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Central Illinois churches react to new Boy Scouts policy

A month has gone by since the Boy Scouts of America National Council voted to begin accepting openly gay scouts, effective next year.  

Churches in Illinois that sponsor Boy Scout troops are divided on the issue. The Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod oversees more than 150 Lutheran congregations. Its president, the Reverend Mark Miller, says they’re continuing to sponsor the scouts. But Miller says they don’t want the Boy Scout policy to confuse people about their opposition to same-sex relationships.

 “I think there’s a real genuine concern in regards to should we coalesce with everybody else and say their rule change does not adversely affect our relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. What does that say in regards to the clear message we want to present.”

Miller says if the Boy Scouts starts accepting openly gay leaders, or restricts the church from voicing its opposition to homosexuality, his organization would likely distance itself from the scouts.
Meanwhile, Decatur’s First United Methodist Church houses Boy Scout meetings, and its pastor says that’s not going to change. Pastor Kent King-Nobles says they don’t discriminate against people based on sexual identity, and he doesn’t consider the new Boy Scout policy to be a big issue for his congregation.