A pro-family activist says no one should be surprised that the Boy Scouts of America organization has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits. Meanwhile, a Christian-based organization for boys emphasizes that its policies are designed to protect its young members.
Overwhelmed by that wave of lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim-compensation plan that will allow the 110-year-old organization to carry on. Several thousand men say they were molested as scouts by scoutmasters or other leaders. The bankruptcy represents a painful turn for an organization that had been a pillar of American civic life for generations.
Over the last decade, the organization decided to admit homosexuals, later to accept homosexuals as group leaders, and then opened the door to girls as well – bringing about the decision to rebrand the organization as the "Scouts," dropping "Boys" from the title. Many local scout groups fled the group when the organization moved in that direction. Most recently the Mormons pulled out of the organization, taking 400,000 members with them.
Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, says anyone who has followed the Scouts could have predicted this would happen.
"It all began when they capitulated on allowing so-called 'gay' boys into the Boy Scouts – that was the first cave-in," he tells OneNewsNow. "The next cave-in was when they capitulated, allowing openly homosexual adult male Scout leaders."
LaBarbera, pointing to legal victory for the Boy Scouts, contends the organization didn't have to capitulate. "It all began with a sexual orientation law in New Jersey in which a man sued because he was an open homosexual and he wanted to be a Scout leader," he describes. "Well, too bad! You don't fit the criteria.
"But he sued – and the Scouts won that lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court [on a 5-4 vote]. But then it's like they turned victory into defeat, and they ended up capitulating to the entire agenda anyway. It's an incredible story of treachery."
The Associated Press reports that the bankruptcy petition listed the Boy Scouts' assets as between $1 billion and $10 billion, and its liabilities at $500 million to $1 billion.
Intentional about protecting boys
Amidst the Scouts' downturn, the Christian-based organization Trail Life USA sprang up as an alternative for boys and their families. Mark Hancock, who heads that organization, emphasizes that Trail Life protects its boys.
"All of our adults are background-checked – not just once, regularly," he begins. "All of our adults receive a personal recommendation from a church representative [as well as from] somebody who also represents the troop, so they have a vested interest in making sure the adults are good people. Also, all adults [are required to] complete youth protection training … every two years."
Trail Life also has established absolute guidelines for reporting, including complete transparency.
"There's no one-on-one contact between an adult and the boy. There's a minimum of two registered adults on site at all times, and we have buddy groups of three," Hancock explains. "Three boys travel together either in the outdoors or even at their events. So we have in place … policies that keep our boys as safe as can be."
In Trail Life USA, Christianity is an important facet of the boys' training. Hancock adds that if former Scouts wish to join Trail Life, they can transfer any credits earned while members of the Scouts.