As the Girl Scouts USA continues to hemorrhage members and money because of its continued support of what many see as extreme ideological ideas, Girl Scout leaders from around the world converged on the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis, only to receive a gentle but firm scolding on gender ideology.
The optics were clear. The group, which has staked out positions in opposition to Christian teaching on abortion and human sexuality, met with Francis hoping the thousands of daughters and moms exiting Scouting would have a second thought.
Pictures of Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Marie Chavez shaking hands with a smiling Pope were quickly added to the Girl Scout website. A statement issued as the trip to Rome began extolled the Girl Scouts’ ongoing commitment to faith. GSUSA National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannah said, “At Girl Scouts, faith unifies us and inspires us…”
Critics are not so sure. The exodus from Girl Scouting began years ago when they made God optional in their pledge. At that time an overtly Christian group called American Heritage Girls was formed and has grown by leaps and bounds as the Girl Scout membership continued to shrink.
While there were smiling pictures snapped with the Pope and a warm Vatican welcome, he also warned them: “We live in a world in which the most contrary ideologies are spreading to the nature and design of God on the family and on marriage.” He said girls needed to be educated about the “just and differentiated relation between man and woman.”
The Girl Scouts are having none of that.
In recent years, in fact, the Girl Scouts USA have plunged pell-mell into what the Pope has repeatedly referred to as “gender ideology.” Besides being cozy with abortion advocates, the Girl Scouts now openly promote the LGBT agenda. What more, they now accept boys cross-dressing as girls.
A troop in Washington State just declined a $100,000 donation because the donor said it was not to be tied to “transgender” Scouts. The troop went online and raised twice that amount to replace the donation they refused. A Girl Scout leader said, “We wholeheartedly believe every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”
A few years ago Girl Scouts USA sponsored a panel for girls at the United Nations where parents were not allowed. A Mormon mother who was kicked out stayed around and discovered on the brochure table a document from Planned Parenthood called “Healthy, Happy and Hot” that talked positively about, among other things, anal sex. The Girl Scouts denied they had anything to do with the brochure being in the room, though a few days later it was openly distributed at the UN by the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, the global umbrella group of Scouting of which GSUSA is the largest member and largest donor.
A cookie boycott was launched last year because of these and other issues. The “cookiecott” made national news and likely contributed to the continuing decline not only in membership but cookie sales, which is one of the primary funding sources for Girl Scouts.
Despite voluminous evidence of problems in Scouting, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, a Washington DC-based group supporting Catholic participation in Girl Scouts, continues to give Girl Scouts USA a clean bill of health.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse