Christian Programs Offer Alternative to Gay-Friendly Boy Scouts
Christians unsettled by the Boy Scouts of America accepting openly gay youths in the new year are being offered at least two alternatives.
The Royal Rangers program has served the Assemblies of God for more than 50 years and now boasts an estimated 125,000 members. Assemblies of God General Superintendent the Rev. George Wood says the "Christ-centered" mentoring program for boys is now being offered to other denominations as well.
Another Christian scouting alternative, Trail Life USA, is just getting started, with 425 troops pre-chartered.
Board chairman John Stemberger says he and other former Boy Scout leaders are concerned that the BSA's policy could lead to openly gay scouts abusing younger boys, even though the new policy prohibits "any sexual conduct" or gay advocacy.
So far, massive defections from the Boy Scouts haven't materialized and most major sponsors, including the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches, are maintaining ties.