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Candler Park Gay Minister Says Boy Scouts' Gay Ban 'Very Discriminatory'

The minister said if the Boy Scouts uphold its ban on gays, "that's their loss."

CANDLER PARK — One Christian minister, a lesbian who leads a congregation here, said it's time for the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on gay members and leaders.

For the last 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America have banned gays from joining their ranks. On Feb. 6, the organization announced that it would delay until May its decision to either continue enforcing the ban or to admit gays, which has sparked both outrage and praise from parents and those involved with Scouts.

Apostle Mena Johnson, a gay minister whose congregation of God’s Chosen Ones Ministries meets in Candler Park, said the issue is still a moral one. She said a decision to keep the ban in place would be “very discriminatory.”

“To me, it shouldn’t be any type of segregation. This same issue they had in the military is the same in the Boy Scouts. Human beings are human beings,” she said.

“God created us in His image and His likeness. If they decide they don’t want gays in the Boy Scouts, that’s their loss,” Johnson told Patch.

However, many others who sponsor Boy Scouts and say they're Christian want the ban to remain.

While the Boy Scouts' national executive board deliberated changes to allow gays for three days at the organization's headquarters, hundreds supporters rallied outside with signs that read "Don't invite sin into the camp" and "Homosexuality is a sin! BSA please resist Satan's test. Uphold the ban."

Reports, such as this one from the Associated Press, show that about 70 percent of all Boy Scouts are sponsored by religious denominations, which could completely gut the organization if they decide not to renew their sponsorships. This post from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that Mormons sponsor the most Boy Scouts in the nation, followed by Methodists and then Catholics– all three groups have traditionally supported the ban on gays in the organization because it lines up with their religious doctrine that homosexuality is a sin.

Non-religious-affiliated donors have vocalized to the BSA that they will pull funding of the organization if the ban continues.

The Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts released the following statement:

"While the National Board continues its discussions, I promise that the Atlanta Area Council will continue to provide the best Scouting program to as many youth in Atlanta as possible. This is an important and complex national issue, but we cannot allow a policy debate to negatively impact the quality of the program we deliver to our Scouts. They are counting on us."

East Atlanta Patch readers also spoke out in support of allowing gays into the Scouts via East Atlanta Patch's Facebook page. Here's what they said:

Michelle Smith-Patch said, "Welcome to the 21st century?"

"Good start, but they also need to lift the ban on atheists. As long as they use tax dollars, then they should not be allowed to discriminate against anyone. They currently receive about $2 million annually from the DOD, plus free use of federal lands and public buildings," said Shannon Waldrop Lee.

Others said, "Finally." and "It's about time!"

However, others in and around Atlanta, like southwest Atlanta Scoutmaster Donald Wheat said he believes homosexuality is a sin and will leave the Scouts after 46 years as a leader if the ban is lifted.

Wheat said, that, for him, the issue is a matter of morals and standing up for his beliefs. He said that the admittance of gays into Boy Scouts would mean support of homosexuality, which he said is counter to his Christian faith and to the Scout’s Oath, which requires Scouts remain “morally straight.”

What do you think? Should the Boy Scouts of America lift its ban on gay members and leaders? Tell us in the comments below.

“Either you’re going to take a stand one way or the other. As much as I would hate to give it up, I’m going to stand if I stand by myself,” Wheat said.

Dylan February 14, 2013 at 04:31 AM
I am a part of a troop in Kentucky, a christian one that is. Personally I find it hard to swallow that scouts would drop all it's morals and all the things it has spoken out against, just to please people. The mark of a good leader is not to please everyone, but to lead them down the right path!
steve tenace February 14, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Apparently my tax dollars are worth just as much as yours Greenygirl Winkler vs Gates Every four years, the Boy Scouts of America holds a national Scout jamboree, where for ten days, approximately 30,000-40,000 Scouts camp out and participate in a wide variety of activities. At the time of the case, the US Department of Defense was the official host of the jamboree. From 1981 until 2010, the jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, a US Army base in Virginia. The US Government spent an average of $2 million a year towards hosting of the jamboree. In 2005, a U.S. District Court ruled that the DOD's spending on national Scout jamborees violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The decision was subsequently reversed by the US Court of Appeals on April 4, 2007 in Winkler vs Gates which ruled that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing as taxpayers to bring the suit in the first place. Therefore, the 2010 Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill and future support by DOD of Jamborees will continue as before.
steve tenace February 14, 2013 at 02:37 PM
A male child molester who molests a young boy is a homosexual. Not all gays are child molesters. However all child molesters who molest children of the same sex are homosexual. It is this type of homosexual that fathers of young boys in the scouts are rightfully concerned about - and want to keep them as far away from their sons as possible.
Alice Jonsson February 14, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I think we really need to get a great deal more information out to the public about how to actually protect children from people who prey upon them. That's very clear from this conversation. It's not something I worry about because I have accepted that sending my kid on extended camping trips with adults of any gender is, for our family, a risky thing to do so at this point in time we are always present. (Each family will decide their own boundaries, strategies.) The point many people have tried to make, again: people who want to abuse boys in this manner do not advertise their orientation, nor do they see a policy banning gays and avoid those institutions. In fact, I would argue quite passionately that they would be even MORE likely to chose an institution that bans gays. Why? Because parents in the group think that a ban actually keeps child predators out (which it clearly does not) and are willing to lie to themselves about it, which means there are easy targets present. Predators groom vulnerable kids for abuse. No one can groom children for this (God forbid) if we are consistently present. That doesn't mean hovering one inch from kids, but it does mean we are present at each meeting, outing etc. Some parents will not accept that this is necessary in other Packs. For people for whom this is impossible, single parents for example, the fact that many other parents are present also reduces the risk for them.
Kyle February 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Black people too. They should form their own scouts and leave us whities to our own kind. (sarcasm to make a point)

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