An organization called On My Honor announced Tuesday it has formed a Christian-based alternative to Boy Scouts of America that, while open to "all boys," will focus on "sexual purity" rather than "sexual identity," founder John Stemberger said.
On My Honor, which describes itself as a national coalition of (former) scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, parents and other supporters, initially organized to urge Boy Scouts of America not to change its membership policies to admit openly gay scouts.
In the wake of the BSA decision May 23 to not discriminate against gay boys, On My Honor leaders met June 29 and determined they would form a scouting-like, outdoor-based program for youth character development, but "founded on principles and values that reflect a Christian worldview."
"We have heard directly from over 30,000 (scouting leaders and families) that recognize the need for this organization," executive director Rob Green said in a conference call Tuesday.
"We want to have a positive impact on all young people," he said. "We are very inclusive."
Any boy — of any faith, ethnicity or national origin — who meets the conduct code will be welcome, the men said, including a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim or even a boy who experiences same-sex attraction, as long as he doesn't push a gay political agenda — or "fly a rainbow flag."
"We don't think sex and politics should be in a program for kids," Stemberger said.
The boys' leaders must sign an agreement that they accept and follow the group's interpretation of basic Christian tenets, similar to those of the long-established Christian-based ministry called Heritage Girls.
That credo includes a belief that sexual intimacy is OK only in marriage, defined as being between one man and one woman.
"For 100 years, (Boy Scout) terms like morally straight and clean were understood from a Christian worldview," Green said.
The name, logo, brand and program details of the new boys group will be decided at the group's inaugural convention Sept. 6-7 in Nashville, Tenn. New units will be chartered in November. The organization will be fully launched Jan. 1, the officials said.
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