Gastonia churches drop Boy Scouts over gay policy - | WBTV Charlotte

Gastonia churches drop Boy Scouts over gay policy


A Gastonia church is choosing not to renew its charter with the Boy Scouts of America after the organization announced this year that it would no longer deny membership to gay people.

The First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia announced last week it would not renew its longtime charter.

"Earlier this year, the national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America ("BSA") adopted this policy: '…no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.' By this change in policy, the B.S.A. has endorsed and condoned behavior that God's Word clearly condemns as sinful," church leaders wrote in their September newsletter.

"Accordingly, it is with deep sadness that the Session of First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Gastonia has decided not to renew our charter with the Boy Scouts of America, effective January 1, 2014," the statement continued.

"While we welcome all in the name of Christ to worship and enjoy the ministries of First ARP Church and while Troop #4 of the BSA has been a wonderful part of our history and  ministry and a great blessing to all who have participated in its activities, this change in policy by the B.S.A. has compelled
us to take this action," church officials wrote.

Piedmont Council CEO Connie Bowes, who oversees Boy Scout troops in 11 counties, including Gaston and Cleveland, said two churches in Cleveland County said this month they are severing ties with the organization.

In May, the Boy Scouts of America's National Council voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gayboys to be accepted as Scouts.

First ARP Church says it will be considering the possibility of an alternative ministry to serve the church and community.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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