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Kentucky churches sticking with scout troops

June 3rd, 2013 10:48 am by Staff Report

Kentucky churches sticking with scout troops

Former Cub Scouts den leader Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from Scouting because she is openly gay, wears a button on her uniform shirt. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The head of a group that oversees 64 counties in four states says only one organization has indicated it will won't continue chartering Boy Scout troops in the wake of a vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay members.

Lincoln Heritage Council CEO Barry Oxley told The Daily News (http://bit.ly/19BLBii) Southeast Christian Church's announcement last week about discontinuing scouting in 2014 is an outlier among the council's 64 counties in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee.

The Boy Scouts of America voted May 23 to allow openly gay boys to be troop members for the first time. Southeast Christian Church officials say the decision not to renew its charter was prompted by the Boys Scouts' decision and a desire not to get caught up in it. About 300 families participate in scouting at Southeast Christian.

Chartered organizations are responsible for providing meeting facilities and leadership for the scouting unit and for appointing a chartered organization representative to coordinate scouting operations within the organization.

The Boy Scouts say about 70 percent of all chartered scouting units are chartered by faith-based organizations.

The Lincoln Heritage Council has been working to find a new chartered organization for Pack and Troop 212. An interested organization has been identified, but the proposed partnership is only in the discussion phase.

In Warren County, 19 organizations work with Boy Scouts to support 28 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venturing Crews.

Boy Scout Troop 510 Scoutmaster B.J. Jordan said there haven't been problems with the troop's chartered organization, St. James United Methodist Church, since the BSA decision.

Troop 510 has 38 members who are 11 to 18 years old, he said. The Boy Scouts doesn't delve into teaching about sex or sexual orientation, Jordan said. The closest they come is a family life merit badge that scouts can earn from talking to their parents or guardians about issues such as sex, he said.

"It's a youth organization, and any sort of sexual conduct is contrary to the virtues of what we teach," Jordan said.

There probably have been and probably always will be members of the organization who are gay, he said. The wording of the measure the BSA approved simply allows openly gay members now.

"Personally, I don't have an issue with it," Jordan said.

The Rev. Chris Patterson, pastor of St. James, said his church will continue its charter with Troop 510.

"Our greater concern is the support of just any young man who wants to find himself involved in scouting," he said.

While the Bible teaches against homosexuality, Richardsville United Methodist Church Pastor Richard Garden said, he has no problem with his church continuing to charter its Boy Scout troop even after the Boy Scouts' decision.

"That's a decision that they have to face between them and the maker," Garden said.

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com


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