John Stemberger is a fearful man.

John Stemberger
Der Stemberger

He subscribes to the theory that the way to keep his sons heterosexual is not to expose them to homosexuals. The gay is contagious you see.

The difference between the Boy Scouts of America and John Stemberger’s gay-free, Jewish free “Trail Life USA” is that the gay boys in Stemberger’s organization are going to be in the closet. Semberger and his compatriots are not thinking about the kids — they are thinking about themselves. The only reason that a boy will join Trail Life is likely to be his conservative Christian parents. 

A chaste gay boy is no less “straight” than a chaste straight
boy. The admission of gay Scouts has no effect whatsoever on the
inherent morality of the Scouts. Indeed, in a country where equality and
fair play are so prized, one could easily argue that the Scouts are a
more virtuous organization when not discriminating against a group of

Right wing lore has it that the Scouts “succumbed” to Godless, leftist, librul pressure. In point of fact, the matter was decided
by individuals via the ballot, a contest that Mr. Stemberger lost. For
all the hyperbole about the Scouts becoming a non-stop orgy of sorts,
the new organization is Stemberger’s vanity enterprise. He wants to
remain relevant at a time when every health and counseling organization
in the country supports the notion that sexual orientation is innate
and immutable. Stemberger needs to remain relevant at a time when
national marriage equality is inevitable and even professional athletes
are starting to come out of the closet. DOMA is mostly done and DADT is just a bad memory.

Stemberger, a lawyer, heads a small-time Christian advocacy organization in Florida. The Scouts have provided him with some notoriety through this process. He is seemingly trying to prevent his 15 minute shot clock from running out.

Stemberger’s new endeavor reminds me of some of the pedestrian efforts of white
supremacists to maintain the social order as Jim Crow was crumbling in their midst. It’s the same nonsense sung in a
different key. I am old enough to remember when many hotels in this
country were “restricted.” Restrictive covenants prohibited the sale of
homes in certain areas to Jews. We’ve come a long way since then.

Lawyers are notoriously terrible business people. I have often said – in the presence of counsel – that behind every good business deal is a lawyer trying to fuck it up. It remains to be seen if this new venture will get off the ground. Larger donors will want some assurances that they are not providing start-up funds to an enterprise that is going to die during gestation. That requires the intricate mesh of cash-flow analyses, variable expense realities and a flexible operating budget. I doubt that Stemberger possesses that sophistication. We’ll see.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.