Conservative Christians Criticize the Girl Scouts

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
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Conservative Christians Criticize the Girl Scouts

I thought this was too long to copy over here, so here is the link:

http://www.slate.com/id/2303903/

Basically, the article asserts that some Conservative Christians have painted the Girl Scouts as trying to indoctrinate young girls into a radically feminist agenda, encouraging promiscuity, and promoting homosexuality.

Do you think that the Girl Scouts is a radical feminist movement (that promotes promiscuity and/or homosexuality)? Would you let your daughter be a girl scout?

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I was a girl scout and I have been my DD;s girl scout leader for 6 years. (I'm also my DS's Cub Scout leader). I think scouting in general is the best thing for kids to get involved in. So to answer your question of whether I would let my DD join Girl Scouts, yes I would. Smile

As to whether or not GS is a feminist organization, well yes, of course it is. There are so many types of feminism. Feminism isn't just bra burning, man hating women.And it also doesn't mean promotion of promiscuity and abortion and lesbianism. Feminism at it's best is about empowering women to have choices and not be constrained by stereotypes and traditions that dictate who they can and should be. Who wouldn't want that for their daughters? And to me, that is exactly what GS is about.

As for the Christian Right, it seems to me that any organization that isn't based solely in Christianity(their idea of Christianity that is) and it's principles 100%, is deemed as wrong. GS embraces all religions, but it is an organization based in religion. I mean the GS promise states "On my honor, I will try, to serve G-d and my Country....". So WTF is their issue? Maybe their problem is anything that empowers anyone in anything other then Jesus, is bad? Even if it is about empowering themselves.

Oh and when cookie season comes around, don't be d**ks. Wink I just had to throw that in there. That was a fun debate. lol

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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I do not know enough about the girl scouts to know if I would send my child or not. I run in pretty Conservative circles and I have never heard any one say anything bad about them or that you should not let your child join.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Jesus better come back soon, these folks are starting to get really really desperate, it seems! I think that this is silly, and hope that this is just some fringe group of "conservatives" or something. Any organization that empowers children and encourages good citizenship and being capable and smart is a good one in my book.

I was a brownie, I think. The whole merit badge stuff wasn't really for me, but I enjoyed it enough to do it for a year or three in elementary school. I guess I would send my daughter, if she really wanted to do it. It wouldn't necessarily be something that I would super encourage unless she asked first, mostly because it seems like a lot of meetings and fundraising and sewing badges on and stuff that I'm not that into. That said, if SHE was into it, I would support her 100%. My DH was an Eagle scout and he is the best guy I know, so I can't be all anti scouting as it was obviously great for him.

I think that any woman who is afraid of feminism either doesn't know what feminism is, or else hates themselves or something.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3186

I bet this is backlash because some of us have issues with the Boy Scouts' stance on gay troop leaders.

I agree with Melis....women who fear feminism don't really know what it is.

The Girl Scouts seem great to me. I sort of hope my daughter isn't into it for the same reasons as Melis (Potter)...I am just not into all that stuff myself. I was a Brownie, briefly, but not a great one. That said, if she wants to do it I will support her 100%. They do some great projects in our neighborhood. My son wants to join the Boy Scouts and while I have issues, I will most likely just let him do it, I know that locally there won't be any anti-gay sentiment or anything.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I have never heard that from any of the christian organizations I am around. The conservative Lutheran church I teach at has 2 different scout groups that use our building.

I have agree that anyone that thinks the feminism that the scouts promote doesnt understand what they are trying to teach

Joined: 01/01/06
Posts: 262

Well, after reading the article, one thing I can say is that is definitely biased against those Christian Conservative critics. The whole article was promoted current Girl Scouts. So obviously whoever wrote it disagrees with the critics and their viewpoint came through.

I personally have never worked in or as a Girl Scout but I'm very familiar with the Boy Scouts (a dad, 5 brothers and a husband that are Eagle Scouts....and working with my boy on earning his Webelos badge right now). They have made small more "forward" changes recently and yet maintain a good focus on developing ones relationship with God and generally being a well-rounded and service-oriented person.

The article talked about how the Girl Scouts was always more "forward" looking than the Boy Scouts and is becoming more so. From the article:

A quick overview of the Girl Scouts website shows the organization's pride in its lobbying efforts on behalf of girls, and a wide range of published research addressing 21st century concerns such as body image, bullying, and yes, sexual health—with an emphasis on waiting for sex until maturity. (The Boy Scouts by contrast produce publications that shy away from these more provocative concerns and instead emphasize themes such as respect for elders and church attendance.)

Personally, I like the way the Boy Scouts encourages the Scout's own church beliefs,etc... I'm also glad my church offers its own program for similar-aged girls because I think those types of programs can be great. But I don't think the Girl Scouts would be my first choice.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I bet this is backlash because some of us have issues with the Boy Scouts' stance on gay troop leaders.

I agree with Melis....women who fear feminism don't really know what it is.

The Girl Scouts seem great to me. I sort of hope my daughter isn't into it for the same reasons as Melis (Potter)...I am just not into all that stuff myself. I was a Brownie, briefly, but not a great one. That said, if she wants to do it I will support her 100%. They do some great projects in our neighborhood. My son wants to join the Boy Scouts and while I have issues, I will most likely just let him do it, I know that locally there won't be any anti-gay sentiment or anything.

Two things. First, Girl Scouts has very little parent involvment compared to Cub Scouts. We had meetings twice a month and our troop wasmostly founded on volunteerism. We met every 3rd Sat. a month at the local assisted living facility and did arts and crafts and games with the residents there. It became kind of like a foster grandparent kind fo thing,and the girls really loved it. Before you get scared off by the ideaof sewing badges (which no one sews anymore, they are mostly iron on) and tons of meetings, I would look into it. I have found that most GS councils don't do a good job recruiting and getting out into the community, so if you wait for your DD to ask or show interest, she may not.

Second, we have talked before about BS and their anti-gay policies. I was concerned about that too when DS joined (DH is an Eagle Scout, too BTW). but I came to realize that really it is dictated more by the the Pack and the Pack Leader as to how it comes up. Our Pack in Sarasota was very welcoming to families with same sex parents. So much so, we changed forms to reflect families with same sex parents and changed many of our activities that used to be called Dad and Son Camping etc., to Family Camping because we had a few families with 2 moms. The intolerance of certain CEO's at the organizational level has little to do with the individual Packs.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"runningmom" wrote:

Well, after reading the article, one thing I can say is that is definitely biased against those Christian Conservative critics. The whole article was promoted current Girl Scouts. So obviously whoever wrote it disagrees with the critics and their viewpoint came through.

I personally have never worked in or as a Girl Scout but I'm very familiar with the Boy Scouts (a dad, 5 brothers and a husband that are Eagle Scouts....and working with my boy on earning his Webelos badge right now). They have made small more "forward" changes recently and yet maintain a good focus on developing ones relationship with God and generally being a well-rounded and service-oriented person.

The article talked about how the Girl Scouts was always more "forward" looking than the Boy Scouts and is becoming more so. From the article:

A quick overview of the Girl Scouts website shows the organization's pride in its lobbying efforts on behalf of girls, and a wide range of published research addressing 21st century concerns such as body image, bullying, and yes, sexual health—with an emphasis on waiting for sex until maturity. (The Boy Scouts by contrast produce publications that shy away from these more provocative concerns and instead emphasize themes such as respect for elders and church attendance.)

Personally, I like the way the Boy Scouts encourages the Scout's own church beliefs,etc... I'm also glad my church offers its own program for similar-aged girls because I think those types of programs can be great. But I don't think the Girl Scouts would be my first choice.

I'm sorry but I disagree. Boy Scouts have religious specific awards that boys can earn on their own. My husband earned the Religion Knot and the God and Me award fromthe Catholic Church. However, Girl Scouts have the exact same thing. So I really don't understand why you think Boy Scouts encourage religion and Girl Scouts don't.

Honestly, I think you might want to look a little more into the policies of both groups of scouting instead of just going off of what maybe you ahve heard int he media. Those brochures that the Girl Scouts had, are not passed out to Troops or in Councils. They were brochures that happen to be available at a Nation GS convention for older girls and were part of a panel discussion. I've been a scout and a leader and on committee and have never seen one of the brochures.

And the link to the GS website has that information for parents and leaders. It is not a recommendation or a guide for leadres to discuss it with the girls. and the fact is, when you take the online Course for being a leader in scouting, they talk about where to find answers to the same kind of questions.

