Boy Scout Decisions Lead To Bankruptcy – With John Stemberger -Â Join us today to hear John Stemberger speak on the moral tragedy of the Boy Scouts and their downfall.
Air Date: 03/30/2020
Guest:Â John Stemberger
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live. We appreciate you joining us here, where we talk about the hottest topics of the day and how they influence policy and faith and the culture and of course, the coronavirus is the hottest topic of the day. And we don’t want to spend every day all day talking about it. You know, we even had the quote from CS Lewis that sometimes we think too much about these things when we’re going through a crisis.
So, we’ve got some other interviews this week we’re going to be sharing with you. Today, we’ll have John Steinberger with us to talk about the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts. This interview we did actually before the coronavirus breakout and it’s still very relevant today and we wanted to bring it to you on this Monday.
But as you are navigating this new world that we find ourselves in, we encourage you to visit our websites because there’s a lot of great information there. There’s truth. There, strength. There are timeless principles that you can learn about. So, go to wallbuilders.com today, it’s a great time, especially if you are stuck at home and looking for ways to educate the kids or yourself and just looking for some good hope. Go to wallbuilders.com and get some of those materials to be going through during this time.
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Alright, guys, later in the program, John Steinberger will be with us from the Florida Family Policy Council and Jonathan Ritchie has joined us from the WallBuilders team. Jonathan, good to have you back on the program today.
Good to be here.
Alright guys, we’re going to be talking about the downfall of the Boy Scouts. But it’s not just the Boy Scouts. I mean, this tends to be, you know, an example of the depravity of man. We just tend to slouch towards Gomorrah, as Robert Bork said in his book, what, 30 years ago. But man, what a terrible example we’re seeing with the Boy Scouts right now.
Yeah, the boy scouts have filed for bankruptcy. What was once a glorious, worldwide organization that was super strong is now headed in the other direction and so, they’ve officially filed for bankruptcy. And we’ll get into why a little bit later. This a great expert we got John Steinberger, who is part of the Boy Scouts, who helped found the alternative when they started really going downhill at more rapid rate. He’s got a great perspective on why they went down and what caused it and where things are now.
But I remember, Rick in dealing with so many legislators at the State and Federal level, I was always very interested in their voting records, because I really don’t care what you tell me about yourself, I know more about you by what to see you do. So, it is that old axiom that actions speak louder than words. And so, when we bring pastors to Washington DC for our congressional pastors briefing. And by the way, if you’re a pastor or you want to help your pastor, encourage them to sign up at WallBuilders for our pastors’ briefings we do in Washington DC twice a year. They will see and hear things they never hear on the news, will be super encouraging.
But as we would have these pastors say, no, look over this day, we’re going to have a congressman come in every 30 minutes, they’re going to talk about whatever they want to talk about. We don’t tell him what to talk about, to talk about it. You’re going to hear things that you’ve never heard in the news and these are going to be big deals going to Congress right now and you won’t have heard about them.
And I say, here’s the thing with these pastors. Is we will not let anyone stand before this group of pastors and talk to you unless their voting record matches their biblical profession of faith. If you tell me you’re a Christian, I expect to see fruits from that. John the Baptist and Jesus, when John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus, the line out of Luke 2, was bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. Bring for some stuff that shows you how to change life.
And so that’s what we always say about these congressmen. So because of that we would watch their voting records and make sure they were right on the biblical issues. You know, we can differ on taxes or on other things. But we can differ on morality and marriage and life and things like that where the Bible is very clear. And so, we just don’t have guys in that are wrong on those issues.
Having said that, by watching their records, I would see at times where the records of certain congressman or State Reps, State Senators would start shifting, will start going in a much more liberal position. And you kind of scratch your head and say, I wonder what’s going on. It turned out that in nearly every case, is because they, themselves had had some kind of a personal moral failure. If they got involved in an affair with staff or they got involved outside of marriage or whatever, their voting record would start changing. And as their lifestyle would change, their beliefs changed; as their beliefs change, their behavior change. And you saw that behavioral change in the voting record before you saw it in other things. And that’s kind of what we see with the Boy Scouts. You know, they were founded, their organization, their Scout code said you want to morally straight. Well, that’s where they were. But then they started, as you said, slouching toward Gomorrah. And you have to put a lot of attention into keeping moral life straight. If you look in science, you know, my background was in science, math, physics, etc. And so, the second law of thermodynamics is anything left to itself tends to a higher state of entropy or that is confusion, disorder.
