When Eagles Fall

May 8

It’s really no surprise.

Those with eyes to see could see the demise of the Boy Scouts of America was on the horizon. But the rapid decline in five short years came swifter than many predicted.

In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America allowed boys who identified as gay into membership, followed quickly in 2015 by expanding that to include adults. After all, the thinking went, how do we allow youth who identify as gay and then turn them out when they reach 18? That can’t be fair?

Then president of the Scouts, Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama, urged the Scouts to end its ban on gay leaders just as he ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for the United States Armed Services.

Sensing what was coming and responding proactively, last December when an 8-year-old declared herself to be transgender—the BSA once again capitulated.

Now, to no one’s surprise, gender to the Scouts matters not!

Just recently, the Scouts announced—much to the protest of the Girl Scouts of America—that they would allow girls into membership—and change their name to accommodate this new policy.

In five short years… the Boy Scouts of America have deliberately undermined themselves by succumbing to the pressure of the radical few.  And, their membership is suffering as a result, dropping about 10% from 2013—2016 with the Mormon church recently announcing it would remove 185,000 youth from the program.

Boy Scout founder Baden Powell said in the early 1900’s, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity”.  I think we could venture a guess at what he would say today about his beloved Scouts… perhaps I might take a stab at expressing it for him?

In 2000, I met a wonderful family from Maine.  They proudly displayed a portrait of their four sons—each donning their Boy Scout uniform and proudly wearing Eagle Scout badges. With four sons of my own who at that time were 11, 9, 7 & 5, I determined that they too would earn the rank of Eagle Scout. And each one did.

Last summer, I and my sons visited that family to thank them for their inspiration to achieve such a prestigious award. Yet, we all couldn’t help but mourn the take-over of the Scouts and feel that the honor had lost its luster. My own sons are now considering giving their badge back.

Sadly, one thing is for sure… my children’s children won’t be Boy Scouts… I bet Baden Powell would agree.

But there is redemption. When something dies, something new and better is born.

Through the leadership of dear friends—one in particular, John Stemberger, who also happens to lead our state allied organization in Florida—a wonderful faith-based organization named Trail Life USA has emerged. Trail Life promises to disciple boys to men. And set those men on track to be Biblical Citizens—those who know their God, stand firm and take action. (Dan. 11:32).

Since its official launch at the beginning of 2014, Trail Life has over 700 troops in 48 states and has grown to over 26,000 young men. It’s exciting to see God preserve a remnant of young men who will grow up in the faith, discipled by leaders willing to stand for our future.

Ironically, Trail Life USA can assure its membership remains true based on a Supreme Court opinion established for the Boy Scouts (Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, 2000) that upheld their right to determine their own membership. Even though the Boy Scouts abandoned this court precedent, Trail Life takes steps in its bylaws to assure that its leadership can never be infiltrated or capitulate .

But there is one thing more… it’s why Family Policy Alliance exists:  to ensure that organizations like Trail Life USA can continue to operate according to their faith.  And to do that, I ask for your continued support to ensure that we can elect leaders and promote policy that secures a future for our young men (and women) to live out their faith as they lead the future of our nation.

Let’s allow our Eagles to soar once more.

Standing and acting for the family of believers,

Paul Weber
President & CEO