The Catholic Church in the Kansas City area has dropped its relationship with the Girls Scouts, saying the organization’s alleged ties with Planned Parenthood are not consistent with the values of the church.
“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,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, wrote in a May 1 statement.
“The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one.”
Naumann pointed to the Girl Scouts’ financial aid of an advocacy organization with ties to Planned Parenthood. The Girl Scouts of the USA denies the group has any relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
“The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women,” Naumann wrote.
The Girl Scouts describes its relationship with the world scouting organization as “akin to the United States’ relationship with the United Nations.”
“The GSUSA does pay dues to WAGGGS, but claims that it does not always take the same positions as the global organization, and that scouts’ membership dues aren’t used to pay WAGGGS,” The Huffington Post noted.
Girls Scouts promise they will “serve God,” as noted in the Girl Scout Promise that members must memorize and recite at meetings.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced that parishes should no longer host Girl Scouts troops that meet in the church, and that the selling of cookies to support the scouts shouldn’t occur in Catholic schools or on parish property after the 2016-2017 school year.
“Our greatest responsibility as a church is to the children and young people in our care,” Naumann wrote. “We have a limited time and number of opportunities to impact the formation of our young people. It is essential that all youth programs at our parishes affirm virtues and values consistent with our Catholic faith.”
Instead, the church will support the “Christ-centered, faith-based, scouting-type program” American Heritage Girls troops.
“American Heritage Girls, with 1,005 troops and more than 47,000 members, has become an option for those who believe the Girl Scouts has turned too liberal and who say it has relationships with organizations that don’t share their conservative values,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
In contrast, the Girl Scouts has a membership of 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults.
“Everything in Girl Scouting is based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which includes many of the principles and values common across religions,” the website of the Girl Scouts notes. “So while we are a secular organization, Girl Scouts has always encouraged girls to take spiritual journeys via their faiths’ religious recognitions.”
Girls Scouts promise they will “serve God,” as stated in the Girl Scout Promise that members must memorize and recite at meetings.
“On my honor, I will try: to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law,” the Girl Scout Promise says.
“Faith organizations regularly partner with Girl Scout councils to more closely link their religious recognitions with the national My Promise, My Faith pin,” the organization says. “Adult volunteers advise girls along their personal faith journey and help them strengthen their own understanding of their faith.”
It’s not uncommon for Girl Scouts troops to hold meetings in church buildings.
The Kansas City archbishop, however, felt strongly about severing connections with the group.
“Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, or to, over the next several years, ‘graduate’ the scouts currently in the program,” Archbishop Naumann stated. “Regardless of whether they chose the immediate or phased transition, parishes should be in the process of forming American Heritage Girl troops, at least for their kindergartners, this fall.”
“The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one,” he added.
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