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Ga. church cuts ties as Boy Scouts drop ban on gay youth

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., — Some U.S. religious leaders are cutting ties with the Boy Scouts of America, saying they will no longer permit local troops to meet at their churches in reaction to the group's decision to allow openly gay youth members.

The swift withdrawal of support by some conservative churches in states such as Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky comes after the May 23 vote by the group to end the century-old ban, effective Jan. 1.

Ernest Easley, senior pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, said his church will no longer sponsor the troop it has backed since 1945 due to the new policy.

"It is extremely sad," Easley said. "I'd never dreamed that I'd be standing in front of a group preaching on Sunday, encouraging parents to pull kids out of Boy Scouts of America."

The Boy Scouts has deep ties to churches all over the country, with about 70 percent of the group's more than 100,000 units chartered by faith-based organizations.

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, said they expect a resolution against the policy to be issued by attendees at the group's annual meeting in Houston next month.

"Baptists have stayed where they should and scouts have left us," said Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and a former scout. "We believe there is an objective right and an objective wrong."

Not all religious organizations reacted against the new policy. The Mormon Church, the largest sponsor of scouting troops nationwide, with about 430,000 youth members, expressed support for permitting gay scouts. The United Methodist Church, the second-largest sponsor, also plans to continue its role in scouting.

The Boy Scouts left its prohibition on openly gay adult leaders in place.

"We made a decision we would not discriminate against any children," said Wade Griffith, pastor at Liberty Crossings United Methodist Church near Birmingham, Alabama, which sponsors a troop with nearly 50 scouts.

"Any time the gospel is used to hurt the most vulnerable people, like children, or if they are used in a moral battle, it is wrong," Griffith said. "Whether they are gay or straight, the children are going to lose in this."

SEARCH FOR NEW SPONSORS

Boy Scouts of America cannot yet quantify the impact of the amended policy, said spokesman Deron Smith. He said the organization will work with troops to find new sponsors in cases where current supporters choose not to renew their charters.

The chairman of the national scouting committee for the Catholic Church, the third-largest sponsor of scouting troops, encouraged church members to avoid rushing to judgment.

"My hope is that we deal with the challenge in the spirit of Christian charity toward all," Edward Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, said in an open letter this week.

Some churches that backed the end of the ban may pick up charters dropped by critics of the policy, said Ross Murray, a spokesman for the gay rights group GLAAD.

"The denominations that sponsor the vast, vast majority of scouting groups are either neutral to positive on ending the ban on gay scouts," Murray said.

In addition to troops chartered by faith-based organizations, 22 percent of Boy Scout units are supported by civic organizations and nearly 8 percent are affiliated with educational organizations.

Comments

toby 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Signs of the times folks. Who opened the closet door?

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notblind 10 months, 2 weeks ago

How many gay boys are there that truly wish to be Boy Scouts ??? The number is probably infinitesimally small but just the chance that some person might feel ostracized is enough to make millions toe the line of PC.

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wow1 10 months, 2 weeks ago

notblind - you're an idiot. when will adults recognize that the "people" you are talking about here are innocent children!!! I guess I didn't realize that not bullying children into thinking less of themselves and having complexes for life was equated to simply being PC. Adults are the worst bullies. Get over yourself and let children be children. I hope you don't have any.

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notblind 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Yeah, 2 or 3 of them. OHHHH, the humanity of it all !!!!!! The most over-hyped victim class is the gay-lesbian segment of our population. By the amount of noise they generate you would think they constituted at least 1/2 the population of the country instead of the tiny percent that is reality.

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sst 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Any child that knows he's gay, is no longer innocent. He is wise in the ways of this world regardless of his age. He's not only figured out about sex, but has thought it thru well enough to know he not only doesn't want to have it with girls, but prefers the idea of having it with other boys. That's a pretty grown-up thought process.

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FordGalaxy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And it's also a thought process that is relatively new (and I use the term "new" loosely). When I was a child, in the mid-80s to early-90s, there was no discussion about gay or straight. That wasn't even brought up until I reached middle school. I never heard of anyone that I knew personally "coming out" until I was almost done with high school.


Call it prudish or sheltered if you want. I'd say I've had a pretty good life because of that childhood. It's only in the liberal mindset that teaching young kids about being gay or straight is okay. Thanks to liberal (or should I say progressive?) ideals, girls as young as 5 and 6 want to be sexy. It's the liberal mindset that finds it okay for girls at the age of 15 to get the morning after pill without parental consent.

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wow1 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What is wrong with you people??? It just makes me sick to read this drivel. Not all children who are gay actually KNOW that they are...usually they have confusing feelings and aren't fully aware of their orientation until much later. But sure, when young children are confused about their feelings, go ahead and tell them they are inherently bad people and not allowed to join the same club as their friends. I'm sure they'll grow up to be well adjusted adults who contribute to society.

How can we have a national campaign to reduce bullying in schools while adults continue to harm our young people through this incredible intolerance. As a parent I just ache for the children out there who have to grow up around such stupid adults.

Oh, and - NEWSFLASH - it's trashy parents who allow their little girls to be exposed to inappropriate media who cause them to want to look sexy - not some mystical liberal agenda. amazing.

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FordGalaxy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

wow1 - You obviously read a lot more into my post that what I actually wrote. Nowhere did I say that gay children should be told they are inherently bad. I apologize for relating a personal experience. I was unaware that my experience growing up made me a "stupid adult." I did not know that the lack of a prevalent gay community and outreach program in my childhood led to me "harm[ing] young people through incredible intolerance." Sorry that my school actually educated me instead of stressing social issues like relationships and sexuality. Stuff like that didn't seem important at the ages of 5 to 10.


Now, though, as "progressivism" gains more of a foothold in government and in the classroom, you get more issues like this. You have parents giving their male children gender-neutral names and then raising them as neither a boy nor a girl. In Colorado, you have a transgender first-grader. During my school days, there wasn't discussion about being "transgender" at 6 years old. But yeah, it's not liberalism allowing these things.


So schools can teach young children how to properly put on condoms, and the government can change the rules of obtaining the morning after pill, but the blame should not fall on these bastions of liberalism, but should instead fall on "trashy parents?"

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Sthrnldy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bless your heart wow1, please message me when scientists finally pinpoint that mystical gay gene.

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charlesg 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It's not gay genes, numbnuts. Learn more about prenatal development before you think you understand something.

educate thyself here

better article here too

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Sthrnldy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bless your heart charlesg, a link to Wikipedia along with an op-ed article from ONE Science geek website that was shuttered for 3 years due to credibility issues. Is that the best you got?

Regarding your reference to prenatal development, there is evidence that homosexuality is a genetic birth defect? You should have provided me a link with amniocentesis - prenatal screening data to back the shocking discovery.

Thanks for the lack of scientific data, numbnut!

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charlesg 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Follow the links., : http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668167

The QRoB is : "Submitted manuscripts typically are vetted by an Editor and an Associate Editor and are peer-reviewed by two or three referees."

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charlesg 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Most Scouts, myself included, joined the BSA from Cub Scouts at age 11, in a pre-pubescent time period. He's probably interested in camping, learning knots, and all of the other wonderful activities other Scouts hold.

You're basically saying that as they learn about who they find attractive, their 'innocent' mindset vanishes. So for the scout who joins at an 'innocent' time only to later be kicked out through no fault of his own is a false standard.

Why should that Scout voluntarily quit if he's upholding the Scout Oath and Law?

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Sthrnldy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bless Your Heart, yet again. I will gladly pick apart where a gay scout is not upholding the Oath:

On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

3 strikes, and you are OUT!

Buh, bye charlesg :)

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charlesg 10 months, 2 weeks ago

You're not honestly suggesting gay scouts don't uphold a duty to God, are you?

You're not honestly suggesting being attracted to the same sex has anything to do with morality, are you?

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kevin 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Not a single Catholic Church is in this bad decision. The media should highlight that point. They accept all persons who want to go to their church.

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FordGalaxy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Kevin - I'm not so sure I would be bragging about what the Catholic Church "accepts." Awful lot of scandals and ill-intentioned priests running around. Even when the Pope does good and humble things, the Vatican retracts his statements. (Note, I'm not saying other organized denominations have better track records....just saying that hubris is not becoming of any religious supporter.)

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NewsReader 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh please! As far as I am concerned, the Boy Scouts of America should have been totally dismantled when it was determined that some 1,400 or so allegations of inappropriate sexual misconduct were systematically swept under the carpet and hidden from public view and not prosecuted. Spare me the innocent children argument where the Boy Scouts are concerned. Allowing your child to participate in this organization is tantamount to child abuse as far as I am concerned. And I agree, if a child has the wherewithal to make the distinction as to whether they are straight or gay, then there is nothing innocent about it.

And wow1, we certainly don't have to ask what is wrong with you. It is readily apparent!

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