Boy Scout Backlash: What Have Observers Seen?

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June 9, 2013; Kansas City Star

After the vote allowing openly gay young people to become scouts, many are trying to determine what the fallout will be. This may not show up conclusively for some time. Many are watching, in particular, the decisions being made by the religious institutions that sponsor approximately 70% of all Boy Scout troops. The response seems to vary wildly.

In Overland Park, Kansas, Jonas Hayes, pastor at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, said he and his congregation are currently deciding the future of their role as a sponsor for a troop. In this case, the church leaders are happy to see openly gay scouts included, but they do not feel the age cutoff makes sense. “I see a disconnect between the concept that it’s OK to be a gay or lesbian youth, but when you turn 18…you’re denied leadership responsibilities.”

But in Indiana, the Grace Assembly of God Church in Whiteland has decided that it will no longer support Cub Scout Pack 617. “As a ‘faith-based’ organization and a Pack that leads from a Christian platform, we cannot support this decision,” reads a statement on the church’s website. Assemblies of God churches sponsor nearly 2,300 Scouts nationwide, and Superintendent Dr. George Wood has announced they will sever ties with the BSA.

The Southern Baptist Convention will make a decision about their participation with BSA this week and many expect them to cut ties as well, affecting up to 100,000 boys, but the Association of Baptists for Scouting has recommended that Baptist churches to continue their involvement with Boy Scout troops.

Many expect the exodus to continue through the end of the year. What are you seeing in your community? Help us track this. —Ruth McCambridge

  • Deb

    It seems like it would have been better that if someone wants to be in the scouts and they are gay, to not say anything or if your are a scout leader don’t say anything. How the heck would anybody actually know if you are for sure gay or not? Do they have to take a test of some kind now? These religious organizations that are not supporting this vote probably have people in their congregation that are gay and they don’t even know it. This sort of segregation of gays and non gays is no different than when we used say that blacks couldn’t ride the bus etc. It shouldn’t even be an issue. So the next step is????…..application into the scouts does one have to report they are gay or will they make them also report if they are straight? And what about that absolutely fantastic leader you’ve had for many years who is quietly gay and you didn’t know it, he is required to leave?? Because you fear he might molest or influence the young boys into …what??? What about the brand new leader who is straight and supposedly has a squeakily clean record and then decides he needs to molest? Really people lets get real here, being gay or straight is not the issue at all, the issue is the straight male’s fear of being turned into a homosexual just by standing next to one. Doesn’t work that way, because if it did you’d all be gay right now. Think about it.