While Girl Scouts across the country spent this past weekend selling and distributing Girl Scout cookies, many right-wing activists will not be joining the rest of us in enjoying Thin Mints and Samoas.
For the past several years, conservative groups have urged their members not to touch the cookies, warning that doing so will support communism, abortion and homosexual indoctrination. The Girl Scouts’ right-wing detractors commonly cite the discredited myth that the group is funding Planned Parenthood, and the even stranger that it is turning children into lesbian, socialist activists.
Here are the three wildest claims that right-wing activists make about the girls’ empowerment organization:
1) Girl Scouts Push ‘Lesbianism’ On Children!
The Girl Scouts’ strong stance against discrimination has put the organization in the far right’s crosshairs, with anti-LGBT activists claiming that the Girl Scouts’ acceptance of lesbian and bisexual members really means that they are somehow pushing “lesbianism” on children.
Back in 2013, Mission America’s Linda Harvey accused the Scouts of teaching “homosexual lifestyles” to girls, along with “an attitude of suspicion toward males in general.” One right-wing columnist, Jane Chastain of WorldNetDaily, alleged last year that the Scouts not only promote legal “prostitution,” but send children home from camp telling “stories of lesbianism.”
Perhaps no one captures this particular paranoia better than Religious Right radio host Kevin Swanson, who once literally begged his listeners to not purchase Girl Scout cookies.
“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,” Swanson said on his “Generations Radio” program in 2013. “Please, I beg of you, do not buy Girl Scout cookies. Please, I beg of you, stop buying Girl Scout cookies. And if you do, take a big black magic marker and cross out all of the references to Girl Scouts of America on all of the signs and all of the boxes because we do not want to promote that organization.”
Swanson added that Girl Scouts will eventually become voters who will put “a communist in the White House in the year 2020.”
2) Girl Scouts Promote Abortion And ‘Promoscuity’!
Conservatives were incensed when Girl Scouts of the USA tweeted out a Huffington Post article on notable women of 2013, asking Twitter followers who they thought was the ‘woman of the year.’ The article mentioned people like Malala Yousafzai and Beyoncé, but also included a lengthy video chat during which Texas lawmaker Wendy Davis and her famous filibuster against an anti-abortion bill were mentioned. While the Scouts didn’t endorse anyone in the post, conservatives seized on the tweet to resurrect the myth that Girl Scout cookie sales fund Planned Parenthood.
One Family Research Council official, Cathy Ruse, said in 2012 that the “radicals” leading the Girl Scouts seek to “promote abortion” and “push for same-sex marriage,” alleging that Scout leaders believe that “abortion and sex-ed and promiscuity for very young girls is a good thing.”
FRC president Tony Perkins warned on the same 2012 radio program that the people behind the Scouts’ “liberal indoctrination” efforts are “not having kids so they want to make sure they can get our kids.” He said that by encouraging “promiscuity,” future Scouts will need to go to Planned Parenthood clinics: “[I]t makes sense for Planned Parenthood to want to be teamed up with the Girl Scouts because that’s a client base for them if they can get this information into their hands to encourage promiscuity and behavior that would lead them into Planned Parenthood clinics.”
The even group went so far as to target the Girl Scouts in a prayer alert.
Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has also called on his fans to boycott the cookie drives, saying last year that cookie-buyers should seek out more “wholesome alternatives” since “Girl Scout money was helping to fund Planned Parenthood.” American Family Association president Tim Wildmon also called for a cookie boycott last year, saying that “buying Girl Scout cookies serves only to further facilitate a very liberal pro-abortion agenda.”
Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center was boycotting Girl Scout cookies as early as 2012, boasting that his entire office had sworn off the cookies since they were “destroying young women in America.”
3) Girl Scouts Commit ‘Child Abuse’ By Accepting Transgender Girls!
The far-right lit into the Girl Scouts in 2012 after one troop in Colorado decided to accept a 7-year-old transgender girl, citing its chapter’s policy that “if a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”
Perkins urged FRC members to boycott the Scouts since they “decided to admit boys who dress as girls” and Ruse said that the organization’s inclusive policy amounted to child abuse: “You’ve got a cross-dresser in the front office, you’ve got little boys admitted as little girls and those poor little girls in those troops have to pretend this is a girl? That’s child abuse in some people’s estimation.”