(Reuters) - The Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, is banning Girl Scout troops from meeting in its parishes because “they are no longer a compatible partner” in promoting a Catholic lifestyle.
Instead, Christian-based scouts known as American Heritage Girls are being invited to take their place in the U.S. mid-Western parishes, Archbishop Joseph Naumann said in a statement on Monday.
The decision was based in part, Naumann said, on the Girl Scouts’ ties to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, “an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.”
Neither the Girl Scouts nor the Kansas City archdiocese immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment.
On its website, the Girl Scouts says it does not take a position or develop materials on human sexuality, birth control or abortion and does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Naumann said in the statement said that undesirable role models in Girl Scout materials include birth control activist Margaret Sanger and feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, who “not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.
“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,” he said.
Parishes were directed to switch their after-school club option to American Heritage Girls troops, either immediately or at the latest in autumn for kindergarten or older students, Naumann said.
The Girl Scouts’ U.S. membership includes 1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults of all denominations, according to its website.
American Heritage Girls describes itself its website as “the premier national character development organization for young women that embraces Christian values.” It says it has 970 troops in the United States, and 42,000 members worldwide.
Parents, including Maria Walters, a former Girl Scout leader in the archdiocese and mother of two scouts, told the Kansas City Star they were frustrated and irritated by the order.
“I feel we should all be together as one in the community,” Walters told the newspaper. “This does nothing but divide us.”
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler