It’s no more Thin Mints, Trefoils or Do-Si-Dos for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City -- which is cutting all ties to the Girl Scouts, whose troops often meet on church property.
The Kansas City Star tried to explain it all in the article I’ll be dissecting below.
Before that, I do want to mention that my daughter is in her second year of Girl Scouts here in Washington state and she sold 132 boxes of cookies this past winter, which is pretty good for someone who did it door to door instead of having her mommy strong-arm fellow employees (which is what goes on in some families).
Plus, I was part of a troop in Connecticut many moons ago. I had to slog through the snow to sell cookies. Those have jumped from $4/box to $5 this year, of which the local troop only gets a fraction.
So what is going on in Kansas City. It appears that, these days, Girl Scouts is more of an ideology than an after-school activity for some folks:
Saying that Girl Scouts is “no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel,” the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is severing ties with the organization and switching its support to a Christian-based scouting program.
“I have asked the pastors of the Archdiocese to begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops and toward the chartering of American Heritage Girls troops,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said in a statement released Monday.
“Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, or to, over the next several years, ‘graduate’ the scouts currently in the program. Regardless of whether they chose the immediate or phased transition, parishes should be in the process of forming American Heritage Girl troops, at least for their kindergartners, this fall.”
As I scanned through the rest of the article, there was no mention of how many girls or troops this involves. How many troops meet at local Catholic churches? We’re not told. The article continues:
American Heritage Girls, founded in 1995, has become an option for those who say Girl Scouts has become too liberal and has relationships with organizations that support abortion rights and do not share traditional family values -- allegations the Girl Scouts deny.
Naumann also called for an end to Girl Scout cookie sales in the archdiocese.
“No Girl Scout cookie sales should occur in Catholic Schools or on parish property after the 2016-2017 school year,” he said in a letter to priests in January.
The action has angered some Girl Scout leaders and parents in the archdiocese, who say Girl Scouts is a respected program that helps raise strong girls who become good stewards. They call the move punitive and unfair and say it treats girls in their troops like second-class citizens.
Just to say the Girl Scouts “deny” allegations doesn’t cut it. What exactly is the organization doing that so many find objectionable?
There are details out there, if reporters want to find them. If you want to know what Catholic leaders are reading, take a look at this Catholic News Agency post that I found in seconds on Google. Now admittedly, this article includes several non-working links but its point is summarized here:
In recent years, the Girl Scouts have tacked left, and criticism has mounted -- over their programs and their partnerships with America’s leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. (As an aside, the Scouts mislead families and churches into believing that they have no relationship with Planned Parenthood at any level; they maintain that “Girl Scouts of the USA (i.e. the national office) does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood,” but say nothing about the many local Girl Scout councils that do partner with Planned Parenthood and its teen subsidiaries.
Concerned Scouts and their parents have publicized and documented the Girl Scouts’ liberal bent. And they’ve asked for changes.
Read the rest of the link for more; but it’s not just Planned Parenthood these folks are complaining about. They allege that the Girl Scouts also encourage promiscuity and lesbianism, something I think the Star should have mentioned and let sources on both sides debate. At the very least, the newspaper could have said that the organization now allows transgender girls to join.
The piece then segues into a long tangent about American Heritage Girls, threw in a quote from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and listed what other regional dioceses were doing about the Scouts. Then the article got sloppy by failing to call up a Girl Scouts spokesperson. Instead:
The Girl Scouts, which has 1.9 million girl members and 800,000 adult members nationwide, does not take a position or develop materials on human sexuality, birth control or abortion, according to its website. And despite what critics say, the organization says, it does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
“Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature,” it says.
OK, that’s just kicking the ball down the field. Enough organizations have dug up tidbits of damning information on the Scouts to at least warrant a few more paragraphs specifying the objections. Plus, there's the obvious, as in picking up the phone and calling the Scouts themselves.
Or, as this faithwire piece notes, the Girl Scouts just got criticized by liberals for taking part in President Donald Trump’s inaugural parade.
Just this evening, my daughter was emailed a survey by the Girl Scouts that I helped her fill out. It was all about her experiences with her troop and what she liked and disliked. Other than one question asking whether she wanted the Girl Scouts to stay girls only, there wasn't anything else in there I saw as that radical.
So, what we're left with in this piece is that the archdiocese is breaking with the Girl Scouts for vague reasons not entirely spelled out in the news piece. Several parents think the archdiocese is being discriminatory for shutting the group out. Neither side is represented all that well in this reporting.
Sometimes a reporter needs to break free of the press releases and prepared quotes to get at the root of what happened and who made the final decisions and why. Call people up and ask questions.
Even thought it takes more work to smoke them out, it's the subtleties that tell the story.