EDITORIAL: The straight Scouts

Splinter group promises to defend traditional values

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For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America stood their ground for traditional moral values. That changed in May when the group’s leadership succumbed to noisy activist groups (and cowed corporate donors) and opened their ranks to homosexuals. Backers of the Scouting oath, in which each member promises to be “morally straight,” think there’s an opportunity for a straight alternative.

John Stemberger, the Eagle Scout who led the charge against the lavender lobby’s successful effort to give Scouting a makeover, on Friday announced the formation of Trail Life USA. The new group offers a home to the tens of thousands of Scouting families who are expected to retire their merit badges, more in sorrow than in anger, when gay-friendly Scouting begins on New Year’s Day.

Aimed at grades K-12, Trail Life USA is soliciting applications for troops and troop leaders around the country so that it can open for business on Jan. 1. “We’re not looking to be an [anti-Boy Scouts] organization,” says Mr. Stemberger, an Orlando, Fla., lawyer and the father of two sons who had been Scouts. He says the new group will be open to all boys, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. Adult leaders will be asked to adhere to a Christian statement of faith and values. Though the Boy Scouts of America still professes “duty to God” and bars young atheists, the self-appointed arbiters of “tolerance” will no doubt continue to chip away at the faith of the millions of Scouts.

Mr. Stemberger announced the Trail scouts at a gathering of more than 1,200 former Scouting officials, parents and youths in Nashville, Tenn. Like the Boy Scouts of America, Trail Life USA says it will offer outdoor adventure, public service, character development and life-skills training for boys. “We are more committed to truth than tradition,” said Mr. Stemberger, “and we’re more committed to integrity than institutions.” He called the Scouts’ policy change “an enormous mistake and a tragic mistake.” It was also an unnecessary mistake. The Scouts “fixed” something that wasn’t broken.

If a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, Trail Life USA expects it to be a long hike over rugged terrain to create a new national organization from scratch. That’s what those advocating for homosexual Scouts should have done. When the Boy Scouts of America’s executive committee broke faith with Scouting’s long, storied traditions in pursuit of cheap praise from the left, blazing a new path forward became inevitable.

We wish it success encouraging young boys to get up from the couch and head outdoors for adventure, fun and learning.

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