Mooresville church ousts Boy Scouts, says allowing transgender boys embraces sin

Boy Scout Troop 169 of Mooresville
Boy Scout Troop 169 of Mooresville

A January decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow transgender boys into their ranks has cost one Mooresville troop its home base with a two-century-old church north of Charlotte.

Troop 169 has been told it is no longer welcome at Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Ditto for Cub Scout Pack 169. Both the troop and the pack are part of the Piedmont Council of Boy Scouts based in Gastonia.

Pastor Andrew Shoger of Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church sent the Observer a statement Wednesday explaining the decision and declining to make any further comment. The church is located about 28 miles north of Charlotte.

“For more than 10 years, Coddle Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church has hosted and chartered Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups. However, due to decisions by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) regarding matters of homosexuality and gender identity, the … church has determined that our church can no longer continue as partners … of BSA,” Shoger said in the statement.

“Quite simply, we cannot partner with an organization that embraces what God’s Word clearly labels as sin.”

Shoger said the church would fulfill its current charter agreement, allowing the troop time to find a new home elsewhere in the community. The church did not say how long the agreement would be extended, but the Mooresville Tribune quoted a cub scout official as saying they had until the end of the year to find a new home.

“We recognize that the ones affected most directly by this announcement are the boys, young men and leaders, who love scouting and had no role in the decisions made by the BSA,” said Shoger.

Representatives of Troop 169 and the Piedmont Council did not return calls and emails for comment.

Cubmaster Doug Balog told the Mooresville Tribune he was “frustrated” at the church’s decision to pull the charter of his Cub Scout Pack 169. Balog said the troop and pack were told on April 4 that their charter was being pulled, it was reported.

“The troop has been at the church for a decade, and I joined five years ago,” Balog told the Tribune. “We’ve never had any issues previously, and the pastor’s two sons are in the pack. He’s even said how happy and pleased they are to come, looking forward to the meeting each week.”

The Boy Scouts of America announced in late January that the organization would begin admitting transgender boys, drawing criticism from conservatives and faith groups opposed to equal rights for gay, lesbian or transgender people.

Among the biggest critics is the North Carolina Values Coalition, which has lobbied for churches to abandon their Boy Scout troops for “faith friendly alternatives,” such as Trail Life USA.

To date, no scout troops in Mecklenburg County have lost their homes due to the decision to admit transgender youth, said officials with the Mecklenburg County Council.

However, it has happened elsewhere in the state. Christian Daily reported in February that a mega church in Cumberland County has decided to sever ties with Boy Scout Troop 957 over the issue.

VIDEO: The News & Observer talks with transgender residents of the Triangle area of NC about their experiences and the impact of HB2 on their lives.