News (USA)

Boy Scout councils weigh options as fallout continues over repeal of gay ban

Boy Scout councils weigh options as fallout continues over repeal of gay ban

DALLAS — Fallout continues after the Boy Scouts of America voted last week to open its ranks to openly gay youth.

In Idaho, Sheriff Ben Wolfinger of Kootenai County, said that he feels mandated to drop his department’s sponsorship of a Boy Scouts of America charter because the organization is promoting a lifestyle that is against state law.

“It would be inappropriate for the sheriff’s office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law,” Wolfinger said, stressing that sodomy is against the law in Idaho.

Tim McCandless, the senior ranking member and Director of the Inland Northwest BSA Council, encouraged Wolfinger “to read the resolution that was passed,” but added, “Sodomy is not allowed in scouting and is not an issue in this discussion.”

In Louisville, Ky., a local church wants nothing to do with BSA troops that accept gay kids.

Boy Scout Troop 212 and Cub Scout Pack 212, from Louisville are looking for a new home. Southeast Christian Church, the megachurch that held the troops’ charter, is breaking ties with the youth organization following the Scouts’ national council vote last week to accept gay members.

Executive pastor Tim Hester said the new policy on gay members was the “catalyst” for, though not the only factor in, the church’s decision. The troops, in which 300 families participate, have until the end of the year to find a new sponsor.

“We cannot be distracted from the mission God has called us to,” Hester said. “We want everyone, including ourselves, to live by biblical standards.”

At its National Council’s annual meeting in suburban Dallas last week, the Boy Scouts of America adopted a resolution “to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone.”

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The policy change will take effect January 1.

And while the National Council said the ban on openly gay adult leaders is still in effect, Wolfinger points to media reports that indicate that the Boy Scouts will eventually lift that ban as well.

“It’s in USA Today, this just opens the door to having openly gay scout leaders,” he added.

The Boy Scouts’ chief executive, Wayne Brock, has pleaded for the Scouting community to reunite after the divisive debate that led to last Thursday’s vote. However, Brock’s plea failed to sway some conservative religious leaders whose denominations sponsor many Scout units and who consider same-sex relationships immoral.

“Frankly, I can’t imagine a Southern Baptist pastor who would continue to allow his church to sponsor a Boy Scout troop under these new rules,” Richard Land, a senior Southern Baptist Conference official, told the SBC’s news agency, Baptist Press.

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