Mint Hill church dumps scouts over gay youth policy

Published: Jun. 13, 2013 at 2:55 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2013 at 2:56 AM EDT
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MINT HILL, NC (WBTV) - A Baptist church in Mint Hill has dissolved its cub scout pack after the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay boys to join the organization.

Cub Scout Pack 146 has been at Arlington Baptist Church for six years now.

"Its been a great and strong organization" says Pastor Rick Whittier. "They've taught boys to be young men with strong values."

Last month the Church canceled its Scouts charter.

"We will no longer be a part of the Boy Scouts" says Pastor Whittier.

Pastor Whittier, who is the Youth Pastor and Cub Master, says after the Boys Scouts of America's National Council voted to change youth membership policy and allow openly gay youth to join the scouts, leaders of the Church and the Pack decided to discontinue the charter.

"We just don't see that lining up with core values of what we believe as a church" Pastor Whittier says. "Because of that strong deviation and direction scouting is going, we no longer feel we can participate or support the organization any longer."

Cub Scout Pack 146, which is named after biblical verse John 14:6, has about 30 cubs  - between 6 years old and 10 years old. The cubs are participating in their last scouting activities this week with cub scout day camp.

Pastor Whittier says he was hoping his pack would grow into a Boy Scout troop. Church leaders say they cannot in good conscience support the Boys Scouts and the decision to allow gay youth.

"The Boys Scout model is that the older boys will mentor the younger boys" says Pastor Whittier. "So potentially an openly homosexual young man is leading 11 and 12 year olds in the Boy Scout model."

The Mecklenburg County Council tells WBTV since the change in membership policy, they've had one chartered organization sever ties with the Boys Scouts.

In an email to WBTV, Scout Executive Mark Turner says "Scouting's youth member policy is not about the Boys Scouts condoning homosexuality, or forcing its chartered organizations to do the same."

Turner says "this change allows Scouting to be more compassionate in its response to a young person who expresses a same sex attraction, but is not engaging in sexual activity by no longer calling for their automatic removal from the program."

Turners says Scouting's policy prohibits any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age.

Pastor Whittier says now that Cub Scout Pack 146 is no more - it will be up to parents to decide whether they want their sons to join another Cub Scout Pack, or have the older boys - who are ready for Boy Scout troops - join a troop.

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