Alabama pastors ban Boy Scouts from meeting at church

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Some Alabama pastors say Boy Scout troops will no longer be allowed to meet in their churches after the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay scout members.

First Baptist Church of Helena Pastor Greg Walker told WBRC-TV that as a pastor and a Christian, he can't allow a group "to openly support a sinful lifestyle under the umbrella of First Baptist Helena."

"It's hard on a personal level to say to a troop of young boys who have done nothing wrong and to the leaders, 'You're not welcome here,"' Walker said, adding he planned to meet with Troop 2's leader on Wednesday to discuss the changes and will give the troop time to find a new meeting place.

The Rev. Mike Shaw, of the First Baptist Church of Pelham and former president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, says his church will no longer sponsor Troop 404 after the policy takes place next year.

"We're not doing it out of hatred. The teachings of the scripture are very clear on this. We're doing it because it violates the clear teaching of scripture," Shaw told the Birmingham News.

The Rev. Harry Reeder II, of the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, said church elders will have to decide on whether Troop 254 will continue being allowed to meet at the church.

In a statement, the Greater Alabama Council of Boy Scouts said if churches prevent scouts from meeting as a result of the national decision, they will work with troops to find other sites.