Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hearsay, Scrupulosity, and Defunding the Culture of Death

I've gotten a few comments here and on facebook questioning the boycott, particularly of the girls scouts, and so I'm not responding to any particular comment here, as much as I am responding to the general concerns that have been raised.

Claim: The claims against the girls scouts are hearsay.

I don't think the lifesite news link really qualifies as "hearsay."  The thing is that these claims have been circulating for years, with girls who were girl scouts for years coming forward after feeling that they have to leave the group because of what they're being taught.  The "Journey" books used come up a lot.  This link pretty much sums up the problem that I have with involving myself with the group.

Claim: The task of boycotting is simply too big and could easily pass into scrupulosity.

I don't think it's a scrupulosity issue if the lines are clearly drawn.   If someone directly supports or partners with Planned Parenthood, we don't spend our money with them.  If it's an indirect connection (ie a government taxes a company and uses the money to pay for the slaughter of the unborn, I don't think they can be held accountable) that's entirely different.

Claim: We don't have a positive alternative to Girl Scouts.  And in our area they aren't bad.  (And yes I've heard this a lot. I don't want anyone to think I'm picking on them!  Just trying to put together coherent thoughts.)

From what I understand most the the PP garbage is in the literature as the girls get older and in the "role models" put forward in the Journey book collection.  On a personal level, I'd rather skip out on girls or boys groups all together than expose my children to that sort of thing (although hopefully you have found a group that doesn't use the girl scout's own literature and programs?).  I don't know.  I just have a problem supporting an organization on a local level, that is corrupt at a national level, and since joining a group like this isn't a necessity I think we'll probably pass.  I imagine some part of the dues you pay on the local level are supporting the problems at the national level, and if having a problem with supporting that activity makes me seem scrupulous to some people, then I guess I'll embrace that label today.  Personally I don't think it does... and if done with prayer and thoughtfulness I don't think it's a real issue here...  I imagine my priest would agree if I said: "Hey, you don't think it's over-scrupulous to avoid shopping at businesses that directly fund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood?  Do you?"

I do like the looks of the little flower's program for girls.  I don't imagine there will be a group where we are when the girls are old enough, so we'll be starting our own, even if it's just family.

I wouldn't support a Catholic hating group either (because for some people that's the only option they have).  But it's not an either or.  It's not as if I have to decide between a Catholic hating group and a pro-death group.  We don't have to pick one or the other.

And in conclusion:

Making these changes are deeply personal.  But I feel the need to speak up when it's suggested that trying not to fund the abortion industry is "scrupulous."  I think we'd all be jumping not to spend money on a genocidal regime, but it's okay to suggest that we're being over scrupulous for attempting to prevent the slaughter of the unborn.  I just don't find myself agreeing.  This unseen evil is just as great.

If it means we have to do without a little bit more in this life, I'll try to look at it as a growing experiences.  Living in the country we live in is pretty luxurious anyways, compared to many parts of the rest of the world.

I'm not bringing this up to guilt anyone in to doing anything that they don't want to do.  But I do think that people have the right to know where there money's going, which is the motivation behind all of these posts.

I cook pretty much everything from scratch, yet I still find these products in my home (okay, so I don't make my own steak sauce all the time...).  It's an issue for pretty much everyone who shops in the super market or at a mall...  It's just that most of us don't know who these companies belong too...

Anyways, I am going to start posting alternatives to these companies to show that it's not all that hard to avoid them once you get the hang of it.  It's totally doable for those who are going to give it a try and I'll be more than happy to help!


  1. Yes, Cam please do post the alternative companies. Especially for Kraft.

  2. I was in both Girl Scouts and 4-H growing up. My husband was in Boy Scouts. The choice we made for our own kids was 4-H, for a lot of reasons. One of the things I like best about that program is that it doesn't isolate kids by age, so younger kids really do get mentored by older kids as well as by the adult leaders and parent volunteers. My own experience of Girl Scouts was not particularly positive. We lived in a town/gown sort of community and all the Scout leaders were wives of college professors. If you weren't part of the "gown" crowd you never got picked for things like Jamboree and you never got the same kind of help earning badges. I'm sure it's not like that everywhere, but it really colored my experience with the program. In addition, it was considered really dorky to still be in Scouts in high school while 4-H seemed to retain a lot of teens because they had really great stuff for the teens to do. In our area the leadership in the Boy Scout program is very, very pro gay rights, so I wouldn't encourage anyone to get involved with that here either.

    So far as boycotting companies, it's the best way to make a difference in corporate policies whether it's pro-life policies, or not using GMO's. I make a practice of avoiding fast food restaurants in general, buy local as much as I can, and cook from scratch most of the time. Some of that has to do with not supporting Nestle and other companies that push formula on mothers whose babies would be better off without it, some of it has to do with not supporting companies who think using fetal cells to develop tastes is an okay thing. I don't think of it as scrupulosity, but as the only way that a consumer has of influencing corporate decision making.

  3. I know you have little girls, but don't forget about Columbian Squires for the boys. It is run from the Knights of Columbus (a great Catholic organization). My husband is a 4th degree, and he is so happy he joined.

  4. BRAVO!! Nice post. I totally agree.

    The Little Flowers are pretty neat, and in the area where we expect to be living the American Heritage girls groups are active and the parents I've met are not anti-Catholic despite their lack of understanding. It isn't easy though to have a "group" if you only have one girl to go in it.

    It is not easy being an orthodox Catholic home schooling family. So much out there is not compatible with our beliefs.

    With my older kids, I was a leader in a Girl Scout Troop and we used the old books because the new stuff was just being introduced. We looked at the new materials and not one of us liked what we saw-- it was very secular in a way that was morally incompatible with our Christianity. I could never put my younger daughter in a Girl Scout troop now, it would violate everything we as a family stand for!

