Boy Scouts evicted from Aldan church for allowing gays

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Boy Scouts (from left) Casey Lee, Kendall Kinnard, Tyler Johnson and Daniel Haggard, held signs supporting gay rights before Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane spoke yesterday at the Constitution Center.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Boy Scouts (from left) Casey Lee, Kendall Kinnard, Tyler Johnson and Daniel Haggard, held signs supporting gay rights before Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane spoke yesterday at the Constitution Center.
Posted: October 17, 2013

ALDAN A Delaware County church is kicking out its Boy Scout troop after 93 years because the Boy Scouts of America now allows gay youth to be scouts.

"We try to have the authority being in the Scriptures rather than ourselves," said the Rev. Paul Thompson, pastor at Aldan Union Church. "We believe that among those sins is the sin of homosexuality."

Thompson said the 21 members of the nondenominational church's board of elders voted nearly unanimously to end the church's sponsorship of Aldan Pack 2 and Troop 2, the Cub Scout and Boy Scout units it chartered nearly a century ago.

Thompson said the elders, a group of men responsible for making spiritual decisions, were troubled not only by the fact that the Boy Scouts would now permit gay children and teenagers to join, but by the manner in which that decision was made - a poll of scout leaders nationwide.

"We had a problem with a decision, the decision-making process, and what future decisions would reflect," he said. "We're not homophobic. We just believe that we should follow the teachings of the Scriptures."

Thompson called cutting ties with the troop "sorrowful," "excruciating," and "a sacrifice" for the church.

The local American Legion post agreed to take in Pack 2 and Troop 2.

Gregory Daniels, the Cub scoutmaster for Pack 2, said that while the units were grateful for the new home, the move was inconvenient.

Parents who dropped their children off at the same place for simultaneous meetings of the Boy Scouts and the Explorer Girls, a Christian group, will need to arrange car pools so their daughters can go to the church while their sons go to the Legion hall. The scout troop will have too little room to store its camping gear at the Legion building.

The hall can accommodate only one group at a time, whereas the 30 Cub Scouts and 25 Boy Scouts were able to meet separately, using the church's gymnasium and classrooms, at the same time. The scouts may need to cut their 11/2-hour weekly meetings to an hour, or meet Thursday instead of Monday night, when some boys have conflicting sports practices and Daniels has a commitment to his daughter's extracurricular activity.

"If for any reason we have to do Thursday night, then I wouldn't be able to go on as the Cub master. And if there's no Cub master, then we would have to default on the charter as a pack," Daniels said, though he added that he did not expect that to come to pass.

Daniels said that most members of his pack do not belong to Aldan Union Church, and that the parents will come up with age-appropriate ways to explain the move to them. Daniels said he voted in favor of allowing not only gay scouts but gay scoutmasters as well. The inclusion policy for adult leaders did not pass nationally.

"I'm all for the integration and the nondiscrimination against the boys who are gay," Daniels said. "I don't fault the church for their views. That's their views. Unfortunately, their views no longer coincide with the Boy Scouts of America."


jzauzmer@phillynews.com

610-313-8207

@julieZauzmer

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