Churches cut ties with Boy Scouts over gay member decision - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Churches cut ties with Boy Scouts over decision to admit gay members

Pastor Kyle Waddell Pastor Kyle Waddell
Tom Cardiff Tom Cardiff

Some Coastal Empire churches are severing ties with the Boy Scouts after the organization's leaders decided to let openly gay boys be scouts.

Tom Cardiff, scout executive with the Coastal Empire Chapter of Boy Scouts of America, says about 75 percent of local scout troops are chartered by and meet in churches. Those charters renew in January.

"I know of one unit that has basically disbanded because it was a charter organization," Cardiff said. "The other four five or six of them I know of, we're working with them right now to find another home."

Chevis Oaks Baptist Church is not renewing its Boy Scout Charter because of the decision over gay scouts. Pastor Kyle Waddell says he doesn't feel that the Boy Scouts of America gave him any choice.

"When they made the decision, when they voted, when they consciously, individually voted, they pretty much said we don't care what the church or what God has to say any longer," he said.

"When we lose a charter organization, we're losing a partner," he said. "I'm willing to go talk to any of them, let them know where we stand, and hopefully get them to stay on board.

Waddell said the decision crossed a Biblical red line for him.

"People are looking at the church in a way and saying, I can't believe that you are offended because this is a progressive movement," he said. But it is offensive to many people."

It's sparking some difficult conversations with young scouts.

"We've had a lot of kids who are asking, ‘You know, why do we have to leave a particular church that we're in and we've been there for a long time with a scouting unit?'" Cardiff said. "And it forces us to sit down and start talking about the decisions that were made nationally, and they're topics we feel like we don't necessarily need to be talking about."

Cardiff also says he's gotten letters from people who say they no longer will support the scouts financially because of the decision.

His biggest concern, though, is potential impact on scout recruitment. That starts when children go back to school in August.

"I think right now the perception of it out there, right or wrong, is that the boy scouts have opened the door and anybody can come in," he said. "And again, I know people on both sides of the issue, and I think you're going to have some parents who are going to hold their kids out from being a part of scouting."

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