activities they desire, such as when GSA councils in New York, Texas, and Arizona partnered with Planned Parenthood on its explicit “Real Life. Real Talk” or “Nobody’s Fool” sex-education programs.
In addition to its many ties to Planned Parenthood, the Girl Scouts of America engages in pro-abortion activism itself in sometimes subtle and manipulative ways. For example, the GSA partners with many pro-abortion groups and blogs such as the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW, now called Re:Gender), Our Bodies Our Blog, Racialicious, RH Reality Check, Ms. Blog, Third Wave Foundation, and the Women’s Media Center — but does not partner with any pro-life groups.
Before allowing your little girl to join the Girl Scouts, it would be a good idea to read a document published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which expresses grave concerns about the pervasive pro-abortion and anti-family activities of the Girl Scouts. In 2013, the USCCB published a question & answer guide based on a dialogue between the staff of the USCCB and the Girl Scouts of America. This document is named “Questions and Answers About Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and About Catholic Scouting,” and you can find it on the USCCB’s web site.
Fortunately there are several solid Christian alternatives to the Girl Scouts. These include American Heritage Girls, whose mission is to “build women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.” There are also the Little Flower Girls’ Club, Pioneer Girls, and GEMS Girls’ Clubs.
Although it may be hard to do so, we might want to consider politely declining to purchase Girl Scout cookies the next time we are asked, since their sale makes up a large percentage of the budget of the Girl Scouts national headquarters and councils. So the next time you’re tempted by Thin Mints, Savannah Smiles, or Do-si-dos, remember that the ideology of the Girl Scouts of America is nowhere as sweet as its cookies.