If you leave your car sitting out in the backyard for 30 years, it’s not going to be in better shape than when you put it there. It’s going to be slouching towards Gomorrah. It’s going to get rusted. It’s not going to operate right. The oil is going to get sludgy. You can’t get started anymore. You have to put a lot of attention to keeping things working and functional, which by the way, this is a real problem with evolution. How is it that when you leave things alone for billions of years that you suddenly get a more developed civilization out of it? That violates the second law of thermodynamics. Leave your house on painter for 30 years and see if it is in better shape than 30 years ago.
Listen, I’ve raised three teenage boys, you raise two of them, we know what happens to their room when left unattended. It is not orderly.
That is the second law of thermodynamics. It takes attention. So, what happened was the Boy Scouts did not pay attention to morals and things like that. They just started, again, going back to Robert Bork book slouching toward Gomorrah. And the consequence now is they may be a completely lost organization. Don’t know if they can come back from bankruptcy or not. But that’s where John Steinberger has such a good perspective on what’s happening with the scouts, which is why we thought getting John on from Family Policy Council out of Florida good perspective on this
Quick break. John Steinberger, our special guests when we return. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Hey friends, Rick Green here from WallBuilders Live and listen, I know that many of you are scared right now. You’re scared, this whole thing is going to get out of control and destroy your company, your job, your income, everything you’ve built over the last few years. And for many people, it’s worse than even those things I’m describing. But listen, we do not live by a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. We can work through this. And we can be prepared to make sure that we don’t destroy each other in our institutions and our liberty in this situation. But instead, we put ourselves in a position to pick up the pieces and together make our nation even stronger as we rebuild and restore institutions.
And so, Tuesday night, this week at 8pm Central, 9pm Eastern, we’re going to have a webinar where we’re going to be sharing with you what you can do during these times. I’m going to talk about the constitutionality of what’s happening right now at the State and Local level at the Federal level, and talk about what we the people can do during this time to be prepared to defend our freedom, defend the constitution and make sure that these timeless principles of liberty are kept intact for future generations.
Be sure and join me. Go to constitutioncoach.com and it’ll have information for how you can sign up for the webinar. We have limited availability for this digital webinar, but it will be live. And we’ll be sharing these things with you and you will get some action steps on things you can do to make sure that we pick up the pieces and preserve freedom and rebuild our nation even stronger when this is said and done. Go to constitutioncoach.com today and sign up. It’s Tuesday night at 8pm Central, 9pm Eastern.
Welcome back, thanks for staying with us. Our good friend, John Steinberger, back with us from Florida, Family Policy Council. John, how are you doing in, Florida, man?
Great, Rick, how are you?
Man, doing wonderful. Thanks for a little bit of time. You know, as soon as we saw this article about the Boy Scouts and bankruptcy and just all the things they’re, you know, totally at rock bottom at this point, I thought man, John spent many years with them and because of their slouch towards depravity in their policies, helped to start Trail Life USA which has been extremely successful. So, we said, man, John is the guy to get on about this topic. So, appreciate you sharing with us a little bit your thoughts on the fact that they’ve gone this far and now all the way into bankruptcy.
Well, I think there’s several things that can be said. The first thing we have to do is recognize the moral tragedy behind countless numbers of our boys who have been sexually abused at the hands of Scout masters. And the Boy Scouts of America turned the other way. They knew about it, they could have did something, they didn’t do anything. And this is why they’re in bankruptcy, because the insurance companies have refused to cover these as events. Because as an insured, you have a duty to give timely notice of a claim. And so, they knew about these things happening, turned a blind eyes, so all of their coverages are being denied. And so that’s what brings them to the point of bankruptcy.
