Johns Creek, Ga. -- Another Metro Atlanta church may join Marietta's Roswell Street Baptist Church in cutting ties with the Boy Scouts of America. Last month the scouts voted to allow gay youths to join the organization. That prompted a backlash in more conservative congregations.
Luke Vancleave, scoutmaster of Troop 317, said they will meet this week to determine whether or not to leave the Boy Scouts behind. They are currently sponsored by Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church in America.
"While scouting is not beholden to a certain religion, it certainly has claimed for over a hundred years to adhere to a moral standard," Vancleave said. "And now if that moral standard shifts, we can no longer be a part of that."
Vancleave said they will look at alternatives to scouting. He wished they had left the issue alone.
"They are the ones that have dragged sexuality into the Boy Scouts," Vancleave said of the organization. "Therefore we can no longer have them as an option."
Former Eagle Scout Kenneth Hosley was once a prominent leader in Atlanta scouting. But when he came out as gay eight years ago, he was kicked out. His awards were revoked and his dues returned. He said it was heartbreaking.
"The boy scouts were a second family to me, some of my closest friends were in the boy scouts," Hosley said.
He said he made the move to put a human face on the issue, and has watched as events unfolded in the years since. He said last month's vote was a step in the right direction, but as long as gay leaders are still excluded, the fight isn't over. As for churches choosing to abandon the Boy Scouts, he said they were out of line with both the spirit and rules of scouting. All religions are supposed to be included, and not all religions believe homosexuality is immoral.
"It is entirely contrary to the interfaith policy we have in the Boy Scouts. To dictate your moral standard by your religion is to go over and against other religions that are in the Boy Scouts," Hosley said.
He said more churches would step forward to pick up the troops that are shut down.