Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scout cookie season is well underway, but one Catholic leader is urging his flock to put their faith before their taste buds.
In a letter to the Archdiocese of St. Louis and a page on “Scouting and the Catholic Church” on the church website, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson advised Catholics to reconsider allowing their daughter to join the Girl Scouts organization, and to understand that even indulging in a seemingly innocent Thin Mint would help the organization.
In particular, Archbishop Carlson has taken issue with the organization’s “continued promotion of contraception and ‘abortion rights,’” and promotion of “role models in conflict with Catholic values, such as [leaders of the feminism movement] Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.”
“In addition, recent concerns about GSUSA and their position on and inclusion of transgender and homosexual issues are proving problematic,” the letter states. “Our culture is becoming increasingly intolerant of a Catholic worldview regarding these issues. While Catholics are called to treat all people with compassion and mercy, we must at the same time be mindful of whom we allow to teach and form our youth and the messages they present.”
Archbishop Carlson also called the organization’s “troubling pattern of behavior” a sign that the Scouts were “becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.”
Last summer, a troop in Washington State also upset the church by refusing a $100,000 donation on the stipulation that no transgender girl would be allowed to join. Instead, the Scouts declined the money, saying, “Girl Scouts is for every girl.” In Early February, a transgender Scout identified as Stormi gained international support when she made the switch from in-person to online sales after a cruel neighbor told her “nobody wants to buy cookies from a boy in a dress.”
Officially, the national organization does not have a stance on issues of human sexuality, birth control, or abortion, though regarding transgender members, “if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.”
However, while the church’s withdrawal of support for Girl Scouts will mean that the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri can no longer use parish grounds for meetings, the bishop’s letter has done seemingly very little to establish his desired anti-Scout sentiment.
“There has been an outpouring of support from our community,” the chapter’s chief executive, Bonnie Barczykowski, told The New York Times. Without the church, the troops will still have access to community centers, libraries, and other religious centers.
And as for the campaign against cookies, St. Louis Catholics may have chosen to turn a deaf ear to their bishop’s advice. “To our knowledge no one has called and canceled their cookie orders,” Barczykowski said.
When reached for comment, the Girl Scouts organization did not appear to be ruffled by the Archdiocese’s announcement. “Girl Scouts of the USA looks forward to extending our longstanding relationship with faith-based organizations, including the Catholic Church and Catholic communities, throughout the country,” a spokesperson told The Daily Meal. “As the preeminent leadership development organization for girls of every faith and background, we remain committed to building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”