Disenchanted Scouts turning in uniforms and badges, Leaders to meet with Faith leaders to form new organization


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Disenchanted Boy Scout leaders and others in the faith community will meet next month to form a new organization for boys.

Organizers say the program will be Christ-centered, non-denominational and provide a safe haven for those who want to leave the Scouts.


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 January 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.

“We know that thousands of churches across the country are considering this,” John Stemberger, founder of OnMyHonor.net, said.

Because churches sponsor 70 percent of Scout units, they are considered key to its future. But so far it’s not clear just how many will leave.


The largest faith-based sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says it will stay. Another large sponsor, the Catholic Church, is reserving judgment — for now.

But the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, is expected to recommend next month at the group’s annual meeting in Houston, that its churches pull out.

“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.”

In the meantime, they are beginning to slip away, one by one.

In Alabama, First Baptist Church of Helena‘s Pastor Greg walker says Troop 2 will no longer meet at his church.


“To be a member or to be an organization or a ministry of the church, you have to align with what the Bible actually aligns with,” he said.

Some eagle scouts like Bill Bright are also taking a stand, returning their badges in protest over the new policy.


“I don’t see that fitting in to the example that I knew and loved as a Boy Scout at all,” Bright said.


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 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.


He and many others worry the new policy will harm boys and generations to come.

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