US: Church stops boy scouts using building because of pro-gay policy

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A San Diego church has stopped local boy scout groups from using the building for meetings, allegedly due the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to lift its ban on gay members.

The Ranch View Baptist Church, in Olivenhain, has decided not to renew to lease for Boy Scout Troop 2000 and Pack 774, which have been using the church building for meetings.

The Boy Scouts of America lifted it’s long-time ban on gay youth members in May, following widespread public criticism of the policy.

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?”

Other parents told 10 News that the troops have had a good relationship with the church in the past, with scouts even installing an audio system and building a gazebo for them.

Ranch View Baptist Church responded to the allegations by saying: “We have no further comment regarding Pack 774 and Troop 2000 other than to say we have valued their friendship/partnership over the past many years and wish them all the best as their charters with our church conclude at the close of this calendar year.”

LGBT activists have denounced the church for its decision.

National LGBT policy activist Sean Scala said: “Why would you want to set an example of Godliness or Christ-likeness by kicking out an entire group of kids when probably most them aren’t gay anyway?

“If any boy scout is getting kicked out of their church… because of this change… they’re more than welcome here at the Missiongathering Christian Church in North Park.”

Tyler Dylan-Hyde, of Scouts for Equality, also commented: “Most Americans, most well-minded people and most religious folks as well come to the conclusion that discriminating against a group of kids is wrong.”

The decision by the Boy Scouts of America allowed local scouting troops to decide on whether to permit gay members but left in place a policy which bans openly gay adult volunteers and staff.

In June, a TV host claimed the decision would mean “tearing up” the organisation “to accommodate a few kids who want to do sex with each other.”

Last week, a US columnist wrote that those who supported lifting the ban were the same people who “love the darkness of sin.”

Last weekend in Tennessee, over 1,200 disgruntled former scout leaders unveiled a new “Christian-based alternative” to the Boy Scouts of America.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the organisation’s decision however, and reaffirmed his belief that openly gay leaders should also be allowed to join.