Catholic Bishops Vs. Girl Scouts: The Mannish Inquisition

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not…” Matthew 19:14

‘Ehhhhh…Maybe not THAT one’ U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Okay, so I’m paraphrasing on that second quote. The Catholic Church has decided to weigh in on the side of far-right conservatives in the struggle against female empowerment. According to the Huffington Post the church has decided to launch an ‘Inquiry’ into the Girl Scouts of America’s “possible problematic relationships with other organizations,” as well as program materials that the church also deems “problematic.”

At issue are suspected ties to Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization that has become a lightning rod for conservative political opportunists, in addition to some policies that have led the Catholic Bishops to suspect the scouts of being tolerant and inclusive. Those apparently anti-Christian policies include acknowledging the existence of other peoples religions and failing to discriminate against a 7-year-old.

Additionally, the Girl Scouts have incidental ties to other organizations that have incidental ties to contraception. The Girl Scouts of America are part of a group called the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. This group is active in 145 nations, and has seen fit to discuss sexuality as it applies to the health and welfare of their members in some countries.

There are so many aspects to this inquisition… I mean inquiry, that one hardly knows where to begin. But aside from our society’s infantile squeamishness about the realities of human sexuality and the health issues that a lack of information inevitably causes, there’s the troubling issue of the Catholic Church joining the ranks of conservatives using the Girl Scouts as a political football.

The Girl Scouts of America are shaping up to be this election cycle’s ACORN. A mostly benign organization that positively impacts a group that lacks a strong voice in our society. A 100-year-old entity known mostly for selling cookies and singing songs. They are also low-hanging fruit. A handful of reactionaries on the right have grabbed some ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ type headlines for claiming the Girl Scouts promote abortion and homosexuality (although the latter seems like it would cancel out the need for the former). Another popular fear tactic has been claiming some sort of nebulous ‘ties to Planned Parenthood, as though Planned Parenthood was an organized crime syndicate, rather than a social program geared towards women’s health.

And although the Catholic church hardly needs to be goaded into making draconian gestures from a long outdated point of view, their decision seems at least partly based on the prodding of a ‘visiting fellow on Catholic studies’ from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank based in Washington D.C.. Take THAT, separation of church and state fans!

Most people know the story of Galileo and his problems with the church; he concluded the Earth revolved around the sun, which was contrary to Biblical teaching. What you might not be aware of is the fact that Galileo strove mightily to compromise with the church even during their prosecution of him. Galileo was a Catholic, as well as a scientist, and he strove throughout his trials to reconcile his learning with his faith’s leaders. Of course he failed, and they locked him up for the rest of his life.

Similarly, about 25% of the G.S.A. are Catholic. They meet in parish halls, and the girls sometimes get to wear their Girl Scout uniforms to school in place of their everyday school uniforms. They talk about cookies, and jamborees and all the other things little girls talk about. They’re not political, they’re children. Do you even imagine you could persuade them to stay in a group that hectored them about the mechanics of sex and contraception? They’d flee in droves.

But you know what Is a political organization? The Catholic Church. It has been for two millennium now. It’s a massive, fantastically wealthy world power, older than the discovery of North America. It is and has always been a power broker headquartered in a foreign country. Its motives are its own interests, and not those of America’s. While they’ve been far removed from being women’s advocates in the past, to see them tied to the conservative movement’s war on women is disheartening.

Especially when they’re going after the ones too young to fight back.

Here’s a satire video for your enjoyment: