'Female Liberalism' Pervades Girl Scouts, Says Ex-Scout
July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM
(CNSNews.com) - Unlike the Boy Scouts, who have become targets of the political left because they reject homosexual scout leaders, the Girl Scouts have found favor from leftist groups because of the organization's openness to a wide range of views on social issues.
In the summer of 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America had the constitutional right to bar homosexual scout leaders from the private organization, because homosexuality is contrary to the Boy Scouts' oath, in which members promise to be "morally straight."
The Girl Scouts cling to no such oath, however, allowing members to choose their own belief systems. In fact, the Girl Scouts merely requires girls to adhere to certain guidelines, which include reciting the Girl Scout Promise: "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."
According to Alexus Ranniar, media consultant with the national headquarters of the Girl Scouts of the USA in New York, the Girl Scouts take a different approach and try not to get mixed up in social issues, such as religion.
"The purpose of Girl Scouting is to inspire girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism and service, that they may become happy and resourceful citizens," said Ranniar. "Our movement is nonsectarian, founded on American democratic principles, one of which is freedom of religion."
The Girl Scouts started out simply as a club for girls to get to know other girls while participating in activities together. Begun in Savannah, Ga., in 1912, the Girl Scouts originally had a membership of only 18, compared to the 3.7 million of today. Its founder, Juliette Gordon Low, intended to provide "something for all the girls," encouraging them to come out of their "cloistered home environments to serve in their communities and experience the open air."
Currently, the Girl Scouts advertise that, "Throughout its history, Girl Scouting has held on to its traditional values while maintaining a contemporary outlook -- a dual focus expected to continue in the 21st century."
However, some think the image of the Girl Scouts as a "traditional values" organization is gone.
"Boy, things sure have changed a lot in my lifetime," said Carolyn Kunkle, who participated in the scouts in the early 1960s. Kunkle reminisced back to when she attended Camp Sacajawea in New Jersey as a girl, which included activities like earning badges, cooking, sewing, pitching a tent, swimming, manners, and etiquette.
"Back then, Girl Scouting was all about being a good little girl, being honest, being truthful," Kunkle said.
However, after hearing that the Girl Scouts had rented out Camp Sacajawea to a feminist/homosexual organization (Alternative Fun in the Summer Sun: July 3, 2001), and that the Girl Scouts had refused to take sides on several moral issues facing America, especially homosexuality and abortion, Kunkle said it shows how liberalism has taken over the Girl Scouts.
"It is a real shame that girls are being taught that [agenda] ... they have lost their moral fabric as well," Kunkle said.
The little-known presence of lesbians in the Girl Scouts was the subject of Nancy Manahan's "On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience," published in 1997, in which a collection of essays written by several former Girl Scouts provides testimony of the overwhelming presence of lesbians in the scouts.
Although Manahan could not be interviewed for this article, the National Review did publish an article entitled, "The Cookie Crumbles: The Girl Scouts Go PC (politically correct)" in October of 2000.
Associate editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote about "various stories of 'butch' counselors who wore men's clothes and had slicked back short hair" and one essay entitled "All I Really Need to Know About Being a Lesbian, I Learned At Girl Scout Camp." Other stories included memories of sleepovers and camping trips that allegedly became testing grounds for lesbian sex. According to Lopez, "Girl Scout staffers writing in the book claim that roughly one in three of the Girl Scouts' paid professional staff is lesbian."
Ranniar said the controversial issues are discussed in Girl Scout troops, but are done so in a delicate, non-partisan fashion, and only with parental consent.
"In some areas of the country, depending on community norms, Girl Scouting may offer educational workshops on topics in human sexuality," said Ranniar. "In all instances, the topic is discussed from an informative, rather than an advocacy view."
On the issues of abortion and birth control, Ranniar said, the Girl Scouts prefer not to get involved in the debate.
"The Girl Scout organization has not taken a position on abortion or birth control. Our membership is a cross-section of America's diversity in religious opinions and practices and to take a stand on these issues might be in conflict with the opinions held by a portion of our membership."
Chipping Away at Values?
Wendy Wright, spokesperson for Concerned Women for America, said the Girl Scouts' silence on such issues reflects a breakdown in the "traditional values" the organization trumpets.
"The fact that they haven't come under any fire is one indication that they have changed," she said. "If they had held to any kind of strong ideals that the Boy Scouts have, then they would be under the same kind of attacks the Boy Scouts are under."
Wright said she believes it's dangerous to discuss topics such as sexuality and abortion in a club setting, because kids are too immature to comprehend the full meaning of the issues.
"One thing that many adults forget is that kids are not adults," said Wright. "Kids under 12 years old, most boys and girls want to hang around members of the same sex.
Wright warns of a "radical feminist movement" that might have or is currently taking hold of the Girl Scouts. She views a new domestic violence badge, added last year, as a sign of this agenda, an attempt to "see the domestic violence issue used as a way to portray all men as being violent, and that families are dangerous institutions because they isolate women, endangering them," Wright said.
Wright added that unlike the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts have lost sight of their original mission.
"There is a place in our society and around the world for the Boy Scouts, where they help boys understand what true manhood is and help them to become good citizens," Wright said. "The GS could, at least used to, have a place like that to help young women to understand things they could accomplish.
"However, since the radical feminist movement, it seems to be more [of an] arena to recruit to that movement rather than to turn them to be good citizens," she said. "I think parents need to be cautious, because there can be agenda being promoted subtly."