Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Christian Values-Based Aternative To BSA Launched

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NBC is reporting, "Families looking for an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America after the group voted to drop its ban on gay youth earlier this year descended on Nashville, Tenn., this weekend to help launch a Christian-based scouting organization."

They say, "More than 1,200 former Scout officials, parents and youth from 44 states were attending the two-day national leadership convention where the group unveiled its name – Trail Life USA – and logo, officials with the group said. One of the founders John Stemberger, a former Eagle Scout and father of two scouts, created OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of disgruntled BSA members who left the organization after the controversial vote in May."

Trail Life USA is based on Christian values and principles.

The tone of the NBC article, not surprisingly, tends to be a little negative than positive.

They say, "Whether the faith-based group gains popularity in the coming months could signal how successful the Boy Scouts of America will be at keeping members when the new policy takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. BSA members were deeply divided over the decision to allow gay teens, with many vowing to quit the program."

Here's what people are saying and a link to the new organization's web site.

NBC quotes Jonathan Pickens, a California fire fighter, “I do feel strongly enough about the policy that I don’t want my kids there” in the Boy Scouts."

Pickens is the father of three young boys who had not yet joined Scouting before the change in the membership guidelines. An Eagle Scout who has 22 years in the BSA with the troop that his dad founded, Pickens -- who opposed lifting the ban on gay Scouts -- would rather “take a little bit of a blind leap of faith and try to make this work.”

John Stemberger, an Orlando attorney and former Eagle scout said, “I want to have a prominent faith component that will be weaved in every fiber of the program. But at the same time, we are not going to become religious and churchy. This is not another church program. This is going to be a masculine outdoor program to raise young men.”

Stemberger told the Christian Post, "It's not a coincidence that the BSA decision to allow openly gay members and decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on same sex marriage came around the same time."

He told Christian Post earlier this year, "If you think it is just a coincidence that these two matters are being decided so closely to each other, one right after the other, on similar topics -- think again. It is strategic and calculated timing on the part of gay-rights operatives at the highest levels."

He also said, "Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and other gay-rights activist groups were steady and relentless in their systematic lobbying of BSA leaders, not to mention the mainstream media and Hollywood piling on right behind them."

Boys, ages 5-17, may come from every religious background, but adult leaders in the program will adhere to a standard statement of Christian faith and values. The membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than orientation.

NBC says, "Some 70 percent of Boy Scout units are sponsored by churches, many of whom balked at having gays in the program. But as the vote neared on allowing gay youth, the largest church charter partner – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – said it would stay with the organization."

The NBC news story also says, "A BSA spokesman said Thursday that more than 99 percent of its 116,000 chartered partners were sticking with the program while its national office continued to meet with the sponsors on the issue."

I, along with others, am wondering what the LDS church is thinking. This seems to be a departure from where they said they stood on the issue just months ago.

While I believe the BSA spokesman likely told NBC that "99 percent" were staying with the "evolved BSA," I don't think that's true.

There are some highly talented, deeply committed people involved in launching this new organization.

Mike Huckabee spoke at the meeting this past weekend. He and others like him are in full support of the effort.

For Alan Scheer, a Scoutmaster from Ochelata, Okla., the adjustment has been exciting but tough. His Troop 20 has stopped wearing their uniforms.

“I’ve cried a river since this started. I wanted to be buried in my Scout uniform. I couldn’t have imagined anything that would ever make me want to take it off again,” said Scheer, 50, an industrial mechanic.

“We’re just going to have to grow it ourselves,” he said. “Starting a troop can be expensive. Being able to connect with the Scouts of the old days and use your hands and make your own gear is a nice way to connect with a past that we are going to share.”

That past is strong for Pickens, who had always dreamed of becoming Scoutmaster of the troop his dad, now deceased, started in 1991. His deeply held conviction that homosexuality is a sin, led him to leave the program.

He said its not a place he wants to raise his boys.

Days after he returns from Nashville, he will introduce the new organization to four BSA troops he hopes to bring with him.

“It’s been kind of a bittersweet, big, big, big change for our family,” he said. “I may have to take on the big job of starting a troop from scratch. Whatever it will be, I am committed to it.”

As homosexual activists and atheists undermine and knock down some of our oldest and most treasured institutions, there will be calls for people of faith and strong convictions to step up and help to restore, or in the case of the Boy Scouts, create a new parallel organization.

I'm talking more about this on the radio today, live at 9 AM, PDT and re-broadcast at 7:30 PM, PDT. You can listen from anywhere in the world. Here's how.

This is a link to the Trail Life USA web site.

Rob Green, the interim director said, "Our vision is to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens."

May God bless and help them.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.