The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

February 7, 2013

Boy Scouts delay decision on policy excluding gays

(Continued)

In comments to the Baptist Press, the denomination's official news agency, SBC President Fred Luter suggested that "prayers of the righteous" played a role in the BSA decision.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting said it would join in the BSA's consultations over the coming months. Whatever the outcome, the committee said, "Catholic chartered units will continue to provide leaders who promote and live Catholic values."

Michael Purdy, a spokesman at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Utah, said the BSA "acted wisely in delaying its decision until all voices can be heard on this important moral issue."

The extra time will give local Scout leaders in Utah and elsewhere time to determine how their members feel about the proposal, said Kay Godfrey, a spokesman for Boy Scouts in the Great Salt Lake Council. The heavily Mormon council is one of the largest in the country, with 5,500 troops and 73,400 youth members.

"It's so important and so historic in nature that serious deliberation over time, involving a broad spectrum of folks, is needed," Godfrey said.

Outside BSA headquarters, hundreds of supporters of the ban held a rally and prayer vigil Wednesday, carrying signs that read, "Don't invite sin into the camp" and "Homosexuality is a sin! BSA please resist Satan's test. Uphold the ban."

Scoutmaster Darrel Russell of Weatherford, west of Fort Worth, took his wife and five of their seven children to the rally. Russell said having gays in the scouting movement would be like mixing boys and girls.

"The whole idea is to protect our boys at all costs," Russell said, warning that if the ban is lifted, "we're shutting down our troop."

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