Churches Remain Divided On Support For Boy Scouts
By Sean Powers
It has been a month since the Boy Scouts of America National Council voted to allow openly gay members into its organization. That policy change takes effect next year.
In response, some churches have severed ties with the scouts. Religious institutions remain divided on the issue.
The Rev. Mark Miller heads the Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which oversees 156 congregations in Central Illinois. While there are no immediate plans to severe ties with the boy scouts, Miller said his organization is re-assessing its support.
“If in the future, they determine that troops have to allow gay leadership,” Miller said. “For present if they say churches cannot publically their position to homosexuality, we’d be looking for alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America.”
Miller said he does not want the Boy Scout policy to confuse people about his group’s opposition to same-sex relationships.
Pastor Kent King-Nobles of Decatur’s First United Methodist Church said his congregation houses Boy Scout meetings and lets a troop lead a church service once a year, all of which he said will not change.
“We do not discriminate against persons based on their sexual identity, and my understanding is that it’s really not a big issue for us,” King-Nobles said.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the head of Rockford’s Catholic diocese said parishes in that region could keep sponsoring Boy Scout troops.