FRUIT HEIGHTS — A pastor of a Presbyterian church and longtime supporter of the Boy Scouts of America has vacated his post in light the organization's recent decision to open its membership to all boys, regardless of sexual orientation.
Pastor Neal Humphrey announced his resignation May 31 from the executive board of the local Trapper Trails Council, the third-largest in the country, a week after the BSA changed its long-standing policy barring openly gay youths from participating in Scouting.
In his resignation, Humphrey asserted the Westminster Church's troop will continue as a chartered group, but will not comply with the new policy.
"We will not follow the BSA, Trapper Trails Council nor Mormons in endorsing what scripture and the church of Jesus Christ through the ages has defined as sin," the letter reads.
Humphrey further explained his intention to continue participating in Scouting with the Westminster troop "for the purpose of isolating and protecting our youth from the BSA's erroneous change in membership policy."
A longtime Scout, Humphrey was a recipient of the BSA's highest honor, the Silver Beaver award.
A statement issued by Allen Endicott, an executive with the Trapper Trails Council, said the council respects the deeply held religious beliefs of its members and that many people have found the decision to fit well with the major religions chartered with the BSA.
"This policy reaffirms that doing one's 'duty to God' is absolutely firm and one of the fundamental principles of Scouting and states that sexual conduct by any Scout, heterosexual or homosexual, is contrary to the virtues of scouting," Endicott said. "Further, it states that while no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of stating their sexual orientation alone, Scouting expects appropriate behavior from all members."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued a statement following the BSA's vote about the policy, saying the church has maintained a strong and positive relationship with Scouting for 100 years and will continue to do so, expressing confidence that the organization will effectively administer the approved policy.
"Sexual orientation has not previously been — and is not now — a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest," the statement reads.