Word comes from White County of another Baptist church that will end its sponsorship of a Boy Scout group — in this case a Cub Scout pack — because of the new national Boy Scout policy that, effective Jan. 1, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The organization still prohibits homosexual scout leaders.
Some think the issue doesn’t have a great deal of relevance for Cub Scouts, given their young age and given that the Boy Scouts discourage sexual activity by its young, unmarried members — straight or gay.
But that’s not how many Baptist churches see it. Bro. Mike Huckabee has been out preaching repudiation of the Boy Scouts for fear that a gay youth might be welcomed rather than shunned at a sponsoring church. The Southern Baptist Convention has opposed the new Scout policy (another huge Scout sponsor, the Mormon church, has endorsed it) and Baptist Convention member churches are among those pushing for a new organization to replace Boy Scouts, but with a pronounced “Christian” flavor.
Members of Cub Pack 98 at the First Baptist Church in Searcy got the word this week from Cubmaster Eric Bond in a note that appears on the jump. He said he’d be leaving the Boy Scouts of America, too, to work in the new church-based group.
The church apparently still plans to allow the Blue and Gold banquet to be held as planned in January or February. Perhaps no gaydar has been activated by the current group of 10-year-olds.
Today’s sword drill — Mark 12: 28-34.
I just wanted to clear up some of the information that may be circulating about the future of Pack 98. I had hoped for a better method of delivery but this will have to suffice for now.
Some background: In May of this year, the BSA put before the national voting members a proposed change to the membership policy that would allow openly homosexual youth to participate in Scouting. The change was passed and will take effect in January of 2014.
As a result of this decision, our chartering organization, First Baptist Church, has decided not to renew the Pack 98 charter that ends January 31, 2014. All Scout units, such as Pack 98, are “owned” by the chartering organization and are considered an extension of that organization in many regards. Thankfully, they are honoring the existing agreement and not did not immediately terminate the charter as has happened elsewhere.
Pack 98 will need to find a new chartering organization before that time in order to maintain a smooth flow of operations. A charter agreement will need to be signed, assets transferred, etc. Thankfully, Craig Poole, our District Executive,and Jay Niederbrach, our District Commissioner, are very skilled at having conversations with potential chartering organizations. They just need some groundwork of quality candidates and contact information. Please let me know of any ideas and contact information and I will pass that along to them for follow-up.
Regardless, we will proceed under full steam on ensuring the boys have fun, learn and experience as much as we can give them and work towards rank advancements as always. The Blue and Gold Banquet, where we celebrate their achievements and advancement will either be in late January or possibly the typical February. Webelos crossing over into the Boy Scouts will be honored for their accomplishments throughout the prior four or five years at that time.
As for myself, I have made the decision to leave Scouting at that same time. Leading up to the membership policy vote earlier this year, a grass roots organization formed to help influence the vote to not make changes to the policy. After the policy was changed, this group decided to launch a program that promotes a strong faith-based and Christian development program for boys and young men. I will be joining that organization as a local chapter will be in place by then. It is not my intention to recruit or steal from Pack 98. As always, it is an individual or family decision for each of us and this is where I feel my heart is being led.
I received several affirmations tonight of existing and future leaders committed to serving and leading Cub Scout Pack 98. I do not see its future on shaky ground so long as a new chartering organization is secured, and there is time for that. I will assist in that process where I can. I would also like to see a new Cubmaster identified soon so I can work to ensure a smooth transition in that regard. Please send me names of people you think would make a good Cubmaster, including yourself. I have some ideas but would most welcome your input.
If I have caused more questions than I have answered, please feel free to call or email me directly. Again, I want this to be a great year for the boys. They are my ultimate concern. Especially at the Cub Scout level, if they aren’t having fun, we’ll lose the opportunity to serve, influence and guide them.