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STOVALL: Of Christ, Christians and Girl Scout cookies

So what’s it going to be, Christians?

Are we going to be more known for what we love, or what we hate?

Are we okay with being more readily identified for what we are against, or can we stand to allow people to know that we actually are okay with some things.

You know, like Girl Scout Cookies.

Yes. Those delectable little morsels of sweet goodness that many of us covet around this time every year have seemingly become the subject of one of the latest — and in my opinion, most absurd — Christian rebuke fests.

Apparently some evangelicals are up in arms with the fact that the Girl Scouts of America have either partnered with or endorsed organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, as well as liberal, pro-choice politicians and public figures such as Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan — so much so that some are actually boycotting the purchase of them.

I mean, a serious boycott. So serious that a website has been created to highlight the fervor of the movement.

Don’t believe me? Type cookiecott.com into your web browser, and you’ll find this message:

“The Girl Scouts recently commended pro-abortion politicians Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius as worthy role models for our children. In response, we’re asking you to boycott Girl Scout cookies in 2014.”

The website goes on to list links that discuss how a Girl Scout troop only keeps about 10 to 20 percent of what they earn in cookie sales, while roughly 75 percent of the money goes to the local council. The reason why evangelicals should be concerned, according to the website, is because the organization’s endorsement of these politicians or groups puts the girls in position to be strongly influenced to adopt abortion to their young, unformed belief systems.

The website says: “GSUSA and local Girl Scout councils connect girls to resources promoting abortion rights and inappropriate sexual content via official Girl Scout social media accounts.”

So let’s unpack this.

Did the aforementioned groups and women in question conduct a seminar with any Girl Scout troops on the positives of abortion?

No.

Did the aforementioned groups and women in question make any statements or any direct indication to the Girl Scouts organization in direct support of abortion — or anything else regarding “inappropriate sexual content?”

No.

In fact, the Girl Scouts organization has continually insisted that it takes no position on the matter of abortion, or any other sensitive and politically charged topic.

According to an article written by Emily Shire at TheDailyBeast.com, the whole CookieCott controversy began when a group of anti-abortionist activists from Waco, Texas saw where the Girl Scouts tweeted an article on Twitter from the Huffington Post on “Incredible Ladies of 2013.” That was followed by the organization posting a link of a Washington Post article entitled “Seven Women Who Made a Difference in 2013” to its Facebook page.

And because of that, we must now be made to believe that the Girls Scouts of America is an evil organization that teaches girls how to sin.

For the love of Thin Mints and Samoas (my two favorites), can we please not do this?

First of all, I’m waiting for the day that people just fess up to the fact that Christianity is often used as nothing more than a cloak to cover up our political agendas and ideologies. I know that day will never come, but it’s okay for a man to dream.

And, it doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you’re on. Liberals or Conservatives — it’s all the same. God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible are too often tossed in the middle of the sparring match and trampled over by people who are more interested in proving who’s wrong than they are in trying to usher people into the rightness that is a living, breathing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Secondly, what exactly is the CookieCott of 2014 going to prove, except that evangelical Christians are, once again, extremely deft at communicating what they don’t like? Tell me how will saying no to a small child’s attempt to sell cookies going to enhance our standing in the Kingdom?

The last time I made a claim in a column that challenged the political overtones that seep into Christianity, I was accused of being a liberal (which I’m not), and I was also told that it’s not possible for a Democrat to truly be saved.

Talk about political Christianity. Talk about making your politics bigger than your Christ.

One of the first lessons ever taught to me about Christian evangelism came from my father when I was about seven years old. While discussing what it took to win people to Christ with other men that accompanied us on a church fishing trip, he used an analogy that went a little something like this:

You’ve got to catch a fish before you clean it.

Unfortunately, I think too many of us in Christianity have gotten comfortable with trying to execute the reverse order. As a result, we are more inclined to tell you what is wrong, what we can’t stand and what we think should be banned, than we are to let you know how the love of Christ can change one’s life for the better.

Oh, I hear what you’re saying: How can we truly be Christians if we don’t take a stand for things that oppose the faith?

I get it. But, I challenge us to allow the Word of God to give us balance. In Jeremiah 31:3, the prophet records the words of God directed to as disobedient of a nation as there ever was. In this verse, God said to Jeremiah, and Israel: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

And call me what you’d like, but I don’t believe that lovingkindness that God is talking about has anything to do with whether there’s an “R” or a “D” on your voting ballot.

I fully get that love doesn’t mean blind acceptance. But, I wish we could also understand that Christ’s love doesn’t mean relentless grumpiness and negativity either.

So don’t judge me as I eat my Tagalongs and Do-si-Dos. It doesn’t mean I’m accepting of sin. It simply means I’m all for finding a more loving way to approach it.

And, I like cookies.