A conservative group says it will form a rival alternative to
the Boy Scouts of America, in the latest sign of backlash
against the Scouts' recent decision to admit gay youth.
The splinter group, OnMyHonor.Net, said the new organization
will offer an outdoors-oriented character-development
programme for boys similar to that of the Boy Scouts, while
also focusing on "sexual purity" and adhering to "a standard
statement of Christian values."
The new organisation, which has yet to be named, stopped
short of banning gay children but said it would bar any
members who "openly flaunt sexuality."
"We have heard directly from over 30,000 people that
recommended a need for this organisation," said Rob Green, a
former top Boy Scouts leader in South Carolina and now
interim executive director of OnMyHonor.Net's new programme.
"There is an organisation existing now that is in line with
OnMyHonor.Net is a group of parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle
Scouts, and other Scouting leaders formerly associated with
the Boy Scouts. Last spring, OnMyHonor.Net lobbied the Boy
Scouts to maintain their policy barring gay youths and adults
from the organization. In May, the Scouts voted to lift the
ban on gay youths, angering many conservative members. The
Scouts retained a prohibition on gay Scoutmasters and other
The Boy Scouts declined to talk about the new organisation.
"We remain focused on reaching and serving youth in order to
help them grow into good, strong citizens," said Scouts
spokesman Deron Smith.
The rival group will be modeled on the American Heritage
Girls, a Christian youth organization for girls,
OnMyHonor.net said, and its name will be announced at a
national convention set for September 6 in Nashville,
Tennessee. The group hopes to launch across the United States
Gay youths will be allowed join, but members can't "openly
flaunt sexuality," said John Stemberger, founder of
OnMyHonor.Net. "There is not going to be any acting out, nor
is there going to be a witch-hunt," said Stemberger.
"We wouldn't expect any flaunting, innuendo, gestures or
speech," he said, citing as examples advocating for gay
rights or waving rainbow flags.