Joined: 01/01/06
Posts: 262

"culturedmom" wrote:

I'm sorry but I disagree. Boy Scouts have religious specific awards that boys can earn on their own. My husband earned the Religion Knot and the God and Me award fromthe Catholic Church. However, Girl Scouts have the exact same thing. So I really don't understand why you think Boy Scouts encourage religion and Girl Scouts don't.

Honestly, I think you might want to look a little more into the policies of both groups of scouting instead of just going off of what maybe you ahve heard int he media. Those brochures that the Girl Scouts had, are not passed out to Troops or in Councils. They were brochures that happen to be available at a Nation GS convention for older girls and were part of a panel discussion. I've been a scout and a leader and on committee and have never seen one of the brochures.

And the link to the GS website has that information for parents and leaders. It is not a recommendation or a guide for leadres to discuss it with the girls. and the fact is, when you take the online Course for being a leader in scouting, they talk about where to find answers to the same kind of questions.

The article that was in the original post was pro-Girl Scouts and they even said that the Girl Scouts is not focused on the same things as the Boy Scouts. In fact they seemed to think the Boy Scouts were a bit antiquated. I simple prefer the antiquated...

I never said anything about how the info is decimated but rather that I was comfortable with our Boy Scouts (of which I have tons of experience)...and that I was equally great with my church group for girls. Did I ever say "Ooo Evil Girl Scouts" No. I just said that they wouldn't be my first choice based on how even pro-Girl Scout people paint them. (BTW, the closest I came to Girl Scouts was my going to some of the meetings for my sister and then about a month or so of Brownies before we moved from Minnesota....and like Cub Scouts is a bit different than actual Boy Scouts so I assume Brownies is from Girl Scouts i.e. parental involvement, etc)

Edited to add: If it makes you feel better, the Girl Scouts wouldn't be my last choice either Smile But still not my first choice.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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I don't care if it is your choice or not your choice. My point is I don't agree with what was said in the article, regardless of whether the author is pro-GS or not. I personally think the author doesn't know what they are talking about and I think it is a shame if anyone reads that article and comes away with what it seems you have come away with.

I have a combined 19 yearsin GS and 3 yearsin Cub Scouts. They are 2 different entities because boys and girls are different. Boys Scouts is based on a military style of organization. Girl Scouts is more leadership and emotional connection to the other girls. But both are set in tradition, charity, community,citizeship, and religion.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3186

"culturedmom" wrote:

Two things. First, Girl Scouts has very little parent involvment compared to Cub Scouts. We had meetings twice a month and our troop wasmostly founded on volunteerism. We met every 3rd Sat. a month at the local assisted living facility and did arts and crafts and games with the residents there. It became kind of like a foster grandparent kind fo thing,and the girls really loved it. Before you get scared off by the ideaof sewing badges (which no one sews anymore, they are mostly iron on) and tons of meetings, I would look into it. I have found that most GS councils don't do a good job recruiting and getting out into the community, so if you wait for your DD to ask or show interest, she may not.

Second, we have talked before about BS and their anti-gay policies. I was concerned about that too when DS joined (DH is an Eagle Scout, too BTW). but I came to realize that really it is dictated more by the the Pack and the Pack Leader as to how it comes up. Our Pack in Sarasota was very welcoming to families with same sex parents. So much so, we changed forms to reflect families with same sex parents and changed many of our activities that used to be called Dad and Son Camping etc., to Family Camping because we had a few families with 2 moms. The intolerance of certain CEO's at the organizational level has little to do with the individual Packs.

I think you underestimate my exhaustion and/or laziness. That sounds like a lot of participation for parents! And our neighbor across the street is a girl scout, and Juliet worships her, so that'll hook her in if anything does.

I agree with you on the second point, it's still very hard for me to agree to let my son participate in an organization with such a homophobic POLICY, though. But I won't stand in his way.

And the religion thing....well that is part of my resistance to both the girl AND the boy scouts. I wish there were groups like this in our neighborhood without the religion at all. I don't believe the same things they do so it's definitely a sticking point.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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Just curious. Which religion? I have never thought of the boy/girl scouts as being religious. I guess I don't really know a lot about them.

culturedmom's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Just curious. Which religion? I have never thought of the boy/girl scouts as being religious. I guess I don't really know a lot about them.

