Regarding “A Cookie Boycott and a Bishop's Ban” (May 9-15):
I am a Girl Scout leader in my community and (I hope) a faithful Catholic. When I first read about the Stop Planned Parenthood initiative concerning Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood, I was extremely worried. Living in Massachusetts, I am not inclined to give any institution the benefit of the doubt when it comes to association with so-called “pro-choice” organizations. I e-mailed my council, identified myself as a Girl Scout leader and inquired about the connection with Planned Parenthood. Within an hour, I got a call and an e-mail from my council.
The initial (telephone) response was to state emphatically that Patriot's Trail does not have any official relationship with Planned Parenthood. The second (e-mail) response was more nuanced — although Patriot's Trail does not currently sponsor any programs with Planned Parenthood, they will not categorically rule out the possibility of such programs in the future. I conveyed this information to STOPP, which decided to list this council as cooperating with Planned Parenthood.
From this experience I learned two bits of information. First, the Girl Scouts are aware of and concerned about the controversy regarding their involvement with Planned Parenthood. This is a positive result of STOPP's actions. Second, STOPP is insufficiently nuanced in its approach to this problem. There is a world of difference between a council that “refuses to rule out” the possibility of a future program (which may never materialize) and a council that is actively sponsoring such a program right now or has done so in the very recent past.
I would caution your readers against making any assumptions about their councils from the STOPP website. The STOPP initiative is well worthwhile, both because it puts pressure on the Girl Scouts nationwide and because it brings the issue to the attention of Catholic Scouts and leaders. However, it is important to distinguish between councils that actively pursue this immoral association and those that do not do so.
I would suggest that it is easier for Catholic Scouts and leaders to bring pressure to bear on councils that are not already actively involved in these associations and to bring pressure to bear (ultimately) on the national organization in this way. It does make a difference whether an immoral aim is actively being pursued in a given location or just being considered as a possibility.
KARIN V. MORIN, Needham, Massachusetts