America

Catholic Bishops Are Investigating The Girl Scouts

The first girl scout, Daisy Gordon Lawrence (left), demonstrates techniques like rope-tying and fire-making to young scouts in the late 1940s.

hide captionThe first girl scout, Daisy Gordon Lawrence (left), demonstrates techniques like rope-tying and fire-making to young scouts in the late 1940s.

Francis Miller/Time

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent an "official inquiry" to the Girl Scouts of the USA. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports the bishops will investigate whether the iconic group has ties or views that conflict with Catholic teaching.

Barbara filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The new inquiry will be conducted by the Bishop's committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into whether the Girl Scouts have "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and problematic program materials. Conservative groups accused the Girl Scouts of associating with Planned Parenthood, which they deny, and giving girls access to information about sex and sexuality. The group says it takes no position on sexuality, birth control and abortion.

"The Girl Scouts have been dogged by complaints — the Scouts call them distortions — for decades. This challenge from the Catholic Bishops is significant, because many of the troops are sponsored by Catholic parishes and about a quarter of all scouts are Catholic."

The Associated Press, which first reported on the letter, spoke to Michelle Tompkins, the Girl Scouts' spokeswoman.

"I know we're a big part of the culture wars," Tompkins said. "People use our good name to advance their own agenda. For us, there's an overarching sadness to it We're just trying to further girls' leadership."

The Washington Post reports this might be the first step toward a resolution. After the questions are answered, the paper reports, the Bishops are likely to issue a final recommendation.

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