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Late Night FDL: Way to Pick Your Battles

Continuing their theme of assigning tasks based on angry wingnut e-mail forwards from America’s brothers-in-law, now U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops think the Girl Scouts are leading our young astray:

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ “possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

The bishops’ conference provided a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, but otherwise declined comment.


One of the long-running concerns is the Girl Scouts’ membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

The association, known as WAGGGS, is on record as saying girls and young women “need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality.” It also has called for increased access to condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Somewhere in my mother’s house is the Girl Scout sash I earned with every badge on it and maybe I missed class that day but not one of them is the Condom Distribution & Promotion badge. Mostly, sitting around the campfires making s’mores, we earned badges in things like sewing and woodworking and finding our way with a compass and stuff. We did service projects and collected food for pantries. I must have missed the meeting where we got our Dildo Use for Fun and Profit instructions.

Recently I hosted a group of Brownies at the ferret shelter, where they were earning badges in caring for animals, so they got to pet the adoptables and see how we cleaned cages and gave medications and feedings. Nobody told me I was supposed to cover how to procure a hasty abortion, and we were short on time anyway, so my bad.

This is so stupid and small and pointless and silly. The Girl Scouts aren’t even saying anything about condoms. They’re “associated” with a group that is “on record” as saying something as innocuous as “condoms prevent disease and we should probably not all die of syphilis because it’s no longer 1742 and also yuck.”

They’re not even saying “girls should be able to have whatever sex they feel they should have,” which would be sensible enough. They’re just saying, “girls should have an environment in which they can talk about sex without being afraid of some asshole calling them whores for asking questions about their own bodies.” Even devout Catholics who intend to be virgins until marriage could still benefit from an environment in which they can talk about sex. That is, unless you’re the kind of pinched, unhappy, punishing jackass who thinks even the word sex is just too dangerous for young female minds.

That sort of person seems to rise high in the administration of the bishops.


ps. Good luck separating my conservative family from the Thin Mints, your eminences.

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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.