This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 22, 2015:
Scarcely a year after his surprise inauguration as the new president of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), former Pentagon chief Robert Gates told BSA leadership on Thursday to prepare to allow practicing homosexuals into leadership positions or face threats that could divide, splinter, and destroy the organization. He said:
We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.
We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy from some councils, nor can we ignore the social, political and judicial changes taking place in our country — changes taking place at a pace over this past year no one anticipated.
Gates added that, despite the Supreme Court decision Boy Scouts of America v. Dale in 2000 that affirmed the Scouts’ freedom to restrict its membership, holding that “a private organization is allowed … to exclude a person from membership through their First American right to freedom of association,” continuing legal and social pressure from the gay lobby could force the Scouts to “forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in our duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys.”
This is the same argument Gates used to justify ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” while he was secretary of defense, and fulfilled a promise he made when he took over BSA in May, 2014 when he commented on the group’s decision a year earlier to allow homosexual boys to join but not homosexual leaders:
In all candor, I would have supported going further, as I did in opening the way for gays to serve in the CIA and in the military. I was prepared to go further than the decision that was made [in 2013]. I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters.
The gay lobby rejoiced in Gates’ announcement but wanted to see more action on allowing homosexual leadership in the Scouts, rather than waiting. Chad Griffin, president of Scouts for Equality and Human Rights Campaign (HRC), made it plain that he and his pro-gay group are tired of waiting for the Scouts to surrender completely to the gay agenda: “It’s time for BSA leaders to show true leadership and embrace a full national policy of inclusion that does not discriminate against anyone because of who they are.”
Back in May 2013, the Scouts voted to change their 105-year-old membership policy that reads that while “we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA … no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
This degradation of standards was enough for BSA leader John Stemberger to start an alternative scouting program reflective of principle rather than expediency. Called Trail Life USA, its Statement of Values includes this:
Purity: God calls us to lives of holiness, being pure of heart, mind, word and deed. We are to reserve sexual activity for the sanctity of marriage, a lifelong commitment before God between a man and a woman.
Trail Life’s Statement of Faith reflects its purpose:
We believe there is One Triune God — God the Father; Jesus Christ, His one and only Son; and the Holy Spirit — Creator of the universe and eternally existent. We believe the Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. We believe each person is created in His image for the purpose of communing with and worshiping God. We believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to live godly lives. We believe each of us is called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We believe God calls us to lives of purity, service, stewardship and integrity.
Since its creation in the summer of 2013, Trail Life membership exploded, thanks to disaffected former scouts and their parents looking for a place where truth is honored and upheld, rather than attacked and degraded. At present there are more than 20,000 members in over 500 troops in 48 states, with another 300 troops in the process of becoming officially chartered. Its success is also reflected in the drop in membership of the BSA by more than 200,000 just since the change in membership standards was enacted.
Those seeking to raise up their boys in the truth of the God of the Bible thankfully have a place whose mission is to turn boys into men.