June 4, 2012; Source: AlterNet (Religion Dispatches)

The Catholic Church is taking it on the chin in some quarters for how it is expressing is displeasure with charities that might be seen as being friendly to issues such as gay marriage, access to contraception or abortion rights. According to this Religion Dispatches piece by Mary E. Hunt, a Roman Catholic theologian and co-founder/co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual in Silver Spring, Md., the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “is having a ‘Saturday Night Live’ moment…by choosing to investigate the Girl Scouts of the USA.”

Do the practices, policies, and beliefs of the Girl Scouts run counter to the tenets of the Catholic Church? The investigation appears, according to Hunt, to be focused on the “supposed connections (of the Girl Scouts) with groups that support reproductive justice.” This isn’t the first investigation by the Church recently looking at Catholic organizations. Recently, an immigrants’ rights organization lost its Diocese funding after being part of a coalition that included another group advocating for gay marriage. On the national stage, the Vatican ordered a “doctrinal investigation” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—the organization representing approximately 80 percent of American nuns. However, the nuns’ group is a Catholic organization, whereas the Girl Scouts are not.

According to Hunt, sex education isn’t a big thing in the Girl Scouts, and its connection to groups providing information on contraception and abortion rights is through Internet links. The trigger for the Girl Scouts investigation? Hunt says it was a Colorado troop’s acceptance of a transgender child.

It’s not clear where the investigation of the Girl Scouts will end up. Has Girl Scouts USA reacted to the Church investigation, whether focused on the transgender child in the Colorado troop or more general concerns about the organization’s relationship with groups advocating reproductive rights? Hunt suggests that we will get a sign when more than 100,000 Girl Scouts and family members come to Washington, D.C. on June 9th for their “Girl Scouts Rock the Mall” event, with their new theme song, “Ignite.” Here is the chorus:

Girl Scouts, Ignite a dream, ignite your hope,

Ignite the world on fire it’s love!

Starts with a spark, a flame in your heart,

Until the world’s burning bright, we’ll ignite!

I-g-n-i-t-e, Girl Scouts! I-g-n-i-t-e, Girl Scouts!

Will the bishops have their own chorus in response? –Rick Cohen