Earlier this week, Bob Morris, a state representative from Indiana, fired off an explosively stupid open letter to his colleagues in which he called the Girl Scouts, "a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood." It's brought to the surface a conflict that's apparently been simmering for a while, and now it's threatening to open up a new front in the culture wars.
On the one side are the Girl Scouts themselves and most rational, reasonable people, and on the other side are the ultra conservative pro-lifers who did "a small amount of web-based research" and decided that it's their job to rid the world of the scourge that is scouting. The fact that this is even a discussion is enough to make you Do-Si-Do all the way to the looney bin, but it's for real—and it has real world consequences too.
Take, for example, the 10-year-old Girl Scout in Reston, Virginia, who was selling cookies in January. When she arrived at one neighbor's house, the woman did something awful. According to Kim Douglas, the girl's mother:
When the woman answered the door, she looked at my daughter and said, "We don't support Girl Scouts because they support abortion, which kills babies."
Nice move, Meanie McTerrible! You might not be aware of this, but Girl Scouts aren't just tiny militant sex fiends who terrorize their neighbors with delicious cookies — they are also children. And it's generally not considered appropriate to harass young girls with your views on abortion. Understandably, the girl was taken aback. She's young enough that she didn't even know what abortion was, so she must have been extra confused as to why she was being called a baby killer. She got home and told her mom, "Mommy, something creepy happened to me." Damn right it did, girl. What's also frightening is that this woman did this before Morris ever made his comments; she was fired up all on her own. Imagine how many nutcases just like her have been activated now that Morris has fired the batshit crazy signal up into the night sky!
Meanwhile, thousands of parents who've become frightened by the terrible influence the Girl Scouts might have on their daughters have transferred them to the more "Christ-centered" alternative, American Heritage Girls. They say membership has increased from 13,000 during the summer to 18,000 today. Well, that's 5,000 innocent souls saved.
So, conservatives, this is really where you want to fight the battle over abortion? Right in the faces of the very children you're trying so hard to protect from the evil messages of dirty shameful sex, scary alternative lifestyles, and baby killing? It's a curious strategy, to talk loudly in front of them about the very things you don't want them to know about—but I guess if that's what you want to do, you're welcome to. It is a free country after all.
If any of you care to indulge in a few real facts, however, I invite you to read the Girl Scouts' sadly necessary statement declaring that they are not, in fact, part of Satan's army. Victor Inzunza, Director of Corporate Communications for Girl Scouts of the USA, said this:
GSUSA does not take a position or develop materials on issues related to human sexuality, and we DO NOT have a national relationship with Planned Parenthood. Regarding [Morris's] comments about our inclusionary approach, we believe the diversity within Girl Scouts is what makes us great. When our founder Juliette Gordon Low assembled the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia, the group included not just girls from that Southern town's prominent families, but also girls recruited from the orphan asylum and the local synagogue. During WWII, Girl Scouts served Japanese-American girls in internment camps, and in the 60s, Dr. Martin Luther King praised Girl Scouts as a force for desegregation. Girl Scouts has always blazed new trails with the purpose of making our world a better place to live.
Oops, that middle bit about the poors and minorities might not win them any friends in the GOP, but their point is well taken by the rest of us.
This statement may have just proven Morris's main argument 100% false, but that doesn't mean he's going to change his mind. No, siree! Despite the fact that he's being laughed at all over the internet (criticism which we know he can find because he can google!) and even by members of his own party, he's digging in his heels:
My family and I took a view and we're sticking by it. My girls are no longer Girl Scouts. They're now going to join American Heritage Girls.
Here is one tiny little sliver of hope: Indiana House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, who is also a Republican, took the opportunity to mock the hell out of his colleague Morris after he wrote the letter. He handed out Thin Mints to his fellow lawmakers, and said sarcastically, "I purchased 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies in the last four hours." He also closed Tuesday's session by asking the former Girl Scouts in the chamber to stand. Uh oh, looks like he's been slipped some of those slutty brainwashing drugs the Girl Scouts pay Planned Parenthood to put in the thin mints!
Girl Scouts' critics: Too extreme to succeed [Washington Post]
Girl Scouts Responds To Indiana Lawmaker's Allegations [Forbes]
Indiana lawmaker stands by view of Girl Scouts [Chicago Tribune]