An Alternative to Boy Scouts of America

The same day that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will begin allowing out gay boys in their troops a new organization will begin barring them from joining.

Over the weekend, September 7th and 8th, a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, unveiled Trail Life USA, a Christian alternative to the BSA. The conference was largely a closed affair, drawing around 1,200 attendees including former Governor Mark Huckabee. The group was formerly known as On My Honor, but used the conference to unveil its new name, logo, and advertising campaign.

 

The group promotes itself as a “national character development organization for young men” with the goal to produce “godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens,” said John Stemberger, the Chairman of the group. The group is inclusive “regardless of religion, race, national origin or socio-economic status,” though it remains a Christian organization.

 

The main reason this BSA splinter group came to existence was because of the national acceptance of gay scouts, and that is made clear in the group’s admission policy. While sexually- and gender-confused boys will be allowed, the group “will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not ‘biologically male’ or boys who wish to dress and act like girls.” The group will focus more on sexual purity and religious conviction, which creators feel other groups are lacking. Scouts will have to sign a “purity pledge” and remain faithful to the group while they are under 18 (and, presumably, until marriage).

 

Trail Life USA also promotes adventure, character development, and leadership in its advertisements, and begins its promotional materials with “Walk worthy,” adding a dimension of righteousness to the whole “scouting” experience.

 

Last May the BSA council voted to lift the ban on gay scouts, but keeps the restrictions on gay scout leaders. The council affirmed, however, that “any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual… is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” The organization insisted that 99 percent of their troops will remain together and largely unaffected, with the remaining one percent being sponsored exclusively by church groups.

 

Trail Life USA claims that it will take a leaf from American Heritage Girls, a faith-based Girl Scouts alternative that was started 15 years ago and has a troop in almost every state. Trail Life USA will also be working to recruit troops across the country to start on January 1, 2014. While BSA maintains that their more than 100,000 troops will be maintained, Trail Life USA hopes to have 1,000 troops in existence by the starting date.

 

This whole thing will most likely just lead to Scout Offs, where both organizations will have to see who can whittle the best, or sell the most popcorn. What a turbulent world for young boys who just want to learn about the outdoors.

Author: Eugene Riordan, Jr.

 

Half A*s Attempt by Boy Scouts for Equality

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Allows Gay Members, but not Adult Leaders

The Vote Itself

On May 23, 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay youth to join Scouting.  Sixty percent were in favor of this historic vote that overturned a twenty-two year-old ban on openly gay Scouts.

More than 1,400 voting members of the organization’s national council in Texas voted.    Delegates voted on whether openly gay boys and teens should be allowed to participate in scouting.  The meeting, at which more than 2,000 Boy Scout leaders and officials attended, concluded on May 24th. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2014.

History of Boy Scouts’ Boycott

The issue of gay Scouts has divided many people.  In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts could legally bar homosexuals from being troop leaders.  A gay Scout leader, James Dale, who was dismissed in 1990, was at the center of the case.

The California Supreme Court in 1998 heard a similar case of a gay scout, Tim Curran. Curran took a male date to his senior prom.  He sued The Mount Diablo Boy Scout Council that later barred him for scouting activities.  The California court ruled for the Scouts.

Diverse Opinions About Gay Inclusion

Many conservatives are upset at the vote’s outcome.  About 70% of all Scout Troops are run by faith-based organizations: about 37% are Mormon, 10% Methodists and 8% Catholic.  The Mormon Church, the largest supporter, has said that the change will not affect its support for Scouting.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released May 9 found that 63% of Americans support allowing gay Scouts to join and 56% believe openly gay adults should be allowed to serve as Scout leaders.

Boy Scouts of America Statement

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting.”

81,000 Sign Petition for Gay Scout

An internet campaign a petition has been started in the hopes to convince California’s Golden Empire Council to reinstate 22 year-old Eagle Scout Tim Griffin and to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy barring gay, lesbian, bisexual scouts and scout leaders.

Mr Griffin, who was the longest-serving employee at Camp Winton, says that he was fired from the scout camp because of his sexuality. The campaign was begun by Alex Hayes, Camp Winton’s programme director. Mr Hayes, along with nine other employees of the camp, resigned in protest following Mr Griffin’s dismissal. He said: “For the past eight summers, Tim was loved not only by his fellow camp staffers, but all of the Boy Scouts who participated in programs he ran at the camp.

“More than 60,000 people have joined me, and the nine other employees who resigned, in taking a stand for Tim. We want the Golden Empire Council to know that the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory policy has no place in our Scouting community.”

The Golden Empire Council said in a statement that Mr Griffin’s firing was “due to an issue with performance, violation of expected camp behaviour and camp standards.”

My Hayes stated “The Golden Empire Council claims he was fired because he violated the camp’s dress code, but as his direct supervisor at Camp Winton, I know this isn’t true. He was fired because of his sexual orientation. If the Golden Empire Council truly stands by its statement, and Tim wasn’t fired because he’s gay, then the council should have no problem rejecting the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory ban on gay scouts and leaders.”

Even President Obama, the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, has publicly opposed the body’s anti-gay policy. The 81,000 plus signature petition due to be handed in this week.

See the petition here

Boyscouts are Out of Step

“Truth, Justice, And The American Way” Does Not Just Belong to Superman”

The Position Statement of The Girl Scouts of America:

We recognize the basic human rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendering individuals. All citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have the rights to housing, employment and to be free from violence and harassment.

The Girl Scout Policy with regard to sexual orientation of its members, volunteers and staff states there are no membership policies on sexual preferences which means that unlike the Boy Scouts and their policy regarding homosexual male adults, the Girl Scouts allow lesbians to serve as leaders.

Jennifer Tyrrell, Mother and Tiger Scout Den Leader, Ousted For Being a Lesbian:

This means that if this mother of four from Bridgeport, Ohio had been a Girl Scout leader, she would still have her position as Troop Leader. Jennifer wants her job back. So far, her petition for reinstatement has over 140,000 signatures, plus endorsements from celebrities such as Josh Hutcherson of “The Hunger Games” and Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family.” She hopes to get 300,000 signatures and give the petition to Boy Scout Headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

This week, Boy Scouts Reaffirms Its Exclusion Policy And Kicks Out Eagle Scout

Echoing the Supreme Court decision in 2000, BSA reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays as both leaders and scouts. Nineteen year-old Eagle Scout Eric Jones, was fired from his job as counselor after working at a Missouri BSA camp for five years because he admitted he was gay. The reason? Bob Mazzuci, BSA Scout’s Executive, told Associate Press, “The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within the family, with spiritual advisers and at an appropriate time and in right setting.”

Protests About The BSA Decision.

Not only are gay activists calling on Boy Scouts to abandon their policy, but also Service members Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and Out Service, an association of actively serving LGBT members of the Armed Services. In a solidarity move, straight former Eagle Scout, Martin Cizmar, Arts and Cultural Editor of Portland Weekly’s Williamette Week, returned his Eagle Scout badge to Bob Mazzuca and Wayne Brock of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America yesterday.

Out of Step with Society

“The Boy Scouts of America, with 2.7 million youth members, has missed a great opportunity of colossal proportions,” according to Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin. “These adults could have taught the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.” Said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick, “until the ban is lifted, scouts are putting parents in a situation when they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hardworking scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It’s unfair policies like these that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities – since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?”
The Girl Scouts, The Boys and Girls Club, the 4-H Clubs, and now even the military forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts, founded in 1910, should update their policy in keeping with a diverse modern society.