I've seen more than a few boxes of Do-Si-Dos and Samoas around lately. It's hard to look askance at the Girl Scouts when there's so much sweetness in the air. But there is reason for keeping the Girl Scouts out of the "mom and apple pie" category. For one thing, the organization has a think tank, a nongovernmental organization and a welcome mat out to Planned Parenthood.
At a meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this month, the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides held a session for young people in which the International Planned Parenthood Federation distributed a brochure about living with HIV titled "Healthy, Happy and Hot." (Gratitude to U.N. watchdogs like C-FAM for keeping an eye out for such nefarious nonsense.)
The brochure sets itself up as a feel-good guide for dangerous behavior. "Young people living with HIV may feel that sex is just not an option, but don't worry -- many young people living with HIV live healthy, fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives. You can, too, if you want to! Things get easier (and sex can get even better) as you become more comfortable with your status."
And since there is considerable sexual advice offered, advice on "safe abortion" naturally follows in the brochure.
This presentation served as a backdrop for a joint statement from the several U.N. organizations making up the U.N. Adolescent Girls Task Force. The task force declares its support for programs "that empower ... adolescent girls, particularly those aged 10 to 14 years." No innocence preserved.
The United Nations doesn't surprise me so much, but the Girl Scouts continue to greatly disappoint. About a decade ago, I wrote a piece for National Review called "The Cookie Crumbles," about things that could surprise moms and dads helping their daughter work on her Brownie badges. While the Boy Scouts have been under attack by politically correct watchdogs, the Girl Scouts have escaped censure by embracing leftist politics, reproductive permissiveness and secularism. It's been a long slide to sex-prep work for the U.N.
The Girl Scouts aren't shy about the causes they embrace. A 2008 post-election survey of girls and boys between 13 and 17 initiated by the Girl Scouts' think tank, the Girl Scout Research Institute, found overwhelming support for then President-elect Barack Obama, and noted concern for a laundry list of international and domestic issues, including the war in Iraq, the economy and "the difficulties women face in reaching leadership positions in our country."
I don't mind an arm of the Girl Scouts gathering information. But I do mind a group we associate with Tagalongs, tying knots, and basic life skills -- with protecting the innocence of children in an otherwise hyper-sexualized and politically fraught culture -- doing exactly the opposite. I mind leftist activists at national conventions. I mind faux empowerment laced with the persistent whine of victimization.
Your local Girl Scout troop may be run by traditional God-fearing women who want nothing to do with radical Planned Parenthood seminars, but you should know what's going on at the top. And if you are looking for alternatives, they're out there. In recent years I've encountered the American Heritage Girls, established by a Cincinnati-based former Girl Scout troop leader, which seeks to "Build women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country." And in a country known for entrepreneurship, a few sensible moms can start their own skill-building groups, very far away from the United Nations and Planned Parenthood; anything that allows girls to just be girls.