When the Boy Scouts of America changed its policies last month to allow gay students, there were dire warnings by opponents of the move of a mass exodus of troops sponsored by religious groups such as the Catholic Church, Mormons, and evangelicals. Has that happened?
The Catholic Church issued a statement telling Catholic scout leaders and troop sponsors that the new policy of welcoming gay Scouts “is not in conflict with Catholic teaching” and that they should continue to support scouting programs.
The Mormon church issued a statement supporting the new policy, saying that as long as the commitment to god remained (i.e., atheists are kept out) they are ok with gays being members.
One of the largest evangelical denominations (Southern Baptists) had their annual convention last week and decided that they would not adopt a formal policy of boycotting the scouts, though they still opposed the new policy.
Of course, individual troops may choose to withdraw from scouting and set up their own systems and some have chosen to do so and more undoubtedly will. But there has not been a mass exodus and it seems likely that there will be. Once the heat of the moment cools, it will become even less likely that these religious groups will break ties.
For anti-gay groups, he decision by big religious institutions to not withdraw en masse from the scout movement must be a disappointment.