Video: Local Reaction Split on Lifting Boy Scout Ban on Gays

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The Boy Scouts of America recently announced they are considering having their controversial policy removed, which currently bans gays as leaders and youth members. It’s a possible move that doesn’t sit well with Canaan Baptist Church Pastor Danny Avery.

“I think that by lifting the ban, it would harm them,” says Avery.

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Pastor Avery believes the Boy Scouts are deeply rooted in not only Christian sponsorship, but Christian values.

“I’m a former Boy Scout myself. I was a member of Troop 3 here in Columbus years and years ago. So I have a history with Boy Scouts. You fought this battle for 30 years, you lost a lot of sponsors. I know you’ve taken a lot of flack, but I just think that you’re compromising the bedrock value of scouting to make this change. I know as a parent myself and as a grandfather, my biggest concern would be that my children or grandchildren would be exposed to things that would tarnish and take away their innocence,” says Pastor Avery.

Several residents in the Golden Triangle area voiced their opinion about the possibility of lifting the ban on the Boy Scout’s gay membership policy. Columbus resident Betty Glenn says doing so, would be an abomination.

“If it was me, I would not let my boys be in Boy Scouts. I wouldn’t want them being in there with the gays. I don’t believe in it and I wouldn’t want my kids mixed with it,” says Glenn.

Others were open to the idea. Columbus resident Robin Beyeler of Columbus doesn’t see a problem with it.

“I guess I’m okay with it. As long as they’re doing what’s right,” says Beyeler.

Columbus resident Christine Vogel says you should not discriminate against someone based on their sexual preference.

“A good person is a good person regardless of their sexual orientation and when you’re dealing with youth, why is your sexual orientation even brought up? I wouldn’t want them talking about it even if they were heterosexual so what’s the matter!? I don’t even understand the problem,” says Vogel.

West Point resident David Box agrees.

“If he’s qualified to be a scout leader, I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that,” says Box.

Jeremy Whitmore, Scout Executive of the Pushmataha Area Council released this statement:

“This is an internal national policy discussion, and no decision has been made. I can say that local councils agree to support the decisions made by the volunteer national executive board. Our united focus is on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.”

Pastor Avery says he has nothing against homosexuals, but still stands by his belief.

“I know this this a controversial stand and I do expect to get some messages back because of it, but, if you don’t stand for what you believe in, your spirit is dead,” says Pastor Avery.

Nearly 70 percent of scouting units across the country are chartered by religious organizations.

The United Methodist Church is the second largest sponsor of Scout units and supports the change, saying that it opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Southern Baptist Convention supports the ban.