By Andrew L. Seidel
Freedom From Religion Foundation
I was presented last month with evidence that forced me to reverse my position on the existence of manna from heaven. A young lady showed up at my door, in a -10 wind chill, bearing Girl Scout Cookies. I bought nearly half the boxes in her red wagon, and had practically finished a box of Thin Mints, my favorite, before she made the end of the driveway.
It’s that type of dedication, initiative, responsibility, and familiarity with personal finance that make Girl Scout Cookies taste better. And it’s also probably why the Catholic Church is speaking out against the Girl Scouts as “increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.” Franklin Graham was quick to agree with the St. Louis archbishop: “[Robert] Carlson is exactly right—the ‘ways of the world’ are incompatible with biblical values. . . . I don’t know about you, I won’t be buying any Girl Scout Cookies this year.”
Graham got one point right in his rant. “The world,” also known as reality, is indeed irreconcilable with the bible. The only thing that is truly compatible with Catholic or biblical values is total intellectual submission to a medieval myth or, to be more accurate, to the men who claim to speak for that medieval myth. And though Graham and the Catholic Church claim to be anti-Girl Scouts because the group has supported LGBT rights, I think this is really about ensuring the intellectual submission of women.
Pause to appreciate where this anti-Girl Scout stance puts Graham and the Catholic Church. Together, they are against disease-preventing condoms, birth control, equality for LGBT citizens, life-saving operations for mothers when a miscarriage is inevitable, and little girls learning personal responsibility. They’re for maintaining their personal religious privileges, their tax exemption, and their generally opulent lifestyles.
The Girl Scouts sell cookies to develop five notions that are far removed from these, skills that are spelled out right on the box: (1) goal setting, (2) money management, (3) decision making, (4) people skills, and (5) business ethics. (It’s hard not to notice that the Catholic Church is lacking in all five; perhaps it could take a lesson from the Scouts?)
These five skills shed some light on the religious opposition to the Girl Scouts. The organization is teaching young women skills that will create strong, independent women who believe in themselves. The Catholic Church has, on the other hand, spent centuries relegating women to second-class status. Remember:
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:12
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“Women . . . must be in submission, as the law says.” 1 Corinthians 14:34
Of course, I could be wrong. This new anti-Girl Scout stance could really be because the Girl Scouts support equality for all citizens, as Graham and the Church allege. Or perhaps the Catholic Church is just jealous that its communion wafers, excuse me, the transubstantiated flesh of a Judean rebel, are bland and dry in comparison to the addictive deliciousness of Thin Mints.
Whatever the reason for the opposition, it has convinced me to buy a lot more Girl Scout Cookies this year.
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