Churches split on Scouts’ welcoming of gay youth

Boy Scouts from right, Joey Kalich, 10, Steven Grime, 7, and Jonathon Grime, 9, raise their hands at the close of a news conference held by people against the change in the Boy Scouts of America gay policy Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. Delegates to the Boys Scouts of America meeting nearby are expected to address a proposal on Thursday to allow gay scouts into the organization. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Boy Scouts from right, Joey Kalich, 10, Steven Grime, 7, and Jonathon Grime, 9, raise their hands at the close of a news conference held by people against the change in the Boy Scouts of America gay policy Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Grapevine, Texas. Delegates to the Boys Scouts of America meeting nearby are expected to address a proposal on Thursday to allow gay scouts into the organization. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

In suburban Atlanta, northern Idaho and a number of other places, churches have moved swiftly to sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America in protest over the vote last month to let openly gay boys participate in Scouting.

To date, it’s far from the mass defection that some conservatives had predicted before the May 23 vote by the BSA’s National Council. But the exodus could soon swell, depending on the outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting next week in Houston.

Baptist leaders say the agenda is likely to include a resolution encouraging affiliated churches to phase out sponsorships of Scout units.

The Baptists already have a youth program for boys, the Royal Ambassadors, and church leaders have suggested it could expand to accommodate boys leaving the Scouts.

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