A coalition of Eagle Scouts, Scoutmasters, and parents have launched a new organization vowing to keep sex and politics out of the Boy Scouts of America.
“The Boy Scouts are one of the great jewels of American culture,” said John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and the founder of OnMyHonor.net.
Representatives from more than a dozen states gathered in Florida to announce the opposition to any attempt to allow open homosexuality in the BSA.
The BSA is expected to offer a proposal that would remove the national rule banning open homosexuality -- and replacing it with a local option. That resolution would be voted on by the national council in May.
The announcement came as a shock to scouts and their parents, who overwhelmingly oppose the plan -- but also to a number of religious organizations who sponsor troops. About 70 percent of all troops are sponsored by church groups.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, met with Boy Scouts Chief Executive Wayne Brock in early March -- warning him that a change in policy could result in a mass exodus of troops.
Stemberger told Fox News that the new coalition supports the current policy in Scouting. That policy, he said, allows anyone to participate -- regardless of sexual orientation. It does forbid open and aggressive promotion of homosexuality and political agendas.
“When it comes to young boys, parents have the final say on the issues of sex and politics,” Stemberger said.
He said the Boy Scouts are being bullied by gay rights activists who have a much broader agenda for the organization.
“It would be an enormous mistake if they allowed homosexuality in scouting,” he said. “They have no idea what these folks really want to do.”
Stemberger said there are already gays in scouting -- “they are discreet, they are appropriate, they are private and they don’t act out in front of kids.”
“What they want is full-blown gay activism in scouting,” he said, “and that’s what they can’t have under the current policy.”
He predicted any change in the policy would devastate the program.
“We think that sex and politics should stay out of Scouting,” he said. “We think that’s utterly inappropriate where boys as young as six and seven years old are being trained to be men.”
Stemberger said he hopes BSA leadership is listening to parents “rather than Madonna and Bill Gates.”
The possible change in policy has also impacted some Eagle Scouts -- like Malachi Baggett, 20, of Mississippi.
“All of a sudden they are backing away (from the policy),” he said of BSA leadership. “What does that tell me as a young man? Once it’s no longer popular, it’s okay to change your morals? Instead of basing your morals on faith, you should place them in a shifting culture? That’s extremely dangerous.”
Former U.S. Rep. Dick Schulze raised similar concerns.
“What kind of a message are we sending to our young people if the very leaders who are teaching Boy Scouts to be brave, cannot even find the courage to stand firm and avoid caving to peer pressure from Hollywood and political activists,” he asked.
Stemberger said the only answer to the controversy is to embrace the 2000 Supreme Court decision that ruled the BSA had a constitutional right to freedom of association.
“That’s the only way we can protect ourselves,” he said. “Otherwise, every single unit will be subjected to a legal attack. Millions of dollars will be spent on litigation. They will file lawsuits against churches, VFWs and a lot of them will abandon scouting.”