As Boy Scouts ‘Go Woke,’ Door Opens for Christian Alternatives

The Boy Scouts were originally founded to ensure young boys were being taught how to become strong men. But just last week, after roughly a decade of slowly caving to social pressures, the Boy Scouts released the new title for the organization: Scouting America (SA). Although SA President Roger Krone said their “mission remains unchanged,” many have taken issue with the claim.

Krone insisted that they are still “committed to teaching young people to be prepared for life,” but critics argue that this statement differ from the Scouts’ original purpose. In 1910, their mission was not centered on “young people,” but on boys specifically. Their purpose was stated as such: “to teach [boys] patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” The organization was created “by men who were concerned about the disappearance of traditional boyhood and the cultivation of masculine virtues as America rapidly urbanized,” National Review’s editorial board wrote.

But, as they emphasized, “America is currently undergoing another acknowledged crisis for boys and men, [but] the Boy Scouts of America won’t be there to meet their needs.” For parents who care about the original purpose of the Boy Scouts, there’s a group that’s already stepped up to fill the gap.

The Christian organization, Trail Life USA (TLUSA), took root 10 years ago when SA first showed signs of surrendering their values. On Friday’s episode of “Washington Watch,” TLUSA Chairman John Stemberger joined guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice to discuss why this alternative is an important option in today’s climate.

“It’s sad,” Stemberger lamented, “because what [SA has] done is they’ve neutered the DNA of who they were as an organization.” He added, “They were literally a boy-focused organization, and now they’re just … generic, plain vanilla, any young person can come here” kind of organization. You can be “gay, trans, [a] girl — doesn’t matter anymore,” he said.

According to Hice, this was a “decade-long drift from the values and virtues it once celebrated.” But as Stemberger pointed out, the drift happened when leadership prioritized not offending anyone, which has “transformed it into a kind of … youth group with neckerchiefs without any core meaning.” Hice agreed, adding that there have been numerous “incredible leaders over the years that the Boy Scouts have helped create, and in essence, all of that’s erased. It’s all tossed out the window … at this point. … It’s just sad to watch this.”

Hice wondered if there could be more to this shift than simply “going woke,” to which Stemberger replied, “The real tragedy here … no one’s talking about” is that SA is not merely promoting LGBT ideology, but they’re actively putting young boys and girls in harmful situations.

He explained, “[A]ll these changes are producing more boy-on-boy and now girl-on-boy sexual contact. I mean, that’s exactly what’s happening here, because they do not separate out kids that claim to be openly gay.” But the problem, he emphasized, is that there’s a reason “we don’t tent boys and girls [together] … because they’re attracted to each other.” And yet, this organization is now “going to allow an openly gay boy to decide who he’s going to unilaterally sleep with on his own. And this absolutely creates a radical increase of boy-on-boy contact issues that are very hard to prevent, much less report. … It’s a scandal.”

In a separate interview with Owen Strachan, a senior fellow at FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview, Hice noted that what we’re seeing is “a violation of what God intended these young men to be.” Strachan agreed, explaining how “masculinity is made by God and is designed for his glory.” He added, “Every man … needs the gospel of divine grace to live and flourish as a man as God intends.” All of these ideologically driven shifts have “opened the door for more parents of boys to consider a Christian alternative,” Hice said.

As Stemberger emphasized, “[W]e need to be concerned with our young people.” Ultimately, it’s about “men becoming men [and] learning what it means to be a man.” As far as Stemberger is concerned, “[O]ur conviction is that you have to learn how to be a man from another man. … It’s a pretty simple concept.”

AUTHOR

Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

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