John Stemberger, who leads the new anti-gay alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, reassured conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd yesterday that his group, Trail Life USA, is “not going to tolerate” any openly gay members, describing them as a threat to the “safety and security of our children.”
While the BSA allows openly gay youth (but not adults) to join, Trail Life USA will ban anyone who is gay, unless he is working to hide and banish his gay demons. Stemberger, who also runs the Florida Family Policy Council, blames “society and schools and even parents” for affirming LGBT youth, which he said is “tantamount to abuse.”
“That is just absolutely nonsense and it’s an abuse to the child,” Stemberger charged. “We are not going to tolerate someone who is ‘here and queer; loud and proud,’ all of that nonsense, that is completely inappropriate in a program where there’s children.”
Stemberger: We’re very sad to leave the Boy Scouts of America. It was a great organization but unfortunately it has taken a turn in a fundamental compromise on its values that is just not acceptable to parents and the safety and security of our children.
Mefferd: Absolutely. Now a lot has been reported about how you will handle the issue of sexuality in the Trail Life USA organization. How did it come about that you put together the parameters that you did and how do you reassure parents that the issues that may come up in the Boy Scouts are not going to be the same in Trail Life USA?
Stemberger: Well first of all, we’re not going to allow open and avowed homosexuality. It’s really important that we distinguish between a mere same-sex attraction, which by the way 20-25 percent of young boys as they are growing up will experience some sort of gender ambiguity or confusion, or just needing to wonder who they are, needing affirmation, that’s not uncommon at all. But what’s horrible is to have the society and schools and even parents, which is tantamount to abuse in my judgment, saying ‘oh he is special, he must be gay, he must be gender confused, let’s let him explore.’ That is just absolutely nonsense and it’s an abuse to the child. We need to be reaffirming that child of their God-given biology that they are special, made in His image, and help them understand these things. So we’re not going to turn away a kid like that, but we are not going to tolerate activists. We are not going to tolerate someone who is ‘here and queer; loud and proud,’ all of that nonsense, that is completely inappropriate in a program where there’s children.
Later in the broadcast, Stemberger warned that when AT&T CEO and BSA board member Randall Stephenson becomes the leader of the organization, it is likely that openly gay adults will be allowed to take part in scouting as well.
While Stemberger said he was “never concerned about the adults” because “the adults have a two-deep leadership policy where no adult can be alone with any scout at one time in scouting,” he told parents to fear openly gay adult leaders anyway and defect to Trail Life USA: “We’re not trying to be bashing the BSA but we are going to be committed to letting parents know of this and that this is a risk, this is a health and safety risk to boys.”
Stemberger even predicted that sexual relations and “physical, sexual and psychological abuse” will become “commonplace” as a result of the decision to end the ban on openly gay youth.
Mefferd: You told us that Randall Stephenson, the head of AT&T, is now going to be in charge of the Boy Scouts. Now this is somebody who drew an awful lot of fire prior to this vote as somebody a lot of conservatives wanted ousted from the Boy Scouts.
Stemberger: That’s right, in May of next year he will become the president of the Boy Scouts of America and he is on the record saying he doesn’t agree with the current policy, doesn’t go far enough, he wants open homosexuality not just with boys but with men as well. When that second shoe drops then we will be positioned to see even more parents come and join Trail Life USA. Honestly, I just hate this. I don’t like this. We’re not trying to be bashing the BSA but we are going to be committed to letting parents know of this and that this is a risk, this is a health and safety risk to boys. They have already issued proclamations saying you will not treat openly gay boys any different, that is they are going to be tented with other boys; they are not going to be separated out in anyway lest they be bullied.
This is where it’s going and this will absolutely increase boy-on-boy sexual contact, which will further contribute to the scandal and the very unfortunate abuse to countless numbers of boys who will undergo physical, sexual and psychological abuse as a result of this policy change. That is the bottom line, that is the thing no one wants to talk about, that is the reality of this change. They can deny it all they want to but you can’t control boys. I was never concerned about the adults; the adults have a two-deep leadership policy where no adult can be alone with any scout at one time in scouting. But you can’t do that with boys. They are high-risk, they’ve got testosterone, they do crazy things and so you’re going to have stuff happen commonplace as this policy goes into effect.