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As Boy Scouts' vote on gay members nears, faith groups weigh in

Faith groups — including some from Oklahoma — are among the numerous organizations weighing in on the Boy Scouts of America's coming vote on a proposal that would allow gay youths to become members.
by Carla Hinton Published: May 18, 2013
/articleid/3818517/1/pictures/2070720">Photo - The Rev. Matt Perkins, pastor of Cathedral of Hope, UCC. Photo provided <strong></strong>
The Rev. Matt Perkins, pastor of Cathedral of Hope, UCC. Photo provided

By contrast, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out in favor of the proposed policy change, posting a message of support on its website in April.

“While the church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change, we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today,” the statement said. “We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, representing the country's Roman Catholics, has remained mum on the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, also declined to comment on the vote.

“Obviously, we have positions on specific moral matters, but as far as the vote goes, that's up to the Boy Scouts,” said Tina Dzurisin, the archdiocese's communications director.

Meanwhile, Cathedral of Hope pastor Perkins said his congregation meets weekly at Mayflower Congregational Church, 3901 NW 63.

He said the church, affiliated with the United Church of Christ denomination, is an open and affirming congregation with an emphasis on ministry to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Rev. Kathy McCallie, senior pastor of Church of the Open Arms UCC, 3131 N Pennsylvania, said her congregation also is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and also is an open and affirming ministry.

Both clergy leaders said the best outcome would be the Boy Scouts National Council's approval of the proposal.

Perkins said he is aware that gay advocacy groups feel the proposal does not go far enough toward acceptance of gays.

“They kind of split hairs with this proposal. My attitude on it is, ‘take what you can get,'” he said.

McCallie said she thinks the Scouting organization will eventually lift its ban on openly gay adult leaders.

“I'm confident that it won't be too many years that the ban on gay leaders will happen,” she said.

“I understand it's a conservative institution, and it takes a long time to have social change at those levels.”

Perkins said the move to allow gay Scouts to join troops likely will mean some conservative organizations and church denominations and perhaps even more moderate denominations may pull their support from the organization.

He said that could mean trouble as far as funding for the youth-focused organization.

“I think the Boy Scouts might be in a hard spot with this,” he said.


Associated Press

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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