Friday, 03 February 2012

Cancel the Cookies: Grave Concerns Over Direction of Girl Scouts

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The Girl Scout cookie drive is in full swing and, as in the past, the 100-year-old organization expects to profit handsomely from truckloads of thin mints, caramel delights, shortbread, and other favorites sold by a nationwide army of green-clad girls to family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and complete strangers. But a few pro-life and pro-family groups are recommending a boycott of the cookies this year because of the Girl Scout (GSUSA) organization’s partnership with Planned Parenthood, its practice of allowing sexually confused boys to join its ranks, and its reported promotion of pre-marital sex among the girls it mentors.

In a Washington Times column published in mid-January, Cathy Cleaver Ruse of the Family Research Council helped get the boycott ball rolling as she recalled having to say no to a “sweet little neighbor” girl who came to her door to sell cookies. “I told her mother that I didn’t want to hurt Katie’s feelings,” wrote Ruse, “but I couldn’t support the Girl Scout cookie sale anymore because I’d learned too much about the organizers’ agenda, primarily their support for abortion and partnership with Planned Parenthood.”

Not surprisingly, the organization has denied any official connection to the abortion giant. “Misinformation is passing as fact,” Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney quoted Girl Scouts D.C.-area president Diane Tipton as saying. “The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on abortion or birth control, and these topics are not part of the Girl Scout program or our materials. We believe these matters are best discussed by girls with their families.”

Nonetheless, in 2008 nearly 25 percent of GSUSA councils across the U.S. said that they had a relationship with Planned Parenthood, and that same year, on NBC’s Today show, then-GSUSA CEO Kathy Cloninger confirmed her organization’s partnership with the abortion/contraception provider. Even as the Girl Scouts organization was denying the connection, none other than Planned Parenthood’s congressional aide, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), called the relationship between the two groups “very valuable.”

Twelve years ago, residents in Crawford, Texas, home of former President George W. Bush, boycotted the Girl Scout cookie drive when they found out that the local Girl Scout council had given its coveted “Woman of Distinction” award to Pam Smallwood, then-executive director for Planned Parenthood of Central Texas. USA Today reported that parents in Crawford were also “disturbed to find out that the Girl Scout organization has been giving its endorsement for years to a Planned Parenthood sex-ed program in which girls and boys are given literature on homosexuality, masturbation, and condoms.”

That Planned Parenthood/GSUSA connection to raunchy sex manuals apparently continues. According to Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a March 2010 United Nations women’s conference included a closed-door session sponsored by GSUSA, during which a teen-focused Planned Parenthood brochure, entitled Healthy, Happy and Hot, was discussed and distributed. To say the least, the content of the brochure leans toward the pornographic, is geared toward both hetero- and homosexual relationships, and counsels kids (in one of the milder examples), “There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore, and be yourself!”

A recent Catholic News Agency (CNA) report demonstrated that the connection to Planned Parenthood, as well as to other abortion/contraception causes, appears to go straight to the top of the GSUSA bureacracy. The CNA report cited these and other examples:

• "GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chavez partnered with Planned Parenthood as head of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas."

• "GSUSA National President Connie Lindsey donates to the pro-abortion, pro-LGBT Chicago Foundation for Women."

• "GSUSA Board Member Monica Gil is a volunteer and former board member (through 2011) of the Saban Free Clinic in L.A., which provides "free and easy" birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion referrals to teens over 12, without parental notice or consent."

• "GSUSA Board Member and Executive Secretary Debra Nakatomi is International Commissioner to the pro-abortion World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and promoted contraceptives to Asian teens through California’s Get Real program."

• "Laurie Westley, GSUSA Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Advocacy & the Research Institute, previously worked for the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group dedicated to electing pro-choice women."

• "Joan Wagnon, the GSUSA Treasurer, Board of Directors, accepted large campaign contributions from late-term abortionist George Tiller while she was Secretary of Kansas’ Department of Revenue and praised Tiller’s ‘social conscience and … big heart.’” She qualified that endorsement, however, adding: “If you didn’t know that George did abortions, you’d think he was the world’s nicest guy.”

Additionally, the Catholic News Agency report noted that GSUSA is staffed by individuals with some fairly solid connections to homosexual activism. For example, the GSUSA’s bio for its Chief of External Affairs, Timothy Higdon, highlights his service in the U.S. Army and his work with Amnesty International, as well as the fact that he is an Eagle Scout, a significant honor. What the glowing bio doesn’t mention, however, notes the CNA report, is that, “spurred by his decision to come out as a gay man, he’s a ‘seasoned gay rights activist.’ (For example, in 2002 he headed a Florida gay rights organization working closely with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.)

Another GSUSA staffer, Deborah Taft, who serves as a Senior VP of Fund Development, also “sits on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Board of Governors,” the CNA notes, adding that the HRC is well-known for pushing homosexual marriage, “and is an adoption bully, pummeling religious adoption agencies that prefer married heterosexuals to homosexual pairs.

Somewhat lower down in the GSUSA hierarchy sits one of the group’s media spokespersons, Joshua Ackley, whom the CNA report identifies as “the former lead singer of the Dead Betties, a queer band whose music videos feature masturbation, prostitution, and sexualized violence against women. Ackley’s past activism suggests he’s not likely to flinch over a sexually inappropriate book or lesbian role models.

Such a strange conglomeration of leadership may help explain why the Girl Scouts have no trouble welcoming boys who are confused about their gender into their ranks (see The New American for this story), or why, as reported by, they react with such negative intensity to the pro-life inclinations of one of their employees.

It also helps to explain why so many individuals and families who embrace traditional values are compelled to say “no, thank you” to the innocent little girls knocking on their doors with an armful of Girl Scout cookies. And why many of those same families are pulling their own girls out of the secular scouting group in favor of a more godly and wholesome alternative.

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