Lafayette-area church cuts ties with scouting over stance on gay members

DAYTON – The Boy Scouts of America changed its stance on welcoming gay members back in May. The decision is not sitting well with some churches.

Now, more than a dozen boys, ages 6 to 11 will have to meet somewhere else. Cub Scout Pack 3316 is getting kicked out of the church it calls home.

“It is disappointing that any charter partner would decide not to support a scouting organization, but we respect their decision,” said Scout Executive for Boy Scouts of America Sagamore Council Chris Mehaffey.

The group of 16 young boys used to meet at Dayton United Methodist Church near Lafayette. Since scouting opened itself to gay members in May, the church is crossing the organization off of its sponsorship list.

In a statement, the church says it’s not personal, it is biblical.

“The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. We love all people, but we do not endorse all lifestyles. We wish only grace and peace for those who disagree with us.”

Where one door closes, another is opened. The Methodist Church told the scouts to take a hike. On the same day, the town’s Presbyterian Church rolled out the welcome mat.

“Memorial Presbyterian Church has a long-standing tradition of supporting missions and ministries, and youth and children,” said Rev. Justin Schlesinger-Devlin. “Having an opportunity to do even more for that part of our community, it was really an easy and welcomed addition to what we already are doing.”

“Ultimately we are here to serve kids and that is what we are going to do,” said Mehaffey.

Scout Executive Chris Mehaffey said it is his job to find a place for scouts to call home. That job could get tougher, if more churches choose to cut ties.

“I think these first churches here are making the decisions that are best for them. Only time will tell if we have other churches that decide not to associate with the Boy Scouts,” said Mehaffey.

The BSA’s new stance does not take effect until January 1st, 2014.

Some churches are not waiting that long. Mehaffey said right now at least one more church is considering severing ties with scouting.

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