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N.C. churches drop Boy Scout charters over policy to allow gay scouts

N.C. churches drop Boy Scout charters over policy to allow gay scouts

GASTONIA, N.C. — A handful of churches in North Carolina say they’re not renewing their charters with the Boy Scouts of America after the organization announced this year that it would no longer deny membership to openly gay boys.

The First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, N.C., announced last week it would not renew its longtime charter, reported The Gaston Gazette. Senior Pastor Matt Kuiken emailed a statement to The Gazette saying the decision was made “with deep sadness.”

“While we welcome all in the name of Christ to worship and enjoy the ministries of First ARP Church, and while Troop #4 of the BSA has been a wonderful part of our history and ministry, and a great blessing to all who have participated in its activities, this change in policy by the BSA has compelled us to take action,” according to a statement from Senior Pastor Matt Kuiken.

Piedmont Council CEO Connie Bowes, who oversees Boy Scout troops in 11 N.C. counties, said two additional churches in Cleveland County said this month they are severing ties with the organization. She declined to name the churches.

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Ben Privett, district commissioner for the Boy Scout’s Battleground District in Cleveland County, said one Boy Scout troop and a Cub Scout pack in Boiling Springs have turned in their charters and will no longer have troops. Another unit in Kings Mountain is considering turning in its charter but is waiting on a response from the church sponsor, he said.

In May, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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