“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” – Matthew 16:25
A good friend passed along an interesting article just the other day: “Girl Scout Employee Quits, Not Allowed to Wear Pro-Life Shirt.” It’s a short article. The even shorter version is this: a Girl Scouts employee wore a pro-life shirt to the office after hours to do some prep work for a meeting. Her boss was also there, saw her in the shirt, and told her that if she planned on being in the office she had to turn the shirt inside out. She left distraught, and quit shortly thereafter. I have a few thoughts on the matter.
Freedom of Association …
Back in November of 2011 we commented on a slightly similar issue in “Outrage at Outback!!!” – where Outback Steakhouse fired a waitress for wearing a Tea Party bracelet (presumably because some customers complained).
In a free society, which includes economic freedom, an employer can fire an employee whenever they deem the employment is no longer in their interests – as long as no contracts are violated. If the contract is violated, then clearly the employee has a right to recompense. While I will gladly defend the employer’s rights on this I will also note that such freedom works best when the workers have freedom too. That is, when workers can engage in economic activity without regulation after regulation hampering their movement in the marketplace, then they have little to fear from an employer who doesn’t approve of their apparel choices.
Now, that said, this employee at Girl Scouts wasn’t actually fired, though the threat was implicit (“you have to do this or that” obviously implies, however subtly, “if you don’t I can and will fire you”).
Still, as long as Girl Scouts are operating as a private organization, not taking any federal or state funds of any sort, then they have every right to determine their own employment practices. Oh, wait …
Responsibility Implies Authority …
Of course, the Girl Scouts do take federal funding. The receive millions of dollars every year from the federal government. (It’s not clear what if any they receive from state governments, just based on my quick web search.) Now this won’t fly.
Responsibility implies authority – there are no two ways about it. If the Girl Scouts receive federal funds then it is clear that somebody somewhere (perhaps the federal government, or perhaps my next-door neighbor) has decided that I have a responsibility to fund their activities. If I have a responsibility, then I must also have authority. As such, I demand that the Girl Scouts change their position on pro-life apparel. (I’d also like them to reconsider any connections they may have to Planned Parenthood – but the debate over the degree to which such a relationship exists is still raging.)
I’m going to work in about an hour. Part of my day, part of my productivity, part of my efforts throughout the day will be going to pay for the Girl Scouts to fire (or threaten to fire) people for advocating a pro-life position. This pisses me off to no end.
Girls against Girls …
The cruel and harsh irony of all of it is the self-destruction it implies. As we’ve noted in the past, pro-choice policies disproportionately impact girls in a negative way – which would seem to run counter to the mission of the Girl Scouts.
Obviously the slain pre-born children are the most directly affected by abortion. But, as we’ve noted in the past, the slaughter is applied to a higher proportion of girls than boys. This is particularly the case in countries where having a son is highly valued versus having a daughter (e.g., India and China). Selective abortion disproportionately targets girl babies.
As an outcome of this, there are fewer girls in those countries, resulting in the “unintended” consequence of higher rates of sexual slavery and bride theft. Which, I would guess, also has a negative impact on the lives of girls.
Beyond that, I would also say that the intended goal of “empowering women” has failed miserably, and has actually empowered men. In the olden days, the story goes, women faced the pain of an unwanted pregnancy alone, while the fathers simply disappeared or otherwise abandoned their responsibilities. I don’t disagree with the narrative. What I will note is that abortion has not eliminated the pain of unwanted pregnancy for women. Knowing plenty who have had abortions, I can tell you that they struggle with it for a long time – often their whole lives. The fathers however have gotten off scott free. They now bear no responsibility in the situation, and can disappear into anonymity. Abortion policies have actually allowed men to act with impunity as sexual aggressors, behaving irresponsibly every step of the way and bearing little-to-no fallout.
This is the current legacy of the Girl Scouts. I expected a little more from these guys.
No More Cookies …
With apologies to my many friends and neighbors with children in Girl Scouts, I won’t be buying any more cookies. I have already done “my part” to fund the organization (through federal taxation). Besides, I don’t like supporting organizations with a pro-choice message or leaning. While I don’t often promote erecting such barriers to economic activity, abortion is a deal breaker for me.
On that note, if you have a daughter of Girl Scouts age and wish for something other than a pro-choice message, you might want to consider American Heritage Girls. (Please don’t take that as an endorsement – I haven’t done any homework on the issue. But I do have friends with a daughter in AHG and I do trust their judgment on the issue.)