Way to Pick Your Battles, Catholic Church

Continuing their theme of assigning tasks based on angry wingnut e-mail forwards from America’s brothers-in-law, now U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops think the Girl Scouts are leading our young astray:

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ “possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

The bishops’ conference provided a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, but otherwise declined comment.


One of the long-running concerns is the Girl Scouts’ membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The association, known as WAGGGS, is on record as saying girls and young women “need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality.” It also has called for increased access to condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Somewhere in my mother’s house is the Girl Scout sash I earned with every badge on it and maybe I missed class that day but not one of them is the Condom Distribution & Promotion badge. Mostly, sitting around the campfires making s’mores, we earned badges in things like sewing and woodworking and finding our way with a compass and stuff. We did service projects and collected food for pantries. I must have missed the meeting where we got our Dildo Use for Fun and Profit instructions.

Recently I hosted a group of Brownies at the ferret shelter, where they were earning badges in caring for animals, so they got to pet the adoptables and see how we cleaned cages and gave medications and feedings. Nobody told me I was supposed to cover how to procure a hasty abortion, and we were short on time anyway, so my bad.

This is so stupid and small and pointless and silly. The Girl Scouts aren’t even saying anything about condoms. They’re “associated” with a group that is “on record” as saying something as innocuous as “condoms prevent disease and we should probably not all die of syphilis because it’s no longer 1742 and also yuck.”

They’re not even saying “girls should be able to have whatever sex they feel they should have,” which would be sensible enough. They’re just saying, “girls should have an environment in which they can talk about sex without being afraid of some asshole calling them whores for asking questions about their own bodies.” Even devout Catholics who intend to be virgins until marriage could still benefit from an environment in which they can talk about sex. That is, unless you’re the kind of pinched, unhappy, punishing jackass who thinks even the word sex is just too dangerous for young female minds.

That sort of person seems to rise high in the administration of the bishops.


13 thoughts on “Way to Pick Your Battles, Catholic Church

  1. I was a Girl Scout for years and years… and then I became a leader so my daughter could be a Brownie and then a Scout — it is an absolutely wonderful place for girls to
    LEARN skills, practice Leadership, explore their environment and career options, and work in their community. Honestly, I love the program — it is most valuable for the girls who DON’T and WON’T get support at home/school — it gives girls opportunities they lack. The Girl Scouts of America are completely inclusive — that is one reason the wing nuts hate them — the Scouts do NOT exclude girls because of religion, race, sexual identity, poverty.
    Yet another reason I will not go back to the Catholic church… my mom and mother in law are upset with me, but I cannot be a member of a hate organization. They hate on the gays, women, Girl Scouts, nuns… Obama. Liberal Catholics have no home anymore — staying in the Church and trying to change it from within is a delusional myth.

  2. I was a Cub Scout leader and adult Scouter for years.
    The GSA is a far better place for youth than the BSA — and the Camp Fires, who accept both boys *and* girls, better still.

  3. The Girl Scouts are totally NOT the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts REQUIRE and oath to a deity; the Girl Scouts do NOT. Just one more reason the Catholic Church prefers the Boys over the Girls.

  4. What Hobbes said.
    The Girl Scouts are not connected to the Boy Scouts. Which is probably why the Church is hassling them.
    They HAVEN’T RENOUNCED and/or REPUDIATED enough.

  5. The way that authoritarians accrue authority is by asserting it. Failure to object is assumed to be acquiescence. This is most important when they are under fire for abuse of authority.
    Everything the Bishops are doing is an effort to change the subject from the Bishops failure to meet the reasonable expectations of the laity with regard to pedophiles abusing children to the failure of anybody and everybody failure to meet the Bishops unreasonable expectations.
    Do the Bishops have the authority to dictate health care in the US. Do they have the authority to dictate to the Girl Scouts?
    To hear the corporate media tell it they do. I can’t help but wonder why that is assumed and not questioned.

  6. The Bishops stand accused of turning a blind eye to horrendous crimes against children. Their response is to go on the offensive against women.
    They have had a lot of success with this strategy over the years.

  7. This is so stupid and small and pointless and silly. …
    Yes and since when has the wingnutosphere been anything else?
    This started on some WingNut Daily post or some such and last February some idiot Indiana (of course!) lawmaker tried to claim the Girl Scouts were “the tactical arm of Planned Parenthood” for which he was roundly ridiculed.
    Three months later someone has forwarded an e-mail to someone at some Catholic diocese and that got forwarded on up the chain and now we have the mainstreaming of the crazeee. I predict Tennessee legislators will take up the issue when they return to session in August or whenever that happens. Bank on it.
    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet.

  8. Oh lord, where do I even start. 13 years of Catholic school here; I guess I’ll limit myself to two stories.
    1. When I was 21, I finally went on the birth control pill for extreme debilitating menstrual cramps (as in, I regularly missed at least one day of school every month) that I’d had since menarche at age 11. Until that time, when the prescribing doctor gave me lit to look over, the only literature I’d ever seen on birth control was a school-distributed flyer shaped like a pack of Ortho-Tricyclen with dead fetuses in the blisters instead of pills. I mentioned my birth control over dinner once when my Catholic grandmother was present, and she called me a slut and refused to talk to me for the rest of the meal. How dare I not want to miss classes, I guess.
    2. While my high school was ridiculously loath to discuss any part of the actual act of sex, they loved talking about the consequences. They went sufficiently far out of their way to shame a friend of mine (who’d self-aborted because she was too scared to tell anyone at the time) that she had a complete mental breakdown, named and bought presents for her dead fetus, and held it a funeral. By age 25 she had four children by two different men and had gotten a tubal ligation.
    Totally normal and healthy behavior, that’s what the Catholic Church wants for all us women.

  9. @Aaaargh – the Girl Scouts are actually not homophobic at all – hell, they let transgender children participate. They’re completely unassociated with the Catholic Church’s best buddies, the Boy Scouts of America.

  10. Conservatives are all mad about some brochure that was present at a Girl Scouts event and they are even angrier about the troop in Colorado that accepted a transgender kid.
    But the most amazing news about Catholics came to me from Pierce’s blog last week with a link to a NYTimes editorial from May 6th about extending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits filed by child victims of abuse. Guess who’s fighting this – that craptacular “Cardinal Timothy Dolan has made defeating statute of limitations reform one of his top legislative priorities.”
    I hope he burns in hell!

  11. So this was prompted by the Fort Wayne Bishop’s inquiry, which is the city represented by Bob Morris, who, in the Indiana General Assembly refused to vote for a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts because they were commies.
    Stay out of northeast Indiana, apparently.

  12. Weird, you’d think that homophobic organizations like the Scouts and the Catholic Church would get along better. Perhaps Der Popenfuehrer was angered by the notion of groups of young girls when he would prefer groups of young boys.

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