No particular religion. Every religious organization from Unitarian to B'hai have awards that girls and boy scouts can earn if they so choose. The only day to day religious aspect of scouting is when we say the promise and in it has the word G-d. which I guess if you say the pledge of allegiance, it shouldn't be much of a bother. What I like about scouting is it can be as spriritual or religious as the boy adn their family want it to be. I think it really depends on the Pack.

And Laurie, I totally get your opposition to Boy Scouts and their policy. It's how I feel when I shop at Target knowing thier CEO's position on gay rights. I wish there was an organization as great as Scouting that encompassed every aspect of my moral values from top to bottom. However, I have yet to find one and so my only hopeis that I can take all the good from Boy Scouts and counteract the bad by being involved and changing it within. It's hard though because if I stop and think about it, I know that I am involved in an organization where people within are discriminating against people. The question is how much good out wieghs the bad and can it ever. And can I be an advocate while still participating? I don't know. But I totally get it adn I feel ya Laurie. I really do.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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Thanks for the explanation.

I doubt that it is possible for there to be an organization that fit everyone's morals and values 100%.

If it was completely void of religion, people would be afraid they were teaching there children their is no God. If there was religion, but with a Catholic bend, people who are not Catholic would be upset about that. The same with any religion. In any organization it will mold to the individual leaders of the group. I am sure there are some bad ones that push their addenda, but also good ones that do their best to stay neutral. I do not think you can base the whole organization based on a few. You would have to see what your local group was like and base it on that.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Thanks for the explanation.

I doubt that it is possible for there to be an organization that fit everyone's morals and values 100%.

If it was completely void of religion, people would be afraid they were teaching there children their is no God. If there was religion, but with a Catholic bend, people who are not Catholic would be upset about that. The same with any religion. In any organization it will mold to the individual leaders of the group. I am sure there are some bad ones that push their addenda, but also good ones that do their best to stay neutral. I do not think you can base the whole organization based on a few. You would have to see what your local group was like and base it on that.

I don't think it's true that if there was no religion people would worry their kids are being taught there is no God. There are many groups that aren't affiliated with religion that just don't talk about it. People don't have that worry about schools, that if it's not associated with a religion the kids will get taught there's no God.

But part of how these groups were founded has to do with religion, I wouldn't expect them to change it since people are clearly happy with it. I just wish there was a local alternative. Some towns have other types of scouts, but we don't.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

People don't have that worry about schools, that if it's not associated with a religion the kids will get taught there's no God.

I know many, many people who feel that public schools teach there is no God.

That said, in this case I believe that the girl scouts could be a great organisation if they just remained neutral on the subject (they might, I don't know). I believe it is better to favor no religion (Atheism included), then to favor one over the other in a public setting. I also believe that is the true definition of separation of church and state. Not to keep people from religion, but to give everyone the freedom to worship (or not worship) however they see fit. That is the problem with lumping vast groups of people of all different religions together. It is very hard to keep your bias out of the classroom or whatever organization. If that bias is toward Atheism, then you are impressing upon young children that there is no God. Or if your bias is against homosexuality then you are influencing young children against homosexuals (we recently had this debate). It would be great if you could remain truly neutral, but that does not usually happen.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I know many, many people who feel that public schools teach there is no God.

That said, in this case I believe that the girl scouts could be a great organisation if they just remained neutral on the subject (they might, I don't know). I believe it is better to favor no religion (Atheism included), then to favor one over the other in a public setting. I also believe that is the true definition of separation of church and state. Not to keep people from religion, but to give everyone the freedom to worship (or not worship) however they see fit. That is the problem with lumping vast groups of people of all different religions together. It is very hard to keep your bias out of the classroom or whatever organization. If that bias is toward Atheism, then you are impressing upon young children that there is no God. Or if your bias is against homosexuality then you are influencing young children against homosexuals (we recently had this debate). It would be great if you could remain truly neutral, but that does not usually happen.

I'm confused. What religion are they favoring?

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I know many, many people who feel that public schools teach there is no God.

