A Denver pastor doesn't like the Girl Scouts of the USA. That's really clear. And this pastor has his own internet radio show. And this pastor told his listeners not to buy any more Girl Scout cookies.
According to Right Wing Watch, which captured and recorded the broadcast, Pastor Kevin Swanson stated that the Girl Scouts promotes "feminism and lesbianism."
It's his internet radio show and he has the freedom of speech to say what he wants, no matter how extreme, misguided, and wrong his words are. And the story might have ended there.
But his words didn't just stop at his internet radio show. They were picked up by local media, who gave him the opportunity to double down. The ABC affiliate asked him how he knew what he did about the Girl Scouts. His response, "Well, I just take the data I see on the Internet -- I see the associations on the Internet. I see the promotion of feminism and lesbianism."
As a response, the ABC affiliate in Denver, known as The Denver Channel, contacted those who work with the Girl Scouts. The response from the Girl Scouts was, "These wild statements are not worthy of our attention. We are way too busy building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."
A good response, and one that mainstream media outlets need to use as well. Kevin Swanson is a fringe character. He has compared LGBT people to cannibals, ax murderers, and child molesters. Putting him on mainstream television – especially without adding context about his previous remarks - only adds legitimacy to his unfounded claims.
To clearly state the facts:
The Girl Scouts don't have a relationship with Planned Parenthood. According to a statement from the Girl Scouts, "We do not take a position of sensitive issues that we feel are best decided by girls and their families, such as abortion and birth control. We are very proud to be an inclusive organization that values diversity."
The Girls Scouts have been an organization that has been inclusive of all girls, including those who are LGBT. They allow transgender girls to participate, despite criticism for doing so. They have weathered calls for boycotts before from even bigger anti-LGBT organizations like the Family Research Council. They continue to teach girls to be good citizens, leaders, and Americans.
Sometimes poorly researched (or not researched) anti-LGBT comments on internet radio is just misguided talk on private internet radio. Some things should remain fringe.