A Lancaster church is breaking ties with a Boy Scouts of America troop after the national organization voted to allow homosexuals to serve as leaders late last month.
The BSA national executive board voted to lift the nationwide ban while allowing church-sponsored units to continue excluding gay adults.
Parents for scouts in Troop 72, which was sponsored by the First ARP Church in Lancaster, received letters last week saying the church was no longer sponsoring the troop as of July 31.
“My boys were heartbroken,” said scout mom Allison Baucom.
The letter, from church member and longtime-scout leader “Buddy” Lever, said the decision was made “after much research.” The decision was made two days after the BSA announced the change to allow homosexual leaders.
A second letter from the church was sent to parents as well. It stated the reason for dissolving the partnership was the inclusion of homosexual leaders.
“There was a weak provision placed in this change that would allow Christian organizations to refuse homosexual leadership,” the letter stated.
The letter then outlines three reasons for deciding to split, including that homosexuality goes against the beliefs of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
“The teaching of the Bible is clear that it is a sin ... therefore we can not condone as morally straight what the Bible calls sin,” it read.
The church said that staying with the BSA would also leave them open to potential lawsuits attempting to force the inclusion of a homosexual leader.
“We have faced a hard choice and we are saddened by having to make this change,” church leaders said in the letter to parents. “The BSA has taken a path that we cannot follow.”
The church has decided to sponsor a Christian-based organization at the church called Trail Life USA.
Lever, who has been with the BSA for 48 years, will work with the church to transition boys to the new organization. The church has offered to pay the first year’s registration fees for any boy who wants to transition to the new group.
In the letter sent to parents, Lever said he has reached out to the two closest Boy Scout troops and they are willing to accept new members who want to transfer.
“The council has met with the leadership of the Pack and the Troop,” the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. “We’ve identified a new chartered organization for the units beginning next week and we expect no disruption of service to these Scouts.”