Rev Irene Monroe

Religious Right Lunacy: The Girl Scout Cookie-Cott

Filed By Rev Irene Monroe | March 28, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: abortion rights, anti-choice language, Girl Scout cookies, rightwing nutjobs

girl-scout-cookies.jpgThe abortion issue is the religious right's ploy to hide their misogyny and homophobia by cloaking it as a moral imperative to protect the unborn fetus. The one place you'd hope the abortion battle would not be waged is against the Girl Scouts of the USA.

The idea that Girl Scout cookies - an ubiquitous symbol of the organization and an American staple like apple pie that has raised nearly $700 million since 1999 - has helped fund abortions at Planned Parenthood is unfathomable. But with religious right activists fishing for another fallacious assertion to try on the American public this one, unfortunately, has grown legs.

The religious right has dubbed their anti-abortion battle "cookie-cott" and are imploring Christians to rebuff beguiling bright-eyed little girl scouts selling the organization's pro-choice cash cow. They have not shown any compunction to abate their lies nor actions, but rather use it to continue their homophobic and misogynistic diatribes.

"The individualism of feminism has been devastating to this country. I'd say you ought to say 'NO" to the Girl Scout cookies, too," radio preacher Kevin Swanson told Right Wing Watch. "I don't want to support lesbianism, I don't want to support Planned Parenthood and I don't want to support abortion, and if that be the case I'm not buying Girl Scout cookies."

Proof of their claim is the recent hire of Krista Kokjohn-Poehler in October 2013 as the organization's Chief Girl Experience Officer. And what further outrages the religious right is that Kokjohn-Poehler's is not only a lesbian but also a married one, at that, having joined her surname with her spouse's.

"Now I have another good reason not to buy Girl Scout Cookies. Not only are the cookies bad, but so is the lesbo Girl Experience Officer. What the hell is the message here? - experience this girl, you might like it?" an anonymous person wrote on the right-wing Breitbart site.

With Kokjohn's job responsibility to "serve as the chief of girl innovation and be the expert on and organizational voice for girls," notoriously vile-mouthed talk show host Rush Limbaugh criticized the Kokjohn-Poehler's hire as evidence of an "all out jihad" on American values.

GSUSA position statement makes it a point to stress that the organization welcomes and recognizes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The religious right not only has a problem with lesbians, they also have a problem with little girls who are selling cookies now but might one day grow up and be this nation's future reproductive justice advocates after being indoctrinated by GSUSA's leftward leanings. They also have a problem with female elected officials who advocate a women's right to choose.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a reproductive justice advocate. As the Governor of Kansas, Sebelius voted to make contraceptives available to everyone and vetoed the notorious 2008 Comprehensive Reform Abortion Act which prevented a woman from obtaining an abortion - even when it may be necessary to save her life. Texas state Senator Wendy Davis was a sort-of reproductive justice advocate before she flip-flopped on the limited late-term abortion ban to woo red state voters.

But Davis's switch wasn't swift enough to avoid Cookie-Cott's sleight of hand in ensnaring her in their anti-abortion propaganda. Organizers have said, "The Girl Scouts recently commended pro-abortion politicians Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius as worthy role models for our children. In response, we're asking you to boycott Girl Scout cookies in 2014."

The GSUSA national headquarters has emphatically denied they are in bed with Planned Parenthood or their affiliates. Religious right opponents, however, continually contest that the organization doesn't want to own up to the fact that their local Girl Scout councils, and teen subsidiaries, are.

Sadly, for the Girl Scouts this is becoming a losing battle with the religious right. Anti-choice activists have successfully generated a decline in local cookie sales in states across the country - a loss, to date, of over a half million members, and $4.9 million dollars. The religious right's success according to Gallup polling is that the country, surprisingly, is leaning more and more to the right: "conservative Americans (40%) outnumbered both moderates (35%) and liberals (21%)."

Underneath the bogus claim by the religious right that GSUSA is a pro-abortion organization is merely a right-wing zealot resistance toward modernity and the inevitable change it brings. For example, in 1917 when the first African American girl scout troop was founded many of the ancestors of today's religious right protested like they are now over the inclusion of LGBT scouts.

The training ground for a "biblical vision for womanhood" for little girls that Swanson advocates is the "Christian-based alternative" to GSUSA- the American Heritage Girls (AHG) founded in 1995. Not surprisingly, right-winger Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., supports the alternative group.

"American Heritage Girls is a wonderful faith-based alternative to the Girl Scouts. It promotes a life-honoring culture, stresses the importance of service, and espouses values that clearly delineate right from wrong," King stated in a February press release.

But the fundamentalists' notion of "right" is rooted in a religious form of misogyny and homophobia that is even hard for their female followers to rise out of. Empowering little girls with confidence and self-belief ensures a future generation of strong women as role models.

If purchasing boxes of Girl Scout cookies assist them along the way, that's the least any of us can do.


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