May 2014 – Trail Life, the conservative Christian answer to the liberalization of Boy Scouts of America, has been making strides in numbers and visibility. (See AFA Journal 4/14.) In covering the growing movement, the Associated Press ran a photo showing a group of young boys gathered in a circle with their hands raised at an angle. The photo caption said the boys were reciting a creed. It didn’t take long for others to make the comparison to the Nazi salute. Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service tweeted, “New Trail Life scouting group excludes gay kids and they do a ‘Seig Heil!’ style salute.”
The photo ran in hundreds of newspapers and spread like wildfire across the Internet. John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trial Life USA, said, “It really misrepresented what was going on. These are children involved, and that is more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.”
Stemberger said the photo captured only the end of the boys’ gesture and had nothing to do with the Nazi salute.