    I wanted to point out also that 4-H is compatible with being Catholic!

  5. I see some of what I said in this and let me clarify. I am not saying it is scrupulous to say Kraft support pp, so I choose not to buy their products. Saying I do my best not to knowingly support these companies because they violate my faith is one thing, if we start questioning a farmer on his contributions to PP before we buy his tomato, that is scrupulous. Good point about the steak sauce too but while boycotting is valid, I don't think we are expected to give up store brand ketchup because it might in some third degree way support a company which supports planned parenthood. I think of some of this as a meat sacrificed to idols sort of situation. I know some of a company's causes(their idols) are false and I am not required to buy their product. Yet we are told that if it does not lead another into sin, we can buy the product(the sacrificed meat). The not leading someone into sin, it the hard part. Ok supporting PP is bad, so is slave labor and child labor and unfair trade practices or even forced abortions in some countries, but how many of us buy clothes manufactured under these conditions. So we will buy European-wait they pay taxes to governments that provide state funded abortions, so no go. You see where this can become scrupulous? Honestly finding shoes not made in a questionable country is near in impossible and likely out of my budget. I just don't think everyone is called to living completely as people who grow and make everything we use. We all are drawing a line somewhere. Especially those of us that live in rural areas and have very few shopping options. I live 20 miles from any store but a gas station with a few staples. I have 3 choices of food store which pretty much have the same choices. There are 2 natural food stores in my area(that 20-30 mile radius) which have extremely limited high priced choices.
    I admit the Girl Scout thing is hard. I see your point about the local level supporting the national level and my husband and I have struggled and waffled about this, and joined nothing yet. Our main point in daughters joining is to have them spend time with other kids, at all. 20 miles plus from other Catholics, no kids anywhere near our house. Kids from church repeatedly refuse social requests(too busy, too far). Yes, they have each other but it would be nice if they had some idea how to deal with people not in our family. The oldest is getting a little eccentric. May I gently point out that your kids are a preschooler and toddler, right now there are only 2. You have a plan. As someone who has 5 kids, some grown, I thought I had a plan at that point too. Life throws things at you you may not expect, be open to God changing your plans.

  6. I'm a mom to four little girls and I was in Girl Scouts from around Kindergarten until I was 13, so I've thought about this a lot. I simply won't let my girls join Girl Scouts nor will I have anything to do with them. I realize I'm almost the only one on the planet who can say this, but I never cared much for their cookies either, so I can't say as they even tempt me to support them.

    From some of their local groups supporting PP to their flexibility on the word God in the promise to their permission of homosexuality and transgendered, I simply cannot support them and won't risk any of their influence on my girls.

    I am doing the Catholic Little Flowers program privately at home and I will consider doing Heritage Girls but I won't touch Girl Scouts.

  7. I was a girl scout up until middle school and I don't ever recall us talking about anything to do with PP or using any workbooks. In my state ours were run by local moms and although they did have national activities what we were exposed to was at the choice of our leader who thankfully was a great one. I understand why wanting to boycott and American Heritage Girls are a great alternative and are run by many Catholic churches or schools as girl scouts alternative.

  8. Hi Guys-

    This is a quick response to a few points, because it's almost nap time here. And I really appreciate all the different points and comments, because it's causing me to delve deeper into the subject and define what I believe for myself, even if we don't necessarily end up agreeing.

    One thing I would say is that I'd draw a line between personal contributions and business contributions. So a business writing a business check to PP won't be getting my business. But I'll never know about the personal checkbook of a stock holder or a farmer, and I don't really think that should come into play here. Again, I just really dislike the idea of directly contributing to a business that is directly contributing to abortion.

    The problem I have with the sacrificed meat analogy isn't that I feel that the food is somehow "unclean", but that I dislike the idea of the money I'm spending being passed on by the company to an abortion business. Eating sacrificed meat didn't harm anyone and didn't contribute to anyone dying. Buying a bottle of A1 gives Kraft money and Kraft uses that money to fund research that involves the aborted fetal tissue.

    I'm not going to go tracking down plants to find out if my generic Walmart brand whatever was made in the same plant that something was made for Kraft. We do generic a lot here, and with all the store brands it is an easy replacement. So I guess for us it's one degree of separation from abortion/fetal cells. If the company has showed that they're intent on using their profits to give directly to the culture of death, or use it to support the culture of death, I draw the line.

    The hardest part for us is figuring out all the names that the brands operate under directly. But usually it says the company in small print on the side... and glancing at that only takes a few seconds.

    Those are just a couple more thoughts!

    Oh and I don't think the girl scouts were like this when we were younger. It seems like a last half decade/decade sort of thing from what I've read. I was a campfire girl... and they're on the list too... I just don't talk about them because I find most people have never heard of them!

  9. Is there no equivalent to the Army Cadets (insert your AF division of choice) in the states? I was a Royal Canadian Army Cadet (1691 Regiment) growing up, and even looking back on it now there was nothing at all objectionable in what was taught. Unless the association with soldiery is objectionable, that is.

  10. Hi Zach-

    Not that I know of. There's boy scouts for boys and girl scouts for girls and then a few smaller groups that people have mentioned, but nothing really military-ish that I can think of. Some high schools have ROTC programs, and then lots of colleges do, but other than that I haven't heard of anything really.

  11. There is an Air Force program for kids, but the name is escaping me right now. I see them when I go to airshows. I believe there is also a Young Marines. I don't know about the other branches, though.

  12. My children are past the age now, but our parish offers Challenge for girls. Conquest is the program for boys. Both programs are pretty popular in my area among orthodox Catholics.


  13. I second what the second commenter said, AHG is great. I can't believe that the GS support PP. (I use too many abbreviations, lol.) I agree with your post, thank you for posting this.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!