First it was the nuns, now the Girl Scouts. They're the latest target of an investigation by the Catholic church. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is launching an official inquiry into the scouts' activities. Seems the merit-badge hungry females have been taking positions unpopular with the Catholic hierarchy—such as granting membership to a transgendered girl. The inquiry panel will examine the cookie-sellers' "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and various "problematic program materials," according to a letter from the bishops provided to AP.
The bishops' inquisition could have a major impact on the Girl Scouts. A quarter of the organization's 2.3 million members are Catholic, and several troops use Catholic school facilities for activities and meetings. Girl Scout leaders dismiss some of the bishops' concerns—such as an imagined "partnership" with Planned Parenthood—and defend their ties to other organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, which support family planning. They also defend their policy of inclusion. The Boy Scouts ban atheists and bar gays from leadership roles, while the Girl Scout have no such policies. "We're proud of our inclusive approach because that is what has always made this organization strong," said organization CEO Anna Maria Chavez. "There's an overarching sadness to" the investigation, added a Girl Scout spokesman. "We're just trying to further girls' leadership." (Read more Girl Scouts stories.)