An evangelical Christian church here with more than 30,000 members will break ties with the Boy Scouts of America because it believes the youth organization has become too polarizing, its executive pastor said.
The Boy Scouts’ national council voted last week to allow openly gay youth but maintained its ban on gay leaders.
Tim Hester, executive pastor of Southeast Christian Church, said the youth organization’s consideration of that issue started the discussion that eventually led to the church’s board of elders deciding against renewing the church’s charter with Troop 212, but it wasn’t the deciding issue.
The charter was going to be broken regardless of the Boy Scout vote, he said.
“Truly for us it’s a logical decision,” he said. “We cannot be distracted from the mission God has called us to.”
The Scouts have until the end of the year to relocate.
Barry Oxley, chief executive of the Boy Scouts’ Lincoln Heritage Council, said Southeast Christian had notified the council earlier this year that scouting would not be offered on its campus in 2014.
He said the Boy Scouts are working to identify a new organization to charter Troop 212 and its affiliated Cub Scout pack. He said about 300 families participate in scouting in the two groups at Southeast Christian.