That said, in this case I believe that the girl scouts could be a great organisation if they just remained neutral on the subject (they might, I don't know). I believe it is better to favor no religion (Atheism included), then to favor one over the other in a public setting. I also believe that is the true definition of separation of church and state. Not to keep people from religion, but to give everyone the freedom to worship (or not worship) however they see fit. That is the problem with lumping vast groups of people of all different religions together. It is very hard to keep your bias out of the classroom or whatever organization. If that bias is toward Atheism, then you are impressing upon young children that there is no God. Or if your bias is against homosexuality then you are influencing young children against homosexuals (we recently had this debate). It would be great if you could remain truly neutral, but that does not usually happen.

How do you know that doesn't usually happen? I don't influence my students one way or the other when it comes to controversial issues like religion and sexuality.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I know many, many people who feel that public schools teach there is no God.

I have never, ever heard this. First of all, in America they make them say the pledge, which includes the words "under God". And they just don't discuss religion at all! The kids talk about it amongst themselves but who in their right mind would think a teacher would tell the kids -- let alone TEACH them -- that there is no God? Parents would be up in arms if that happened.

Very very strange.

And I think it's very easy to remain neutral. School does it, camp does it, any sort of group activity does it. But I think religion is, and always has been, part of scouts. I remember being uncomfortable with it as a brownie in Canada, because the "pledge" we had to say involved "God, the Queen, and my country", and I didn't believe in God. I was the only one back then, that's for sure!

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"culturedmom" wrote:

I'm confused. What religion are they favoring?

I am not saying they are favoring a religion. Just that it is hard to teach religion without favoring one, so it would be better to remain neutral.

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

How do you know that doesn't usually happen? I don't influence my students one way or the other when it comes to controversial issues like religion and sexuality.

I am sure that there are great classes out there that are able to stay neutral, but this has not been my experience in general.

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I have never, ever heard this. First of all, in America they make them say the pledge, which includes the words "under God". And they just don't discuss religion at all! The kids talk about it amongst themselves but who in their right mind would think a teacher would tell the kids -- let alone TEACH them -- that there is no God? Parents would be up in arms if that happened.

Very very strange.

And I think it's very easy to remain neutral. School does it, camp does it, any sort of group activity does it. But I think religion is, and always has been, part of scouts. I remember being uncomfortable with it as a brownie in Canada, because the "pledge" we had to say involved "God, the Queen, and my country", and I didn't believe in God. I was the only one back then, that's for sure!

I can only speak of the schools that I went to and where my DH has worked. Most teach evolution and in my opinion that is the same as teaching that there is no God. I also personally had a history teacher in HS that ridiculed anyone who believed in God and a biology teacher who taught evolution as fact and that anyone who did not believe that was an idiot. I know not everyone teaches that way, but even here in the South the classes that DH interprets in Evolution is taught as fact and it is never even suggested that it is only a theory or that there are people who feel differently.

A teacher is with their students about 7 hours a day, five days a week. It is only natural that they have a heavy influence on their students.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
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I've been involved with Girl Guides since I was 7 and every leader I have had and when I am working with the girls encourage not only exploration of their own faith whatever it may be, but also of others. We were actually discussing it recently among leaders as there is a review coming up about what the 'To do our duty to God' part of the promise meant in the current day.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am not saying they are favoring a religion. Just that it is hard to teach religion without favoring one, so it would be better to remain neutral.

I am sure that there are great classes out there that are able to stay neutral, but this has not been my experience in general.

I can only speak of the schools that I went to and where my DH has worked. Most teach evolution and in my opinion that is the same as teaching that there is no God. I also personally had a history teacher in HS that ridiculed anyone who believed in God and a biology teacher who taught evolution as fact and that anyone who did not believe that was an idiot. I know not everyone teaches that way, but even here in the South the classes that DH interprets in Evolution is taught as fact and it is never even suggested that it is only a theory or that there are people who feel differently.

A teacher is with their students about 7 hours a day, five days a week. It is only natural that they have a heavy influence on their students.

I am sorry you had that experience, having a teacher ridicule kids for their beliefs is terrible.

Now if you think teaching evolution means teaching there's no God, then yeah, you're going to think that's what the public schools are teaching. But that's a whole other debate, which we've already had here a while back. How do you reconcile that with saying the Pledge at the same school though? Isn't that teaching that there IS a God?