Friday, 16 December 2011

Louisiana Girl Scout Leaders Disband Troops Over Gender Confusion Issue

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A group of Girl Scout leaders in Louisiana has decided to dismantle its troops because of a recent decision by the national organization to allow boys who are confused about their gender to join the ranks of the female scouting program. The leaders, who oversee three Girl Scout troops at Northlake Christian School in Lacombe, Louisiana, explained that the move by the group’s national leadership conflicted with their host organization’s Christian beliefs. “This goes against what we [Northlake Christian School] believe,” Susan Bryant-Snure, one of the leaders, told Baptist Press News. Snure has three daughters of her own among the 25 girls participating in the Girl Scout program through the school.

BP News reported that the school is looking into filling the scouting void by joining with the American Heritage Girls, a specifically Christian group “organized in 1995 in protest to the Girl Scouts’ decision to allow scouts to replace the word 'God' in scout teachings with a word representing a personal image of God, such as a ‘higher being,’ ‘Allah’ or ‘Buddha.’”

The Christian school’s decision to disassociate from the Girl Scouts — which will most likely be repeated by other groups across the nation — was precipitated after a woman in Denver, Colorado, publicly complained that a local Girl Scout troop had refused to allow her gender-confused seven-year-old son to join the group. As reported by The New American, “A Girl Scout official originally told Felisha Archuleta that her son could not join a local Girl Scout troop, but, sensing a public relations nightmare, the group quickly changed its mind.”

In a rapid about-face, Colorado Girl Scout officials explained that the local leader had not been filled in on the group’s policy that allows boys who identify as girls to join. “Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members,” the Girls Scouts said in a statement. “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.” The statement claimed that “requests for support of transgender kids have grown, and Girl Scouts of Colorado is working to best support these children, their families and the volunteers who serve them.”

As news of the decision by the Louisiana Girl Scout troops to disband became public, Rachelle Trujillo, a Girl Scout spokesperson, told the Christian Post that “Girls Scouts of the USA is really giving Girl Scout councils around the country the flexibility to handle [gender identity issues] by working in their own communities.”

The Northlake Christian School groups have chosen to “handle” the issue by joining American Heritage Girls, a group that shares its Christian values. According to Baptist Press News, that girls’ scouting group “proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord, limits membership to girls, and works to disciple girls as Christians.”

Jeff Johnston, a public policy analyst at Focus on the Family who specializes in homosexuality, told BP News that the Girl Scout policy of accepting gender confused boys into its program is misguided and potentially dangerous.

Such a policy “creates confusion for children,” he said, noting that some parents in Colorado have contacted his organization to voice their concern over Girl Scout camping trips that include boys pretending to be girls. “Having a boy there would be inappropriate and would add to the confusion they’re already presenting the girls with,” Johnston told BP News.

Johnston discouraged parents from buying into the notion that because a child seems confused, they must allow him to explore gender alternatives. “Most little boys who express this transgender confusion will grow out of it,” he told BP News, emphasizing that boys should be encouraged to embrace their masculinity.

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