An Alabama pastor says that he is banning Boy Scouts from meeting at his church because they are supporting a "sinful lifestyle" by allowing gay members to join the organization.
First Baptist Church of Helena Pastor Greg Walker told WBRC that he was forced to decide that the scouts could no longer meet at his church after the Boy Scouts of America dropped its gay ban.
"It's hard on a personal level to say to a troop of young boys who have done nothing wrong and to the leaders, 'You're not welcome here,'" Walker explained. "I didn't make the decision, Boy Scouts of America did."
"It's an issue as a church pastor and Christian that I can't allow a group to openly support a sinful lifestyle under the umbrella of First Baptist Helena," he added.
In a written statement obtained by WBRC, the Greater Alabama Council of Boy Scouts said that it had anticipated this reaction from some members of the community.
"Early on in this process we decided to make a very strong commitment that if something like this did come up we would continue to support our units in finding and having somewhere to meet," the council noted.
Walker said that he would talk with the leaders of Troop 2 on Wednesday and give them time to find a new place to meet.
"I hate that this had to happen, I really do," the pastor opined.
Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page told ABC News that he had "warned" the Boy Scouts that there would be a mass exodus if they decided to drop the gay ban.
"I warned Scouting executives that this would happen, and they supposedly realized it would happen, but they thought they would gain more," he said. "I assured them that if your goal is to minister to the largest number of youth, those were their words, then changing this is going to be a detriment to your goal."
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Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins is defending the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gay members by saying the organization wanted to "make good citizens" by encouraging scouts to be "morally straight."
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