Girl Scouts Banned from VA Church for Being Connected to Planned Parenthood, Even Though They're Not

Girl Scouts selling cookies in Dallas, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Girl Scout troops in Chantilly, Virginia, have been banned from meeting at a local Catholic church and the school that's affiliated with it.

Not only will girls no longer be allowed to meet on school or church grounds, they are forbidden from wearing their uniforms and badge-bedecked sashes on school or church property, too.

The reason? According to the pastor of the Arlington Diocese, it's all Planned Parenthood's fault.

Since the troop is part of the World Association of Girls Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the pastor said, and WAGGGS is partnered with Planned Parenthood, the scouts' agenda doesn't align with church teachings, a spokesman for the church explained. "Every pastor in the diocese has the responsibility to determine how best to use their parish facilities, consider the requests of outside groups, and reconcile such requests with the needs and mission of their parish community," the pastor said in a statement reported by NBC News.

Except, as local Girls Scout representatives pointed out, its parent organization is the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), which does not have a partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Though Girl Scouts of the USA is one of WAGGGS's 145 member organizations, "each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in their individual countries," Girls Scouts of the USA says on its website. "GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the US relationship with the UN. The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table."

"We are committed to ensuring that Girl Scouting is available to all girls from St. Timothy's Catholic School, in Chantilly, VA," the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital said in a statement. "This location change presents us with an opportunity to serve not only the girls from St. Timothy's, but to invite more girls from the area to join Girl Scouts. After all, this is our 100th anniversary year and a great time to be part of Girl Scouting."

The anti-Girl Scout sentiment may seem like a recent phenomenon, but it's not: In 1995, Patti Garibay of Cincinnati founded the American Heritage Girls because, she said, the Girl Scouts refused to condemn homosexuality.

"That was a red flag for myself, because I had been a Girl Scout leader for 13 years, and was very involved," Garibay told in 2002. "As a Christian woman, I was saying, 'Boy what is going on here? This doesn't sound right.'"

The American Heritage Girls have a sacred oath ("I promise to love God, Cherish my family, Honor my country, and Serve in my community") that sounds like an abbreviated version of the Girl Scout Promise and the Girls Scout Law ("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. I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout").

But though the Girl Scout law seems to embody exactly what the Bible orders, many conservatives condemn the organization for lacking a moral foundation. Last weekend, Indiana state Representative Bob Morris sent a letter to Indiana House Republicans, saying that the Girl Scouts are "becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood" that promotes "homosexual lifestyles" and that nearly all of the 50 role models they look up to "are feminists, lesbians, or Communists."

After being ridiculed by his colleagues, who handed out Girl Scout cookies in protest, Morris backed down, telling the Journal Gazette, "I never should have written the letter."

But still, thanks to the group's views on acceptance and tolerance, "My girls are no longer Girl Scouts," Morris said this week. "They're now going to join American Heritage Girls."

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