Boy Scouts revokes charter of Seattle church with gay troop leader

The Boy Scouts of America told the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church it could no longer host a troop because the troop's leader is gay, a violation of Boy Scouts policy.

The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter of a Seattle church because it allowed a gay adult to continue leading a troop.

A Boy Scouts of America attorney told Rainier Beach United Methodist Church last week that it could no longer hosts troops under the Boy Scouts name.

The church has stood by Geoff McGrath. His membership in the Scouts was revoked last month after Boy Scouts of America officials learned of his sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts voted last year to allow self-identified gay boys to become scouts, but the organization does not allow openly gay adults to serve as leaders.

The Rev. Monica Corsaro said in a statement that her church is inclusive of all people, and has obtained legal counsel to evaluate its options.

McGrath said Monday he will continue to participate in the church's youth program even if it can't use the Boy Scouts name.

As The Christian Science Monitor noted last year, religious groups sponsor nearly 70 percent of Boy Scout troops nationwide. But the reaction among these groups was as diverse as the congregations themselves when the Boy Scouts of America recently voted in May 2013  to allow openly gay boys to join.

Many members of Evangelical and Baptist groups say their affiliation with the BSA is over.

“We believe that the BSA policy change will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program, as Assemblies of God and many other churches can no longer support groups that are part of an organization allowing members who are openly homosexual,” the Pentecostal denomination stated, after nearly two-thirds of the 1,400 BSA voters affirmed the new policy on May 23.

While the National Catholic Committee on Scouting issued no immediate position, with plans to confer with bishops and diocesan scouting committees, it also stated: “Open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching.”

But the Mormon Church has staked out a more supportive position of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement in April 2013 that “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.’

Mormon churches and families nationwide play major role in sponsoring Scout groups. The church sponsors 25 percent of all local Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups, and accounts for 15 percent of the Boys Scouts’ total membership of 2.7 million, according to a report in The New York Times.

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