Tell the whole story: churches ready to support abandoned Boy Scout Troops

When a church kicks out a Boy Scout troop because the organization will allow gay boys to join, there are many lining up to welcome the troop. That's the trend, but it's rarely the whole story.

Since the announcement that the Boy Scouts would be dropping their ban on gay Scouts on January 1, the media attention has turned to churches that will no longer sponsor Scouting troops. So far, no denomination has ordered its churches to disassociate from the Scouts. In fact, the denominations that support the most troops: Mormons, Catholics, and Methodists, have all stated that they will continue to support the Boy Scouts. Even the Southern Baptist Convention has not completely pulled away from the Scouts.

So instead, the media turns to rogue individual congregations. Perhaps they are connected to a denomination, in many cases they are not. But when a church says it will end its relationship to the Boy Scouts, the media is there to report the news.

Take, for example this story from Tampa, Florida:

The headline is "Church Won't Allow Boy Scout Meetings" and the focus is on how Calvary Chapel is kicking out the Boy Scouts. However, the reporter quickly adds that "other churches are offering their support." They even speak to another Christian church (one can assume, because of the cross on the wall). You can see a similar story taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This pattern is predictable. When mainline protestant denominations like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and The Episcopal Church changed their policy to be more inclusive of LGBT people, all the attention went to the breakaway congregations. However, those congregations turned out to not be so mighty in number, and the denomination ended up in a stronger position than before the policy change.

The tendency in media is to look for conflict over complexity. It's much easier (and probably gains more viewers) by presenting those who are angry and leaving. However, by focusing only on the negative, the media isn't telling the whole story, namely that there are churches, synagogues, and other faith communities who support LGBT people and are more open to working with a fully inclusive Boy Scouts.

There will always be churches that are so anti-gay that they cannot associate with a slightly more tolerant organization. However, the fact is that there are new churches and denominations that are more open to sponsoring troops than they were. And if the Boy Scouts drops its ban on gay adult leaders, there will be even more ready to support it.