We live in a time and place where acceptance of every way of life is expected and demanded and if it isn’t celebrated then there is a lawsuit. From there the courts order everyone to conform to the minority, even if it is against their belief system.
That judicial process and mainstream embracing is becoming the death of an iconic American group.
The Boy Scouts. Ever since the New Jersey Supreme court ruled in favor of James Dale in 1998, the boy scouts have seen a steady decline in enrollment. The Boy Scouts expelled Dale for being openly gay. New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the BSA had to rehire him. This was eventually reversed by the Supreme Court because the ruling violated the BSA’s rights as a private organization.
Some believe that the first decision by New Jersey to rehire DaleÂ is what began the decline in members, but others believe it is the overturning and anti-gay policy of the BSA that did it.
â€œTwo percent deciding what the rest of us does,â€ Phil Robertson warned, â€œand they are willing to destroy it. Hollywood and the so-called liberal media has jumped on board that this is the new civil rights, well I donâ€™t think so.”
Since that time, BSA enrollment has gone down. But, in 2013 when the BSA changed its policy to allow openly gay people be members, things went ever farther downhill for the BSA. Approval ratings when down by 40%. Also,Â the BSA still ban openly gay leaders, neither conservative critics or gay-right activists are pleased.
That’s when some of the Boy Scout leaders decided to leave the organizationÂ and make an alternative to BSA with Christian morals ad values.
Trail Life USA is an “unapologetically Christian” alternative to Boy Scouts of America. They started last January and membership is flourishing. They have had over 14,000 members join in over 47 states. They have now over 460 troops.
Â “… [W]e are adding a couple hundred members a week,” said Mark Hancock chief executive officer of Trail Life USA.
Over 300 more troops are being evaluated for enrollment.
“We would have grown a lot faster if we weren’t so strict with our chartering requirements, but we’re building a strong foundation of troops that are aligned with the Christian principles we uphold,” he said.
In the beginning, most of the memberships were from those who were upset about the BSA lifting the ban, but he says that they are also reaching those who were never involved in the BSA.
“Initially people would say that is what got us launched (the Boy Scouts decision), because a lot of people were not happy with that decision and were looking for an alternative. As it turned out, though, almost 50 percent of our troops have never been involved with Boy Scouts of America,” said Hancock.
Hancock explained that the center is a Christ-centered program.
“Although I can say that back in the beginning pieces of the [Trail Life USA] coalition were in response to that (Boy Scouts decision), now we’re pretty much running on our Christ-centered model. We’re not running really in competition with anybody. â€¦ We are unapologetically Christian. We are male focused. Our values are drawn from the Bible,” emphasized Hancock.
Although, there is not solid proof why the BSA is declining, both sides have their own opinion. What’s yours?