Churches Reconsider Hosting Boy Scout Troops After Ban On Gay Members Is Lifted


The Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay members is causing some Wisconsin churches to reconsider letting troops use their buildings.

Boy Scout troops partner with local organizations through annual charters. The agreements give scouts a place to hold meetings and events while charter members get a say in who leads the troop. While charters can include civic organizations or even schools, 70 percent of them are with churches.

But some of these relationships have been strained since the Boy Scouts of America National Council voted to lift its policy banning gay youths from joining in May. In the Eau Claire area, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has made headlines for reconsidering its Boy Scouts charter. But Chippewa Valley Council Scout Executive Matt Hill says another Catholic Church in Eau Claire has already made a decision.

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“We’ve had one other unit, smaller unit that has indicated that they weren’t going to re-charter,” he says.

Hill wouldn’t say which church it was. Overall, he says, the relationships with churches remain positive.

“Our other 150 packs, troops and crews have indicated that they’re going to re-charter and continue on as usual with a great scouting program,” says Hill.

Scout Executive Paul Tikalsky of the Samoset Council says they’ve had to provide a lot of education to congregations and ministers. He says it’s important to remember that despite the policy change the scouting remains the same.

“The standards and values of scouting haven’t changed,” says Tikalsky. “Sexuality is not part of the Boy Scouts of America – never has been and is not now. So, we need to make sure that that clarification is there.”

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