Girl Scouts should not be controversial

By Divya Kumar COLUMNIST
On February 23, 2012

At one time, the most controversial thing about the Girl Scouts of America was the ever-increasing price of their signature cookies. Yet now, the 100-year-old organization has become embroiled in scandals that have labeled it pro-abortion and pro-transgender.

Amid allegations that they adopt controversial stances, angst-ridden mothers and even politicians like Indiana Rep. Bob Morris have taken to adamantly boycotting the organization. Yet the heated debate that the Girl Scouts have involuntarily spurred is unwarranted.

Detractors should have a Thin Mint cookie and chill out.

Watchdog sites like honestgirlscouts.com popped up this year, blowing the organization's link to Planned Parenthood out of proportion and condemning one troop in Colorado that accepted a scout who was biologically male but identified as a girl.

Yet Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Deana Potterf said to USA Today that "issues regarding homosexuality, abortion and sex raised by the Indiana lawmaker are not addressed by the Girl Scouts."

According to USA Today, Morris recently sent an email to "fellow GOP lawmakers" stating that troop leaders "‘indoctrinate' girls with Planned Parenthood principles and that the Scouts tout 50 role models, all but three of whom he said are ‘feminists, lesbians or Communists.'"

No one has shoved liberal or homosexual "agendas" down any throats. Even if Girl Scouts have been visiting Planned Parenthood since 1993, as honestgirlscouts.com claims, there's not telling if it wasn't merely for preventative health care services. Yet, the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood deny involvement, according to CBS News.

Yes, accepting a child who was born male into a Girl Scout troop is a complex issue, but no one was forced to take a political or moral stance on whether they thought identifying with another gender was right or wrong.

Founded in 1912, the Girl Scouts' mission has been to "build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place." And that's exactly what the Scouts have done.

Girl Scouts have also promoted science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls, heralded a positive body image and created strong female leaders like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and astronaut Sally Ride.

The Girl Scouts are far from the first privately funded corporation to come under fire for its perceived social beliefs.

When the Boy Scouts were scrutinized in 2010 for ousting a lesbian couple who wanted to volunteer for their son's pack, 26 members of Congress got involved, according to the Huffington Post.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are not organizations that should be used by adults to make social commentary. If an adult has a problem with the actions of some of the 3.2 million Girl Scouts, they can elect to not enroll their child in the organization.

Society should set a good example for the Scouts and teach them to respect others, regardless of their ideological backgrounds.

Divya Kumar is a sophomore majoring in mass communications and economics.

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