Girl Scouts in the Catholic Church crosshairs

Cookie season may have passed, but the Girl Scouts find themselves in the news again through no fault of their own.

The Catholic Church is threatening to cut ties with the GSA over lingering (and largely unproven it seems) allegations of close ties between the Girl Scouts and liberal women’s groups (specifically, Planned Parenthood).

The fallout is being watched as millions of Girl Scouts meet regularly at church facilities. And Catholic girls make up about a quarter of GSA membership.

The net is buzzing with questions about the entire episode. As far as I can tell, the allegations stem from a 2010 Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute complaint that GSA distributed to young girls a guide titled “Happy, Healthy and Hot: A Young Person’s Guide to Their Rights, Sexuality and Living with HIV.”

Leadership of the Girl Scouts adamantly they had any role in the guide. One of the long-running concerns is the Girl Scouts‘ membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The association, known as WAGGGS, is on record as saying girls and young women “need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality.” It also has called for increased access to condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, In 2004, the Great Plains Council of Girl Scouts, representing 11,000 girls, hired Beverly Todd Nolte as their CEO. Previously, Nolte had held marketing and lobbying positions with Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and Council Bluffs

Really? An eight-year-old hire? This seems to be the entire dossier against the GSA. Seems a tad flimsy to me.

Coming on the heels of the Vatican crackdown on nuns and threats to tighten annulment rules, it makes it clear which direction the church is heading.

I should have a response this afternoon from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg about its position and relationship with the GSA. I want to know if any local Girl Scout troops have ties with the church and whether those ties are at risk.

Most of all, I want to know where our local Catholic leadership stands on this issue. What do you think? Much ado about nothing? Or is the church right to stand up for its values and keep the pressure on the GSA?

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to Girl Scouts in the Catholic Church crosshairs

  1. Karl says:

    If what is alleged is true, BRAVO! In any event the Church
    needs more discipline and I am pleased to see it, provided
    it, too, is wisely administered so that it is not merely a
    swing of the pendulum.

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