Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas is getting pilloried by the expected sources on his decision to transition the diocese away from the Girl Scouts, and toward American Heritage Girls.
This reaction is one with the recent inanities of Berkeley’s caving in to threats of violence against unpopular speakers, or DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s hurling anathemas at pro-life Democrats. It’s hysterical and unmeasured. It’s abortion-centric, and blind to basic freedoms enjoyed by every American, including religious Americans.
After many years of investigation and dialogue with the Girl Scouts, more than a few Catholic and other Christian entities have decided to leave or find alternative groups to promote girls’ leadership, skills, and virtues. They have decided, in other words, to take the formation of girls quite seriously, especially where the omnipresent topics of sex and marriage and family are concerned.
Because, let’s face it, your daughters and mine will be influenced on these topics by strangers as well as family; the only question is which strangers.
Also, face the fact that the scientific literature about women’s happiness, freedom, educational success and family stability is coalescing around the conclusions that women are much better off if they take sex seriously, understand its natural links with marriage and kids, delay sex at best until marriage, practice a faith, and avoid non-marital parenting, abortion and divorce.
In fact, more than a few experts believe that the “paradox of women’s declining happiness” (in an era of so much “freedom”) is linked to the new sex and marriage markets in which women’s actual preferences are dismissed in favor of sexual expression — unlinked to marriage or kids — as the greatest good.
Why is it such a problem when religious folks, or anyone, take this science seriously? When they take girls’ formation seriously?
The answer, according to so many media outlets and self-described feminists, is that abortion and contraception rights should rank above women’s actual, measured, experienced, well-being. That’s the case to the point that these groups refuse to accept private, religious groups’ refusal to spend their own money or time on either. (See, for example, exhibits A-Z: the Contraception Mandate under the Affordable Care Act).
The Girl Scouts have some connections with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, through their contributions to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The Scouts also hold up to girls for admiration, various women involved in denying the meaning or value of sex or family life or unborn human beings.
This is not to say that they do no good. This is not to say that they don’t provide some fun and valuable leadership and skills development for girls. This is not to say that some troops don’t avoid these problems better than others. It’s simply to state the facts: some Girls Scout troops contain elements which can undermine girls, alongside elements which can elevate them.
This is a sane, balanced conclusion reached after many years of investigation and dialogue between Catholic leaders and the Girl Scouts. Take a look at the measured language of the US bishops’ and the Kansas City bishop on the subject.
Would that reporters and others calling out Naumann were so thorough and nuanced in their own reports.