After a partnership of more than 50 years with its local Boy Scout troop, a Tennessee church has decided to break ties with the organization over changes to its policies regarding gay Scouts and Scout leaders.
North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tennessee released a statement to local news outlet WKRN explaining its decision:
Scouting policies regarding sexual purity no longer reflect our values -- values grounded in the work of Christ, in the Scriptures, and in nearly 2,000 years of church teaching. For this reason, North Boulevard has ended our sponsorship of Scouting troops. Our decision was a sad one, and was made after two years of discussions with local, state and national Scouting leaders.
The Boy Scouts of America decided in May 2013 to end a longstanding policy of prohibiting openly gay youths from participating in its activities. In July of this year, the organization lifted its ban on gay Scout leaders.
On Wednesday, North Boulevard Church of Christ asked the Boy Scout troop and related Cub Scout group, which held meetings at the church for years, to find a new home, according to the Daily News Journal.
Larry Brown, a Boy Scout executive, told Daily News Journal the church made its decision after "a great deal of thought and a great deal of discussion among their elders." He added that the church was giving the troop time to search for another location for the 75 youths and 25 adults to meet.
Joe Elliott, a local resident and ordained United Methodist minister, said Christians beliefs are being "eroded" by the growing acceptance of the LGBT community.
“I think political correctness a lot of time lead us to saying nothing or being afraid to say anything,” Elliott, who showed up at the church on Wednesday to show his support, told WKRN.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the nation's largest Scouting sponsor, also came close to breaking ties with the organization after it lifted the ban on gay Scout leaders. The church ultimately decided to maintain its sponsorship, but some Mormons criticized their leaders for even considering ending the partnership.
"It's like we take two steps forward, then three leaps backward. It’s emotional whiplash,” Wendy Montgomery, whose son is a Scout and openly gay, told The Huffington Post in July. “It’s making it increasingly difficult to feel like we’re wanted or accepted when members of my family are left out.”
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