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Christian programs offer alternative to gay-friendly Boy Scouts

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By AP

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Updated: Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:15:54 EST

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Christians unsettled by the Boy Scouts of America accepting openly gay youths in the new year are being offered at least two alternatives.

The Royal Rangers program has served the Assemblies of God for more than 50 years and now boasts an estimated 125,000 members. Assemblies of God General Superintendent the Rev. George Wood says the "Christ-centered" mentoring program for boys is now being offered to other denominations as well.

Another Christian scouting alternative, Trail Life USA, is just getting started, with 425 troops pre-chartered.

Board chairman John Stemberger says he and other former Boy Scout leaders are concerned that the BSA's policy could lead to openly gay scouts abusing younger boys, even though the new policy prohibits "any sexual conduct" or gay advocacy.

So far, massive defections from the Boy Scouts haven't materialized and most major sponsors, including the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches, are maintaining ties.

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243-w-31-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with John Stemberger, chairman of the board, Trail Life USA)--Christians unsettled by the Boy Scouts of America accepting openly gay youths in the new year are being offered at least two alternatives. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *243 (01/01/14)££ 00:31

244-a-13-(The Rev. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, in AP interview)-"of different groups"-The Rev. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, says the Royal Rangers program offers an alternative to Boy Scouts. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *244 (01/01/14)££ 00:13 "of different groups"

245-a-08-(The Rev. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, in AP interview)-"involved in that"-The Rev. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, says the Royal Rangers offer many of the same activities as the Boy Scouts. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *245 (01/01/14)££ 00:08 "involved in that"

247-a-13-(John Stemberger, chairman of the board, Trail Life USA, in AP interview)-"of the boys"-John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, says the new group is a Christ-centered alternative to the Boy Scouts. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *247 (01/01/14)££ 00:13 "of the boys"

248-a-11-(John Stemberger, chairman of the board, Trail Life USA, in AP interview)-"who he is"-John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, says the new group was formed after the Boy Scouts decided to let openly gay boys become members. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *248 (01/01/14)££ 00:11 "who he is"

246-a-09-(John Stemberger, chairman of the board, Trail Life USA, in AP interview)-"development and leadership"-John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, says the new program has 425 troops pre-chartered. (1 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *246 (01/01/14)££ 00:09 "development and leadership"

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