Several churches in Charlotte, North Carolina have opted to cut ties with their sponsored boy scout groups following a decision earlier this year by Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on gay members.
Now following this decision, the Charlotte Observer reports that several churches – including one of the largest, the Calvary Church – have dropped their sponsorship of over 100 boy scouts, leaving the Boy Scouts of America struggling to find an alternative source of funding.
The non-denominational Calvary Church had chartered Boy Scout Troop Troop 7 and Cub Scout Pack 7 for 20 years before their recent decision.
Reverend Jim Pile, pastor of family ministries, in an email to the Charlotte Observer wrote: “The ministries of Calvary Church are aligned with our purpose of making authentic followers of Jesus Christ. This is not the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.”
George Tucker, a scout leader who has been involved with Boy Scout Troop 7 for the past 13 years, said the church sent troop leaders a brief email claiming it would end its relationship with the Boy Scouts.
“Nobody will publicly admit the specifics,” said Mr Tucker, adding he believes the decision was based on the new membership policy.
He said he understands the church’s decision, but troop leaders now are struggling to find a new sponsor..
He added: “Of course it’s disappointing that the leaders at Calvary have decided to stop supporting the programs of the Boy Scouts of America.”
Mark Turner, scout director for the Mecklenburg County Council, said two other Charlotte churches have also recently opted to drop their Boy Scout programs as well.
These churches are Grace Covenant and Arlington Baptist in Mint Hill.
Mr Tucker said this is the first time he can recall multiple churches dropping sponsorship of scout troops at the same time.
“I believe it’s related back to our membership policy,” he added.
In an email to San Diego’s 10 News, a concerned troop parent said: “Since that resolution passed, the Baptist church has decided to kick the boy scouts out of the building, leaving them no place to have meetings. What kind of message does that send?”
In June, the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), adopted a resolution to disapprove of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) recent decision to allow gay youth members, but did not cut its ties.