- (Photo: Boy Scouts of America)
A church in Delaware that has sponsored a Boy Scouts Troop for the past 40 years has decided to cut its ties with the BSA over its policy banning openly gay members and leaders.
While Silverside Church of Wilmington and Troop 70, known as the "Peacemakers," have parted ways the troop will continue to meet at Silverside's facility until it locates another sponsor.
In an interview with USA Today, Silverside lay church council leader Bruce Smith explained that the troop's views were incompatible with their congregation's message.
"I'm sure there are many organizations that would be a good match for them. They've been a wonderful troop," said Smith. "But at the same time, we have what our church stands for … When you're a sponsor, somebody is saying, 'We agree with the other's belief system and values,' and that isn't the case anymore."
According to Silverside's website, the church is affiliated with "the Center for Progressive Christianity and supports the Charter for Compassion."
"We encourage our members to claim their own theological perspectives. We are a community that celebrates diversity," reads their site. "Any seeker is warmly embraced, regardless of ethnicity or cultural background, sexual orientation, economic situation, or previous religious experience, including no religious background at all."
For years, the Boy Scouts of America has come under scrutiny mostly from left-leaning organizations for such things as mentioning God in its oath and not allowing openly gay leaders and members.
Regarding the latter controversy, a special committee was formed in 2010 to investigate the possibility of changing the policy. In July, after two years of consideration, the committee opted to keep the ban.
"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting," said the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board in a statement.
"While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA."
Boy Scouts of America boasts of being one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations.
Last year, over 2.7 million youth members and 1 million volunteers performed service projects that included litter cleanup, food collection and distribution, and conservation projects.
Neither Silverside Church of Wilmington nor Boy Scout Troop 70 returned a request for comment to The Christian Post by press time.