Is the fact that in 2010, they had one Jury verdict, it was just under $20 million. Now, apparently, there’s somewhere around 300 claimants in the queue. And the real doomsday scenario, Rick, will be if many states are looking at extending their statute of limitations with child sex abuse cases. And if that happens in State after State, there will be not just 300, there will be literally 3,000 claims. And they’re already a conglomerate of law firms around the country. They’re doing TV ads, saying, you know, have you been abused, sexually abused by a Scoutmaster? All went in 100. And when that happens, the floodgates will just open it up. And that’s the doomsday scenario that could really hurt them.
They have about $1.7 billion in assets. The national organizations, the local councils probably have about 3.7 billion in assets, you look at all their land and the offices and camps and things like that. But if that does happen, that could financially come close to really damaging them if not ruining them as a national organization. They’re always be around in some way, but that could be very sad. So, I think the first thing is look at the moral tragedy of those young boys, many of them who are men who have major problems and post-traumatic stress and all the problems that come with child abuse.
John, how did we go from an organization that, you know, frankly, a ton of our greatest leaders of the last couple of generations learned how to be leaders in the Boy Scouts and so much good was done in that organization? How did we go from that to where we are now?
That’s a great question. And it’s the same moral compromise that they did, that led them to the tragedies with these child molestation case. Is the exact same thing that they did that led them to allowing open homosexuality amongst the boys and then the adults and transgenders and then caving on even allowing girls in and that’s it. They had a lust and I use that word very specific, a lust for being popular, for being on the right side of quote, culture. They could not envision themselves as an institution being on the outside of the mainstream of culture. And so, their desire to be popular and to be on the mainstream of culture was more important to them than the timeless values that scouting stood for.
And as a result of that, their board members [inaudible 12:23] band have mission creep amongst their board. By the time of 2013 where they had the first decision allowing openly gay boys, their entire board was made up of CEOs. You no longer had people, men and women who had lived the values of scouting as boys and grown up and now were owning it. You had basically, CEOs who had already been hijacked by the LGBT movement, by the sexual revolutionaries who wanted to see the human experience redefined. And that was the turning point. Because once the board says we’re going to go this way, then the staff and the employees, they have no choice. You either quit your job and lose your source of income or you proceed to implement what the board just told you to implement.
It’s so interesting, that is such a warning to all of us, because at the heart of it is what we’re all susceptible to, that need or desire to be popular and be accepted by the general culture, rather than standing for truth. And of course, we fight that every day in the political realm and in business and every other area of the culture. And what you’re saying is this is actually an example of what not to do; that had they held true to those values, they could have routed out to evil that was it, you know, in just some a few example, I mean, a few specific scout masters and whatnot, they would have routed that out. They would have come clean about it and taken care of it. Instead, they wanted to stay popular with the culture and they hit it.
And it’s the same mistake. In other words, they were hiding and covering the scout masters who were actually sexually abusing young people. Because they didn’t want a PR disaster. Right? Now, they have the ultimate PR disaster, where all that hiding has result in insurance companies denying the claims and say, you’re on your own. Now, they have to go on their own personal assets to pay these millions and millions of dollars in settlements and/or jury verdicts from all these people that young men who now are adults who have been abused in the past.
And you know what, Rick, here’s the thing that no media outlet wants to talk about and will let me say. But they all, oh no, this is all in the past, it’s not now. We’ve cleaned the organization up. You know what? There is currently, when they made a decision, allow openly gay boys, that was the most dangerous decision in terms of youth protection. Because Rick, we would never camp a boy and a girl together and tent them together in the same situation, in any youth. situation. Why? Because boys and girls are attracted to each other. But yet their policy is, if you’re an openly gay boy, you don’t identify them, you don’t treat them any differently, you let them choose who they’re going to tent with. Well, guess who they’re going to tent with? Other boys who are openly gay. And you know, there’s going to be boy and boy sexual contact as a result of this decision. They turned a blind eye to it. They’re acting as if nothing’s going to happen. And it’s a huge gap in their child protection.
So right now, sexual abuse is going on every single day in the Boy Scouts of America with boy and boy, older boys on younger boys. And that’s exactly what their policy allows for and they do nothing to stop it. So, the problem is not in any way stopped. It’s now just re-shifted to another dynamic.
