Creationist Girl Scout Honored

Image courtesy of Answers in Genesis

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If you were a nine-year-old girl in the year 1989 like I was, you might remember the movie Troop Beverly Hills, wherein a star-studded cast of scouts (including Tori Spelling, singer Jenny Lewis, and Margeaux from Punky Brewster) earns badges in accessorizing, shopping, and other mall-related pursuits. I mention this fine film not just because I wanted to (though that was part of it) but because today I heard about another non-traditional scout discipline: creationism.

Answers in Genesis blog reports that the Girl Scouts of America has bestowed its highest honor, the Gold Award, on Wisconsin teen Annie Wichman. Her winning accomplishments: amassing a library of creation literature for her church, building a model of Noah’s ark, and teaching creationism to elementary schoolers. She called her project Alternate Universe.

I’m not convinced that this is an implicit endorsement of creationism on the part of the Girl Scouts of America. According to the Gold Award website, a winning projects is:

…something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action. The project is something that fulfills a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global), creates change, and hopefully, is something that becomes ongoing.

The goal isn’t scientific accuracy. It’s personal fulfillment and community involvement. The teaching component irks me a little, especially if it was part of a science lesson in a public school instead of Sunday school at church. But overall, Wichman’s project seems pretty innocuous.

And it’s unlikely that scouts will soon add creationism badges to their sashes, though given the panoply of activities that can earn you an insignia these days (my favorite: Couch Potato. “Watching TV can be a fun, educational activity, a way to de-stress and relax sometimes. Or it can be a very unhealthy way to pass the time. It all depends on how and what you watch.”) it’s not entirely out of the question.

So: If you were to design a creationism badge, what might it look like? I favor dinosaur with rider.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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