The threatened pushback from groups opposed to the Boy Scouts of America decision to open its ranks to openly gay youth hasn’t materialized in the region yet.
“We have not lost a single charter organization,” Doug Nelson, CEO of the Miami Valley Council of the BSA, said this week. The council covers scouting in Darke, Miami, Montgomery, Shelby and Preble counties.
It was the same in the Tecumseh Council. “At this point, no organization has chosen to drop scouting,” said Jim Nolan, Scout executive for the council that covers Logan, Campaign, Greene, Clark and Clinton counties.
The Columbus Dispatch has reported that 10 churches have dropped their sponsorship of scout groups in the Simon Kenton Council that covers 17 counties in central and southern Ohio. Scout officials declined to identify the churches, but told the newspaper the moved affected about 250 of the 22,000 young people in the council.
In May, a national meeting of scout leaders voted to accept openly gay youths into the ranks of scouts. The group, however, left standing a ban on openly gay adults serving as scout leaders.
Of the more than 100,000 Scouting units in the U.S., 70 percent are chartered by religious institutions, both liberal and conservative. Some of the largest sponsors are relatively conservative denominations that have previously supported the broad ban — notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in April that it supports the new proposal, and the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has not opposed it.
Earlier this month at its annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution condemning the Boy Scouts of America’s decision. The resolution was not unanimous and left any decision up to individual congregations.
“There have been only minimal inquiries about the policy,” Nelson said.
“I thought there would be more concerns,” Nolan said. “But it’s been relatively quiet. There are a few who didn’t agree (with the decision) but it is all about the kids.”
“It’s very unfortunate that the political agendas of many have stepped into the Scouting world where we really want to focus on delivering a scouting program to young people and developing their lives for the better,” Nelson said at the time of the May vote.