Some churches have expressed outrage after an announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that it might lift its policy banning gays from the organization.
Leaders of Southern Baptist, which is among one of the largest sponsors of Scout units, said approval of the lift might encourage its churches to support other boys' organizations instead of the BSA. The decision could be announced as early as next Wednesday — the same week churches around the nation are planning to celebrate "Scout Sunday."
The Scouts conferred with some leaders of these religious groups prior to its announcement Monday, including the Rev. Frank Page, who leads the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
"They had been working for months on this proposal and just days before they informed us," Roger S. Oldham, a spokesman for the executive committee, said in an interview with National Public Radio. "We would anticipate that there would be a very significant backlash to this as churches re-evaluate whether scouting comports with their values."
Mr. Oldham charged that the Boy Scouts "apparently intended to hide this from the public until days after thousands of churches would have celebrated Scout Sunday."
The spokesman said that if the policy changed, SBC leaders were likely to issue a statement urging fellow organizations to pull support from the Scouts.
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