Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Boy Scouts & Jesus

...Extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:13)

By now most of you probably already know of the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to open their troops to openly gay persons for membership (though not for troop leadership).

In response, some Christian churches have taken the drastic and unfortunate step of ending the relationship with their own sponsored Scout troops, essentially kicking them out (this has happened at two large churches here in Marietta that have both sponsored Scout troops for many years!).

In my humble opinion, this kind of reaction is not only tragic, but inconsistent with the teachings and actions of Jesus.  While we don’t have to agree with the practice of homosexuality, the welcoming of openly gay persons in the institutions of our culture (like the Boy Scouts, and like our churches) is not a theological issue at all, but a hospitality issue.  Simply put: people have a right to hospitality and welcome regardless of whether or not we agree with their beliefs or stances on particular social issues.

We see this over and over in the actions of Jesus, who ate with sinners and kept company with those who were rejected by their society and culture.  He certainly didn’t always agree with the life practices of those with whom he ministered, but he nevertheless offered a place of welcome at his table (so to speak) through his actions.

So, with these thoughts in mind, I wanted you to know that not only does our church have no plans to change our sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop 435, but we’re also in conversation about sponsorship with another troop who was turned out of their church, as well.  And if you know of other troops who have been recently displaced, please have them get in touch either with me or Jim Perry and we’ll see if we can accommodate their needs.

Bottom line: hospitality is what Jesus would do!  United Methodist churches have supported Scouting for over 80 years, and are second only to Mormons in the number of congregations that sponsor Scout Troops. None of that will change.  We still proudly support Scouting as an investment in our youth!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

[NOTE: For a recent United Methodist News Service article on this subject (“Door Open to Southern Baptist Scout Groups”), CLICK HERE]


  1. Thank you Pastor Brian. I really appreciate your viewpoint!