Following a May 23 decision to allow openly gay boys to join the Boy Scouts of America, a group of former Boy Scout members announced plans recently to form a Christian alternative to the institution.
The new organization, which has yet to be named, states their mission will be “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others and experience outdoor adventure.”
A spokesperson for the BSA Middle Tennessee Council said, “As new programs are beginning to form for boys, the Middle Tennessee Council has not received any notices from our current scouting families with plans of joining these organizations. The mission of scouting has not changed, and we will continue to keep the safety of our members at the forefront of our programs.”
On June 29, about 50 Christian youth and scouting leaders took part in a private meeting in Louisville, Ky. Matt Barber, a columnist and one of the about 50 founding members of the organization, wrote a column on the forming organization.
Barber justified the need for a new organization saying, “It’s only a matter of time until the BSA is forced to capitulate to sexual extremists’ political demands and allow adult males who define their identity based upon carnal appetites for other males to take your boys on overnight camping trips.”
Barber later said, “not every ‘gay’ man – self-identified or otherwise – is a pedophile, but, and despite baseless claims to the contrary, many studies indicate that a disturbing percentage of same-sex-attracted men are.” A statement which was backed up by a study performed by the Family Research Council, which was classified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010.
In his column, Barber goes on to detail the membership restrictions of the alternative organization.
“It will be open to all boys irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin. Parents from all faiths are welcome to place their children in the program.” As for the issue that led to the forming of the new organization, “the organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation.”
“This means that boys who struggle with same-sex temptation – a subjective experience that, from a statistical standpoint, frequently dissipates over time – will, of course, be allowed to join.” Barber said, “Still, ‘open and avowed’ homosexual identity and socio-political activity, which are both an explicit violation of the Judeo-Christian sexual-ethic, will not be permitted.”
Although the Middle Tennessee Council and several local Scout troop leaders voiced opposition during the voting in May, the council said it has no knowledge of any local leaders who plan to join the alternative organization. One troop leader said he was waiting to see how things develop before he makes a decision.
The new organization’s first national convention will be Sept. 6-7 in Nashville. At the convention, organizers plan to unveil the organization’s name, logo and branding information, as well as other details. The launch date for the organization is set for Jan. 1, which coincides with the day the BSA plans to institute its new membership policy.