John, before I let you go, let’s shift to some positive news. And that is that there is now an organization and an outlet for young men and boys and fathers that want to be a part of the positive aspect of this and get their voice out in nature and get them enjoying and learning these leadership skills and that is Trail Life. It started with you and some other guys that came out of Boy Scouts to say, hey, we’re not going to be a part of this. We’re going to do this the right way and hold on to the good values. Give us a quick update on how Trail Life is doing and how folks can get involved there?
We’re so excited about trail life USA. We now have over 800 troops in all 50 states. And this is a Christ centered, church-owned and operated scouting movement. Many of the troops, we partner with the American Heritage Girls who has been around for a long time. On one night, for instance, on Tuesday nights, my wife and I go down to the local church and I go with my two sons in the Trail Life USA, my wife goes with our two girls into American Heritage Girls. So, it’s not, you know, three, four nights, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, all that. It’s one night, one church and it’s comprehensive.
And I’ve seen my own sons literally grow from boys to be men. And when they said, oh daddy, I don’t like this, I don’t like camping. But it causes character to be built. There’s leadership and adventure and character that’s being appropriated in our program. And I’ll tell you, I’ll go toe to toe with sports, with any other youth program you want to throw at us. We’re pound for pound, hour for hour, dollar for dollar, Trail Life USA will turn your son into a man and give him character and help them understand the beauty of God and creation more than any other program I’m convinced of it.
Traillifeusa.com is the website to learn more. John, it’s interesting the way you put that. I just did an interview with a farmer out of New Jersey that I read an article on the Hill about Bloomberg comments that anybody can be a farmer: just dig a hole, throw a seed in and add water it. And he was clearly pointing out the lunacy of that and the elitist attitude. And our conversation went, you know, took the turn to the whole work ethic that we don’t have in the culture anymore, because so few people live that kind of a life.
And then we were talking about, hey, if every kid had to go in the summer and work on a farm and learn those skills and work that hard, it would be so good for the country in terms of work ethic. But in many ways, that’s exactly what happens to them in Trail Life. They learn those kind of benefits of hard work and what you have to do in the outdoors to survive. And the camaraderie, I mean, all of those things are part of what makes a man and makes a good citizen, frankly.
That’s right. And there’s a certain magic, if I could use that term, a sanctified magic that happens when you tell the boy, put away the screens, put away the games. We’re now going to go together, we’re going to work together as a team. Somebody is got to lead, somebody is got to follow. It’s raw. It is literally turning boys into men by exposing them to the elements, the beauty of God’s creation of the campfire. I’ve heard boys say things to me, they would say no other context about who they are and what they’re struggling with in the context of just an open fire, sitting there and watching the beauty of God’s creation. And it’s just an amazing transformation.
And what we’re also seeing Rick is not just for the boys, this is just as much a men’s fellowship as is boys. Because those fathers get in those environments and they’re like, I have never spent that much time with my son, ever. And you see them begin to transform and then begin to strengthen their relationship with Christ. And the whole family is then fortified as dad is now leading and saying this transformation. So, our dirty little secret, it’s not just so much a boy’s program, it’s a dad’s program as well.
And endorsed big time by, you know, leading commentators like Eric Metaxas, the Kendrick Brothers, Jim Daly, Jim Dobson, Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee. I mean, this is the organization you want to get your boys involved in. John, it’s always a privilege to have you on, man. I’m looking forward to being with you this summer for Patriot Academy in Florida. For all our folks across the country, also go to patriotacademy.com. But if you’re in the southeast, come spend a week with John Steinberger and myself and the rest of the Patriot Academy team there at the Capitol. We’d love to have you be a part of it. You are a blessing, not just to Florida, but to the country. Brother, keep up the great work.
Thank you, Rick. I appreciate it man.
Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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We’re back here in WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Thanks to John Steinberger for joining us as well. Back now with Jonathan Ritchie and David Barton. And guys, yeah, I mean, I thought john had some great history on this and how he got to this point, because he was a long time involved in Boy Scouts. He saw the demise from the inside and that’s why I helped start Trail Life. But this goes back decades actually of making little decisions of covering up morality and hiding it because you’re so worried about what people think.
