The one place you’d hope the abortion battle would not be waged is with the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).
The thought of Girl Scout cookies -an ubiquitous symbol of the organization and an American staple like Apple pie that made nearly $700 million in sales 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 legs.
And the Religious Right has dubbed their anti-abortion battle “cookie-cott,” imploring Christians to rebuff beguiling bright-eyed little girl scouts selling the organization’s pro-choice cash cow.
But the abortion issue is the Religious Right’s ploy to hide their misogyny and homophobia cloaked as a moral imperative to protect the unborn fetus.
Not surprisingly, heterosexist pastors and right-wing radio hosts Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner are leading the clarion call on “cookie-cott.” According to them, GSUSA is “antithetical to a biblical vision for womanhood.”
However, in the face of proving them wrong neither shows any compunction to abate their lies and actions, but rather 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,” 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 blog “breitbart.com.”
With Kokjohn’s job responsibility to “serve as the chief of girl innovation and be the expert on and organizational voice for girls,” notorious vile-mouthed Right-Wing 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 recognizes the rights of and welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
But 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, for 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. Sebelius voted to make contraceptives available to everyone and she vetoed the notorious 2008 Comprehensive Reform Abortion Act which prevented a woman from obtaining an abortion, even where it may be necessary to save her life.
So, too, was Texas State Senator Wendy Davis sort-of reproductive justices 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 cookcott.com’s sleight of hand in ensnaring her in their anti-abortion propaganda.
“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.”
Although the GSUSA national headquarters has emphatically denied they are in bed with Planned Parenthood or their affiliates, Religious Right opponents 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 in many ways a losing battle with the Religious Right. The Religious Right has successfully generated a decline in local cookie sales in states across the country, a lost, to date, of over a half million members, and $4.9 million dollars. And the Religious Right’s success according to Gallop is that the country, surprisingly, is leaning more and more to the right: “conservative Americans (40%) outnumbered both moderates (35%) and liberals (21%).”
Underneath this 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 changes 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 this like they are now over the inclusion of LGBT scouts.
The training ground for a “biblical vision for womanhood” for little girls that Swanson and Buehner advocate is the Christian-based alternative to GSUSA- the American Heritage Girls (AHG) founded in 1995.
Not surprisingly, right-winger Alveda King, niece of MLK, supports AHG, too.
“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 AHG’s February press release.
But the Right’s notion of right is rooted in a religious form of misogyny and homophobia that it’s even hard for their women to rise out of.
Empowering little girls with confidence and self- belief ensures us of a future generation of strong women as role models. And if purchasing boxes of Girl Scout cookies assist them along the way that’s the least any of us can do.