Lawmaker takes jab at Girl Scouts
INDIANAPOLIS – A Fort Wayne lawmaker's rant against the Girl Scouts went viral Monday after he called them a "radicalized organization" that supports abortion and promotes "homosexual lifestyles."
Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, sent a letter to Indiana House Republicans on Saturday explaining why he was the only member in the chamber not to sign onto a resolution last week celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.
The resolution applauded the group "for the strong positive influence it has had on the American woman."
Morris said he did some Web-based research and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, that they allow transgender females to join, "just like any real girl," and encourage sex.
Morris also said the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president "should give each of us reason to pause before our individual and collective endorsement of the organization."
"I challenge each of you to examine these matters more closely before you extend your name and your reputation to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values," he said in the letter.
When The Journal Gazette first posted the story Monday, it spread quickly on Twitter and Facebook, often accompanied with incredulous comments or ones disparaging Morris.
Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said his daughter was a Girl Scout and he appreciates how it helps young girls to grow into fine young women with leadership qualities.
"To politicize it, to demonize it, is unfair," he said. "I'm shocked they would be treated in this manner."
Rep. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville, spoke in support of the resolution last week as a former Girl Scout member herself.
"I guess he's entitled to his opinion," she said. "They are out selling cookies – not sex and abortions."
Even though Morris was in Indianapolis on Monday, he did not come to the House floor and missed votes on several amendments and bills. GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma said Morris was excused but he did not know why. Bosma said he had not seen the letter and hasn't "investigated (the Girl Scouts) closely."
Several Christian groups have been focused on growing concerns with the Girl Scouts in the past year, and a few websites exist solely to talk about the group's alleged leftward leanings.
Few independent reports on the issue exist.
One of Morris' allegations notes that at an education seminar, girls were directed to a list of 50 role models. Only three, he said, have a religious background. The rest are "feminists, lesbians or communists."
Morris also contends that the Girl Scouts gave out a Planned Parenthood pamphlet at a 2010 United Nations seminar titled "Happy, Healthy and Hot" that focused on sex. Girl Scouts of the USA has denied this.
Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiana also has posted notices on its websites that the group believes issues related to human sexuality and reproductive issues are best left to parents and guardians.
Morris said his two daughters have had a great experience in the scouts because their individual troop leaders have shared the same values. But he said that is not the same around the United States, and he has decided to put his girls in a group that is actively anti-abortion.
Ashley Sharp assistant director of marketing for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiana, said the group has heard some concerns but, "it really hasn't affected us. Our membership is still strong, and our cookie sales are up from last year."
Morris said Monday that some House members were going to remove their names from the resolution, but he declined to give names.