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Cub Scouts cannot meet at St. Luke’s

Cub Scouts cannot meet at St. Luke’s

A Cub Scout group can no longer meet at St. Luke’s Church according to a story in the East Greenwich Patch:

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church told Cub Scout Pack 4 last week it can no longer use church facilities because of the Boy Scouts of America’s reaffirmation earlier this summer of its exclusion of gay men and boys.

Pack 4 had been meeting in the St. Luke’s church hall for three years.

“We came to a unanimous conclusion that the appropriate response was to say to the institution that we as a community of faith cannot allow them as an institution to operate here and have their meetings here given that they have as part of their institutional policy discrimination,” said Rector Tim Rich of St. Luke’s in an interview Thursday.

[The Rector] said he knows how difficult this issue can be for people.

“The rhetoric can get ugly. I mean, I get that people feel passionately about this issue,” Rich said. “I want to engage this issue in a way that is respectful. I’m not looking to make a big public stink about this. I want to do this constructively.”

To that end, Rich made a distinction between individual scouts and the BSA institution.

“I recognize how many kids are positively formed by their participation in the Scouts, are inspired to do good work by the Scouts. So I would support any individual youth who comes to me to do their God and Country badge, to do their Eagle Scout project or to do community service. I don’t want individual kids to feel like they’re turned away,” he said.

“So, I want to support the youth but I want to challenge the institution at the same time.


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Emma Pease

Packs are chartered not dens. The latter are subunits of packs much like patrols are subunits of troops.

It seems to be not uncommon for a chartering organization not to be fully aware of what is entailed (e.g., the legal liability mentioned above which is why the national PTA recommends against local PTAs/PTOs chartering). Or that as a chartering organization they have an official voice by appointing a representative (“at least 21 years old, subscribes to the Declaration of Religious Principle, and agrees to abide by the Scout Oath or Promise and the Scout Law. Possesses the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth”) in the local council’s decisions (a power that the scouts and scouters do not).

The Girl Scouts have a very different setup (including allowing Girl Scouts/Scouters 14 and older to vote on or serve as council delegates); sponsoring organizations (if there is one) have neither the liability nor the power.

Ann Fontaine

Here is the only resolution I could find up to 2009 and I don’t think there was anything done in 2012

Dave Paisley

Seems like this should have come up at general convention. A unified position from the top would be much better than piecemeal local incidents like this. Although kudos to the priest here – it’s crazy to keep supporting organizations that harbor beliefs fundamentally opposed to your own.

David Allen

As long as the LDS Church uses the BSA as the official program for young men in it wards & branches in the USA and the church sponsors 1000s of dens, packs and troops in the USA, this BSA policy against gay men and boys and atheist men and boys will never change.

It would seem that if the parish actually sponsored this pack of cub scouts, then the article would have stated so. However, as I understand the BSA organization, a pack is like a diocese, it isn’t the base unit, it is higher in the organizational structure and consists of cub dens from a larger area. I think that the parish donated space to the group and yes, may have even sponsored a den that was part of this pack. However, if these boys were not members of a national organization that by official policy discriminates against gay men and boys and atheist men and boys, then the kids wouldn’t be in this predicament of some of you feeling the kids are being punished. There are other organizations for young men that do not discriminate. They do have a choice.

Bro David

Bill Dilworth

Danny, given the BSA’s recent, deeply flawed process of reviewing their ban – carried out by secret committee, resulting in (surprise!) a reaffirmation of the ban – I doubt if they will get much of a message either by a stern letter from the vestry *or* the parish dropping its charter. It would take many, many troop sponsoring organizations to take some sort of unified action, and even then I’m sure that there are plenty of anti-gay organizations that would be happy to step in and take over from them.

I didn’t get the impression that the parish was doing this to send a message so much as to not be complicit in the BSA’s policy of exclusion.

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