Say, there, sonny. Do you wish you had a militant group you could join at a tender age, with uniforms and pocketknives and the like, but that guaranteed you wouldn't have to rub elbows with some Nancy-boy knock-kneed Jewish kids? Boy howdy, lemme tell ya about "Trail Life USA"!
What's "Trail Life USA"? Only the coolest fucking thing to happen to boys since Jesus disemboweled a grizzly bear with one hand while tying a bowline with the other and turning the beast's intestinal offal into honey-baked Easter ham to feed the multitudes of straight saved young men, that's what! (Look it up; pretty sure it's in Romans.)
Chatting in the living room one night, Ron Orr gave his 15-year-old son Andrew a choice: He could stick with the Boy Scouts of America and his mission to become an Eagle Scout, or he could join Trail Life USA – the new Christian-based alternative that excludes openly gay boys.
This was no small decision. Four generations of Orr men had been Eagles, including Ron and Andrew's older brother. Andrew had spent years working toward Scouting's highest rank, and was just months from reaching it.
But the Boy Scouts had decided to admit gays, and Ron Orr, a tall, soft-spoken man with a firm handshake, is clear about his Christian faith and what it says about homosexuality: It is a sin that cannot be tolerated.
His son agreed. He would forgo the century-old BSA for Trail Life, which officially launched just last month.
"It felt like I'd be hitting something higher than Eagle in terms of achievement," Andrew said, in an interview.
Yes, that's right! For verily I say unto you, there is no higher calling than not associating with other 12-year-olds who clearly want to make Jesus cry by having the forcible atheist buttsecks with good saved children.
Trail Life is the Godly alternative to that den of sin known as the Boy Scouts of America. Allied with the also-out-there American Heritage Girls—the non-strumpety alternative to those Girl Scouts whores—Trail Life purports to offer boys "outdoor experiences... established on timeless values derived from the Bible."
They don't offer a coveted Eagle Scout rank, but they do have a "Freedom Award." In fact, if you're a Scout who wants to leave that rat's nest behind like a celibate priest spurning those dirty Anglicans for Mother Church in Rome, you should know that "Scouts on the 'Trail to Eagle' are able to transfer over to the 'Trail to Freedom.'" It is a very happy trail, indeed, full of muscular Christianity, as evinced by Trail Life's affiliation with something called "Manhood Journey."
The Orrs and others in Trail Life say they are fighting for the traditional values of Christianity and of Scouting, which includes a command in the Scout Oath to be "morally straight" – even as a changing America grows more accepting of gays and gay marriage. They are leaving an organization central to many of their upbringings with heavy hearts, but also with the belief that the Scouting they knew no longer exists.
"As Christians from a scriptural basis, we love all folks, but the Scripture is very clear that being homosexual is a sin," Ron Orr said in an interview. "We've got to be able to hold a strong line and set a consistent example for our young men."
Now, mind you, the Scouts are a nominally Christian organization that still bans adult homosexuals from their ranks—a measure that's problematic even for current high-achieving young men in the organization who identify as gay as they "age out"—but that's an intolerant bridge not far enough for Herr Orr and his homeschooled brood:
"We're trying to learn from the mistakes of the Boy Scouts," said John Stemberger, an Orlando, Fla., lawyer who led the opposition to BSA's May vote and went on to found Trail Life.
Stemberger accused BSA of imposing "an artificial political and social agenda" on its national membership at the expense of its rank-and-file members and churches. He says he's heard from people still in Scouting who are quietly dissatisfied, but staying put for now.
"They have now allowed open and avowed presentation in your face: here and queer, that kind of blunt thing," he said in an interview late last year. "And we don't think that's appropriate. We will allow boys of same-sex attraction in the program. We're not going to allow them to facilitate and promote that."
How many of these Trail Lifers are there? Barely any, compared with the Boy Scouts: approximately 600 units in 40 states, while the BSA has 6 million members nationwide. But the pro-Lifers are still more plentiful than the Navigators, those scary uniform-less outdoorsy hippies who accept gay, trans, atheist, and girl troopers.
But these Trail Lifers, they have... interesting... rituals.
On a recent winter evening, about 40 boys from the unit attended a Trail Life meeting inside a non-denominational Christian Church. All of the boys, ages 5 to 16, met together before splitting off into age and rank groups.
They wore green Trail Life T-shirts and stood in lines in front of their three youth leaders. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, it was time for them to raise their right hands and say the Trail Life Oath, which calls on the boys in part "to serve God and my country, to respect authority, and to be a good steward of creation."...
They then sat down for a religious talk from their adult Trailmaster, Philip Buchholz. He told them that it was important for them to stay true to who they are.
"You're the salt of the earth," Buchholz told the boys, quoting Matthew 5:13. "The salt was a preservative. You guys, being the salt of the earth, are a preservative."
Just don't be gay salt! Or tolerant salt! Be the kind of salt, that when it cleaves to the floorboards of a gay-ass cherry red Miata, isn't melted, but corrodes straight through that licentious metal. That's right, be a nasty little salt. But just remember: Stay true to who you are. NOW HUG IT OUT FOR JESUS.
[Trail Life members move their arms as they and sing "Taps" in a circle during a meeting in North Richland Hills, Texas, Feb. 4, 2014. Trail Life USA, the new Christian-based alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, excludes openly gay members. AP Photo/LM Otero]