Girl Scout visibility is approaching its annual peak, as girls in green sashes put adorable smiles on the organization’s biggest fundraiser, National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (Feb. 28-March 1). As the girls politely ask passersby to support the organization through the purchase of cookies in the front of grocery stores and the back of churches, it’s timely to share the concerns Catholic bishops and laity have expressed in recent years.

Longstanding pro-life concerns have accelerated, continuing at every level of the organization. Local Girl Scout councils readily approve projects that partner with Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and other abortion rights organizations to earn Girl Scouts’ highest award, the Gold Award, “to make the world a better place.” These projects’ goals — “getting rid of abortion stigma and misconception,” to “educate students on what good health care is” and “highlight research on reproductive health” — culminate in events aimed at high-school youth.

Both online and in their curriculum, Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) and local councils regularly promote women such as Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, as well as organizations including the Clinton Foundation, the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the ACLU, among many others that advocate for abortion rights.

Every Girl Scout’s registration is counted among the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ 10 million members and helps to fund this umbrella organization’s messaging of youth reproductive and sexual rights on behalf of its members on a global stage.

Girl Scouts continued celebration of LGBT lifestyles occurs regularly as well, which is unsurprising, given its policy to extend membership to those who identify as a girl in any way (“across the gender spectrum”) and its resources to assist adult employees and volunteers regarding gender diversity.

Uniformed Girl Scouts from coast to coast march in Pride parades and host Pride events, while GSUSA and local councils promote Pride Day, Pride Month and National Coming Out Day to the girls.

Numerous LGBT education projects have also been awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award. One such project, which “founded a digital literary magazine that’s written both by and for queer youth,” was selected for the prestigious National Gold Award and promoted by GSUSA in conjunction with National Coming Out Day.

Recent examples abound of Girl Scouts presenting controversial, ultra-progressive women, organizations and events, including describing the highly sexualized 2020 Super Bowl halftime show as “hot hot hot.”

GSUSA and local councils encourage girls’ participation in the Women’s March movement. Additionally, GSUSA sponsored and promoted the Teen Vogue Summit which focused on “gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration reform, reproductive justice, fake news and the media, and the environment.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been highlighted multiple times, while Girl Scouts participating in the 2019 Climate Strike has also been celebrated. U.S. national women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who made headlines for taking a knee during the national anthem and using profanities to eschew visiting the White House, was promoted by GSUSA for saying, ”it’s our responsibility to make the world a better place.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama continues to be presented as an “inspiring” and an “amazing and empowering role model,” and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was chosen by GSUSA to moderate a Civics Education Event to “prepar[e] the next generation of informed and engaged citizens.” In contrast to GSUSA’s acknowledgement of and work with previous first ladies, there has been no mention of first lady Melania Trump, nor her anti-bullying campaign aimed at young people which is an issue GSUSA also addresses.

As Girl Scouts numbers decline amid the organization’s enthusiastic embrace of progressivism, Christ-centered organizations such as American Heritage Girls and Little Flower Girls’ Club are flourishing. 

With unending responsibilities and issues for bishops and pastors to oversee, many are unaware of how far and fundamentally this organization has strayed. As a result, Girl Scouts continues to benefit from ongoing access to recruit, meet and fundraise among our girls. As awareness grows alongside the escalating concerns, Archbishop Naumann’s decision to remove the Girl Scout organization from all parishes in his diocese provides an effective example for similar action among more clergy, and his prayerful explanation is an excellent guide:

To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural. With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) of programs and materials reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture, they are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.

Ann Saladin writes from St. Louis. She is the author of the website MyGirlScoutCouncil.com.