Good ol’ reliable Facebook, spreading facts with remarkable speed and inaccuracy. This particular campaign [below] grew from a well-meaning right-wing organization’s attempt to shame its followers into boycotting the annual Girl Scouts of America cookie drive, because the proceeds transform the little ones into tiny feminists and left-leaning liberals. Then, the over 600,000 strong Facebook page Being Liberal shared the piece of propaganda as a reason to buy more cookies instead. Then I shared it, and so did my liberal friends– almost five thousand of us shared just this particular pic. It’s a perfect little infographic: it mocks the other side, no matter which side you’re on, and it’s astounding that it isn’t common knowledge, no matter which side you’re on. And if something is too good to be true, it probably is. This Girl Scout Cookie debacle on Facebook is no exception.
A simple Google search lead me to internet debunker Snopes.com, and the fact is that the graphic represents a half truth. Indiana state Representative Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, sent a pretty sick and misinformed letter to his fellow lawmakers alleging that, among other things, the Girls Scouts of America organization distributed sex education materials produced by Planned Parenthood and (gasp!) supported the LGBT community with the inclusion of a young boy who gender-identifies as a female.
His description of the sex-ed pamphlet is inconceivably filthy and clearly not something any leader with a shred of common sense would share with an impressionable child. It is not used by the Girl Scouts nor distributed by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Indiana President and CEO Betty Cockrum issued a statement calling Rep. Morris’ remarks “inflammatory, misleading, woefully inaccurate” and was quick to remind the lawmaker of her organization’s actual role in reproductive rights. “Planned Parenthood of Indiana is first and foremost a provider of affordable, high-quality health care… Our nonprofit provides preventive services such as life-saving cancer screenings, Pap tests, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, as well as sexual health education and health counseling….”
According to Snopes, the slippery slope of embracing gay culture that Rep. Morris references is sweet story of a 7 year-old boy who wistfully wonders why he wasn’t a girl and wanted to join the Scouts. He was denied acceptance by the organization and later granted approval to become a member. It’s as simple as that. But that, along with a list of role models that dared include lesbians, raised the Representative’s ire.
So unfortunately, your sinful consumption of Thin Mints won’t help reform the Girl Scouts into a band of merit badge earning riot grrrls, but take heart that the group does practice compassion and inclusion despite the intolerance it might incur. Next time, let’s use Google before we repost, shall we? —Casandra Armour