May 3 (UPI) -- The Catholicarch diocese of Kansas City, Kan., will sever its ties with the Girl Scouts, its archbishop announced.
Girl Scout troops in about two dozen Kansas counties will be affected. Many of the troops are hosted by church parishes.
The archdiocese has expressed concern that the Girl Scouts have aligned themselves with organizations like International Planned Parenthood and encouraged admiration of female leaders, including birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger and feminist icons Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, actions "reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular society," a diocesan statement said.
"I have asked the pastors of the archdiocese to begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops and toward the chartering of American Heritage Girls troops," Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said in the statement released Monday. "Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, or to, over the next several years, 'graduate' the scouts currently in the program.
Naumann encouraged parishes to form American Heritage Girl troops instead, a Christian-based movement unaffiliated with Girl Scouts of the USA, for those who believe the Girl Scouts have become too liberal and are falling short in perceived family values.
Naumann also called for an end to the Girl Scouts' iconic cookie sales in the diocese, and noted the Girl Scouts of the USA "contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood."
A local Girl Scouts representative told NPR that Sanger, Friedan and Steinem are held in esteem because of their leadership qualities, and a statement on the Girl Scouts website says it "does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood." It acknowledged its participation in WAGGS but compared it to the United States' position in the United Nations, saying, "The United States may not agree with every position the U.N. takes, but values having a seat at the table."