Merit badges, cookies, and ‘the destruction of traditional American family values’

Merit badges, cookies, and 'the destruction of traditional American family values'
Merit badges, cookies, and 'the destruction of traditional American family values'
Pam's Pics/Flickr

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the right’s increasing animosity towards the Girl Scouts? As this story out of Indiana helps demonstrate, it’s apparently getting worse.

A Fort Wayne lawmaker has refused to sign on to a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, calling the group a “radicalized organization” that supports abortion and promotes the homosexual lifestyle.

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, sent a letter to his fellow House Republicans on Saturday explaining why he would be the only member in the House not to endorse the nonbinding resolution.

He said he did some web-based research and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allows transgender females to join and encourages sex.

Morris also said the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama is honorary president “should give each of us reason to pause before our individual and collective endorsement of the organization.”

Morris, a state representative, added that he believes the Girl Scouts have been “subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.”

He wasn’t kidding.

When Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette talked to Ashley Sharp, assistant director of marketing for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, she didn’t seem especially fazed by the Republican’s criticisms. “It really hasn’t affected us,” Sharp said. “Our membership is still strong and our cookie sales are up from last year.”

That said, the larger trend suggests this is quickly becoming the latest front in the right’s culture war.

As we talked about earlier in the month, conservatives’ antipathy towards the Girl Scouts used to be limited to the fringes. In 1994, for example, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group “lost their way” after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership. (For the religious right, faith shouldn’t be voluntary; it should be mandated on children by authority figures demanding vows of allegiance.)

But while much of the American mainstream likely considers Girl Scouts as American as moms, baseball, and apple pie, the organized freak-out appears to be expanding.

In today’s prayer alert, the Family Research Council boasted that as a result of their pressure campaign against the Girl Scouts “their cookie sales are suffering.” The FRC has long attacked the Girl Scouts over discredited allegations that the Girl Scouts work with Planned Parenthood to promote “casual sex” and train girls about living with HIV. […]

Although “none of the money” from Girl Scout cookie sales “is given to any other group,” that hasn’t stopped FRC from asking for prayers against the Girl Scouts. The prayer alert says the “Scouts had better confess their errors” and stop “collaborating with Planned Parenthood,” and even cites a passage from Matthew 27 on the suicide of Judas Iscariot to imply that the Girl Scouts are taking blood money.

The Family Research Council isn’t alone. As recently as December, Fox News went after the group quite a bit, and CNN contributor Dana Loesch not only lamented the “moral decline” of the Girl Scouts, she also suggested conservatives should stop buying their cookies as a form of political protest.

Comedy Central recently responded with the appropriate derision: “Don’t be fooled by those cute little outfits or merit badges. The Girl Scouts aren’t just selling you a pack of cookies – they’re selling you a pack of lies, with a light coating of toasted coconut communism. Why do the Girl Scouts teach survival skills? It’s clearly an attempt to build some kind of liberal tween militia. Volunteering and ‘helping’ others? Just another strategy to mobilize the working poor and other key Democratic voting blocs.”

This was, in case it’s not obvious, sarcasm.

(Image: Pam’s Pics/Flickr)

Merit badges, cookies, and 'the destruction of traditional American family values'