Well, I was really surprised, but I didn’t realize that this had been going for decades with all these lawsuits. It’s kind of like the scandal inside the Catholic Church that just almost took the church down and certainly has harm their reputation and it’s not reflective of all Catholic priests by any means, but it was a scandal to hurt them. But to see how many lawsuits have been going for so many decades, I was unaware of that. But once they got started, instead of taking a stand and standing up, they started lowering their moral standards lower and lower and they’ve not been slouching towards Gomorrah, they’ve been rushing towards Gomorrah.
And so the number of lawsuits they now have, you know, as john went through and talked about, even what that means having homosexual boys sleep together out on things you never allow that heterosexual, but you’re allowed to homosexual. If you think sexuality is a bad deal with young kids, then why are you allowed in between boys, but not with boy and girl? I mean it just the way they’ve lost their logic is amazing.
But you know, going to Trail Life USA, I really appreciate what he does. And here’s my little thing that I think is so important for everybody. If you haven’t been raised in the country, you know, as John said, it’s important to be in nature. So, if you’re a city kid, but you get into something like Trail Life USA, when you get to nature, several things happen. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, know that I’m God.” When you get to nature, you start seeing God in various visible ways, including through the laws of nature. So, people that have been raised their whole life in New York City, never got out of the city, they just think differently about things than people who have been outside.
And so being raised in the country or if you’re raised on a farm, there’s a lot of things you get, a lot of things about observation and meditation. Because you see a lot of things, you think about things. Your brain works differently. You start connecting the dots. You see a consequence and accountability. You know what? This chainsaw could rip off my legs. So, when I use a chainsaw, I’m going to be really careful. You do things that cause you to think about accountability and consequences and behavior. There’s a lot of common sense. You’re always having to figure out solutions to problems in the country. It’s not something you can call up a hotline and get help on. You know, you got to figure out how to do some things.
And so, the work ethic is there. It’s always been interesting to me this just an observation I made it as grown up in the country. But our day was from what we said was ‘can see to can’t see’. So, 14 hours is a real common day in the country. And…
Well, well, that’s a lot of time to do work.
It is a lot of time to do work. And you know, that’s where I memorize verses like proverbs 4:23 “All hard work is profitable.” So, you know, it was good stuff. It was good for me. So that’s a lot of work, 14-hour days. And I’ve noticed that people who try to avoid work like people who are really insistent on 8-hour days or 7 or 6, they have…
Easy now, easy now of what you’re about to say.
Oh, am I looking at you when I’m saying this?
Oh, I’m just, you know, Rick’s on air with us, so I don’t want to offend him or anything…
Oh, it’s got Rick. Got it. Got it. Okay, Rick, cover your ears to this. But I’ve noticed people that really are interested in less workdays, have more stress in their life. They’re more tied up. They’re more knotted up. They have less flexibility. They laugh less. There’s just a whole different thing that happens when you’re out in the country that’s very different from people who don’t have that.
Yeah, I mean, I did scouting a little bit, When I was a kid and then they asked me to do, like pushups and I said no, I’ll quit. That’s actually a true story.
Too much work for you, you know.
It was a little bit. I’ve matured since then. But I mean to have something like Trail Life come in…
When I’ve got to say, you’ve actually been out on the ranch with us working and actually enjoyed it.
You hit a blast.
It was awesome. You know, to be outside, there’s that really bright thing in the sky called like the sun or something, that was pretty cool. I wish I had learned about that. But to have a replacement Trail Life that will do a better job of maintaining those kind of moral foundations, I mean, that’s absolutely vital to have.
I think tomorrow, we have actually a farmer from New Jersey that’s going to be on the radio program with us and I’m really glad Jonathan is going to be in studio for this. We may have to send Jonathan up to John Rigolizzo farm to do a little work. Just a little preview for tomorrow’s program. We’ll see how that goes. Hey guys, we’re out of time for today.
Thanks everyone out there for listening today to WallBuilders Live. We hope that you are getting some good online materials from us to study during this time? You can get those at wallbuilders.com, a wealth of information. You can go to constitutioncoach.com to become one of our Constitution hosts for free right now. During the chaos, it’s a great opportunity while you’re at home to connect with other people, your friends and family across the nation. Through our Zoom classes, you be the one to host a class and give them some hope and let them learn about those constitutional freedoms that we need to be very on guard for right now. I hope you’ll check all that out at constitutioncoach.com and at wallbuilders.com. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.