Hmmm… Did Trail Life USA Think This One Through?


UPDATE: The Trail Life USA board chairman is disputing the original news article’s caption for this photo. That Associated Press caption said the photo showed Trail Life USA members saluting while they recite their organization’s creed. Trail Life USA’s board chairman, John Stemberger, says these members were actually following a Boy Scout tradition in which scouts raise and then slowly lower their arms while singing “Taps” at the end of a meeting or event. Click here to read more about this. We’re grateful to the TFN Insider reader who pointed it out to us. The original news article now has a revised caption. We are revising our post to reflect the new information we have.


Trail Life USA is a new Christian-based alternative to the Boy Scouts. The group’s founding comes in response to last year’s decision by Texas-based Boy Scouts of America to drop its ban on gay youth. Trail Life USA’s membership standards clearly state that “any sexual activity outside the context of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is sinful before God and therefore inconsistent with the values and principles of the program.” In short: gay youth (or, we assume, the children of gay parents) need not apply.

Other youth will also feel unwelcome in Trail Life USA. Although the Boy Scout oath mentions God, that reference isn’t specific to a particular faith. In contrast, Trail Life USA’s website states that the organization “unapologetically reflects a Christian worldview.” Moreover, adult leaders must abide by the group’s “statement of Christian faith.” So even though membership is technically open to boys “irrespective of religion, race, national origin or socio-economic status,” do you think many Jewish boys and other non-Christians will line up to join? Of course, we doubt that really bothers the group’s founders.

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14 thoughts on “Hmmm… Did Trail Life USA Think This One Through?

  1. I wonder what their uniforms will look like? Brown shirts, no doubt. OK, boys, all together now, another rousing chorus of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

  2. I love their claim to “unapologetically reflect a bigoted worldview.”

    Totally appropriate for this group. Pity the kids, though.

  3. You do realize that they are doing a Boy Scout tradition there right?

    They are closing their meeting with Taps.

    That is not the Trail Life salute.

    1. The photo caption in the news article explains that the students are reciting the Trail Life USA creed at a meeting.

  4. Did they think this one through? Of course they did. They dig their “power”. Lame.

    1. Shawn: Thanks for pointing us to the new story. We’ll revise the post to note this information.

      1. Thanks Dan & Shawn: Some of us may have suspected the moment the photo was snapped was perhaps a bit out of context. Nevertheless, their general charter is disturbing. Like Doc Bill, I pity the kids who get mixed up in this w/ their parents’ “blessing.”

    2. No, Shawn, the group has colored itself brilliantly and brightly. Unapologetically bigoted, Christian only leaders, signed statement of faith in a “Triune God” (are you kidding me?), Bible study and referring to the organization as a ministry. Their slogan is “Walk Worthy.”

      Oh, but they’re “open to all,” just so long as you are the right kind of “all.”