May 11, 2012

Bishops to Girl Scouts: You're Not Bigoted Enough

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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Catholic Bishops are attempting to crack down on the Girl Scouts of America. As previously discussed, the Catholic and Mormon Churches have a lot of sway with the Boy Scouts of America and have enforced anti-gay bigotry and intolerance for atheism. They have been less successful at preventing sex abuse in the organization but that should come as no surprise. Yet, the Church that has failed so miserably at protecting children from predators is determined to protect growing girls from modernity.

Long a lightning rod for conservative criticism, the Girl Scouts of the USA are now facing their highest-level challenge yet: An official inquiry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances.

The problem for the Girl Scouts of America is that they have attempted to remain neutral through the raging culture wars. They allowed a seven year old transgender child to participate, for instance. Religious conservatives apparently think it's better to be cruel to small children for being different.

GSA disputes many of the charges that have been leveled against them. They are not, they say, associated with Planned Parenthood. (Heaven forbid.)

To the Girl Scouts, some of the attacks seem to be a form of guilt by association. Critics contend that Girl Scouts materials shouldn't contain links to groups such as Doctors without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because they support family planning or emergency contraception.

So not only must the Girl Scouts avoid hot button issues. They can't even link to neutral elements of organizations if those organizations also go in any way afoul of Catholic doctrine. And of course anything that in any way addresses the budding sexuality of adolescent girls must be stamped out, so their association with an international organization that includes countries not mired in a battle to turn back time is out of the question.

Many Christian conservatives are still smarting over a decision in 1993 to allow girls to use names for God consistent with their own religions, such as Islam or Buddhism. Get it? The organization must enforce Christian principles or else. Tolerance for other religious beliefs is out of the question. None of this crazy pluralism America is so famous for should be allowed in the Girl Scouts of America. It's very important to know which is the right God if you're gonna, you know, camp.

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