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Church drops support for Pinellas Boy Scout troop after gay youths allowed nationally

6:32 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida- A local church will no longer support the Boy Scouts of America, according to a West Central Florida Scout Executive. 

"Calvary Chapel has been the partner for troop 375. The troop will continue to attend their meeting there until January 1, 2014," said West Central Florida's Scout Executive Bill Davis. 

In May the National Council for the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay youth members, but not openly gay adults. 

Scout Executive Davis said it will find the troop another sponsor. 

The Gulf Ridge Scout Executive George McGovern said out of 400 troops eight troop's church sponsors have expressed an interest in leaving.

"We will meet with each of those eight to understand why they want to leave, and if they do want to drop their support, I already have other churches that strongly support us who have volunteered to help those eight troops find a home to keep the program running," said McGovern. 

An openly gay pastor in Seminole Heights, Reverend Phyllis Hunt, said her church's doors are open to all the troops.

"We have many members here already who have children involved in the boy and girl scouts," said reverend Hunt. 

She said while she does not agree with those churches withdrawing their sponsorships with the churches, she understands why they are doing it.

"Churches need to do what is right for their church from their own understanding of theology, and their place in the world," said Hunt. 

But from a community perspective, she was crushed.

"It is very disheartening because churches receive a lot of privileges from the government, and the boys don't have to have an alignment with that church in order to have a place to develop in society." 

If a church decides to drop its membership, they also have the choice to keep their equipment that the troop used, according to Scout Executive Davis.  In that rare case, he said the troop would be responsible for raising its own money to purchase new equipment. 

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