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US: No large defections follow Boy Scouts policy change to allow gay members

Joseph McCormick January 2, 2014
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Following the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) change of policy to allow gay youth members, Christian alternatives seem hopeful to scoop up defections, however no large number of troops have severed their ties of yet.

Back in May 2013, the national council of the BSA voted to lift the ban on openly gay youth members, with over 60% of the 1400 strong voting body backing the lifting of the ban.

The lifting of the ban officially took place on 1 January 2014.

The Royal Rangers programme, which is over 50 years old, previously only served the Assemblies of God church, but now serves other denominations as well.

Before the BSA’s change of policy, the Royal Rangers had an estimated 125,000 members across the US, and provides a “Christ centred” alternative to the BSA.

A second organisation established this year in the face of the lifting of the BSA’s ban on gay members,

Over 1,200 disgruntled former Boy Scouts of America officials descended on Nashville, Tennessee in September, in order to launch a new, “Christian-based” alternative to the BSA.

Despite denying that the organisation was anti-BSA, Trail Life USA was created following the BSA’s decision to life its ban on gay scouting members.

Its Board chairman John Stemberger said Trail Life’s founders voiced unfounded concerns that the new policy would lead to openly gay scouts abusing younger boys.

The BSA’s policy strictly bans “any sexual conduct” or gay advocacy.

Despite these alternatives to the BSA, mass defections have not so far become apparent.

Remaining optimistic, the BSA said that less than 2% of its troops made the decision to cut ties.

A member of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) national executive board earlier this week spoke out about the organisation’s change of policy to allow gay members, to say the organisation hopes it will be a non-event like the Y2K scare in 1999.

The President of the BSA Wayne Perry, on the day that the vote was made, wrote an editorial piece for USA Today, in which he said allowing gay members into the scouts would be “the right decision.”

A poll released in February found that a majority of US voters thought the Boy Scouts of America should drop its ban on gay scouts, volunteers and staff.


Related topics: Boy Scouts of America, BSA, trail life usa, US

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