Archbishop Ends Association with Girl Scouts: Sign of ‘Increasingly Hostile Secular Culture’

girl scouts
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

The Catholic archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, is ending his archdiocese’s association with the Girl Scouts, citing the organization’s increased secularization and the promotion of values that are inconsistent with the Gospel.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann recently announced that the parishes in his archdiocese would no longer host the Girl Scouts, but would, instead begin chartering the American Heritage Girls (AHG), an organization that promotes Christian values as it also introduces girls to skill-building in all areas of life.

In an interview with Crux, Naumann observed that his decision to break ties with the Girl Scouts is a sign of a cultural trend.

“We face an increasingly hostile secular culture, which really is promoting things very different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our vision of the human person, the dignity of the human person,” he explained. “We’re going to have to be much more vigilant as Christians and as Catholics about with whom we partner and who we invite in, particularly with regard to the formation of our young people.”

In a statement earlier this month, the archbishop noted that he has studied the concern about the Girl Scouts for a number of years, engaging in discussions with parents, scouts, pastors, and Girl Scouts representatives. He states the “disturbing content in materials and resources” created and distributed by the national Girl Scouts organization, and discovered by his youth ministry staff, was a primary factor in his final decision.

Naumann said:

The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.

Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently held up in materials as role models for young Scouts. These as well as many other “role models” in the GSUSA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.

Margaret Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and promoter and distributer of artificial birth control. Gloria Steinem and the late Betty Friedan have been icons of the feminist movement and promoters of abortion and contraception for women as economically necessary.

Naumann continued that AHG is “a program based on Christian values” that he views as “a much better fit for our parishes” and for the young people entrusted to their care.

“To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural,” he says in his statement. “With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) of programs and materials reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture, they are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.

The archbishop told Crux that some of the fallout from his decision has included the reaction, “’How could you dare do this?’”

“It’s as if, not only do they [the Girl Scouts] have a right to their own vision of the human person and marriage and family life, but we have an obligation to turn our young people over to them to be formed in these values,” he added.

Atheist Hermant Mehta ridiculed Naumann’s decision at Patheos in a piece titled, “Kansas City Archdiocese Abandons Girls Scouts Because an Archbishop Thinks Cookies Fund Abortions.”

He mocked:

The Archdiocese of Kansas City (in Kansas) is finally taking action against the people who routinely ignore the Catholic Church’s stated values.

So say goodbye to all those pedophile priests.

Wait. No. That’s not it.

Mehta continued, “They don’t like that the Girl Scouts (sometimes) indirectly help support an organization that provides birth control, mammograms, general health screenings, and, yes, abortion services for millions of women.”

As he ridiculed Naumann, Mehta also spread the “fake news” that Planned Parenthood provides “mammograms.” Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards testified before Congress that none of her organization’s clinics have mammogram machines, and pro-life group Live Action produced a video about the myth that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms.

“[I]t’s worth noting that American Heritage Girls, the Christian alternative to Girl Scouts that the Archdiocese is now supporting, asks little girls to pledge to be celibate until marriage and to never, ever be a lesbian,” Mehta continued the falsehoods.

However, Margot Cleveland points out at The Federalist the archbishop’s decision is all about “resistance” to a secularized and relativistic culture.

“But I guess resistance only merits celebration when it consists of the liberal kind—pointless posing with pussy hats and pee-ins,” she explains.

“That’s okay, though: Conservatives have come to accept that double standards are just the way the Trefoils crumble,” she quips, referring to the well-known Girl Scout cookie.

According to the AHG website, the group was founded in 1995 by Patti Garibay, a Girl Scout volunteer who grew uncomfortable with the organization when the word “God” became optional in the Girl Scouts promise.

Members of AHG can earn badges in six different “frontiers”: Our Heritage, Personal Well-Being, Family Living, the Arts, Science and Technology, and Outdoor Skills.

AHG invites girls to develop leadership and team-building skills, and to expand their spirituality and social and character development as well.


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