www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-scouts-letter-20130528,0,1500514.story

baltimoresun.com

Church welcomes scouting decision

12:00 PM EDT, May 28, 2013

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The Boy Scouts of America has lifted its ban on gay boys being full participants in their programs ("Scouts lift ban on gay youths," May 24). Much of the news has centered in the backlash from "faith-based organizations" which sponsor Boy Scout troops. Churches, in particular, are named as those opposing this change and withdrawing their sponsorship.

The Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore is proud to sponsor Troop 35, a historical and successful program of the Boy Scouts of America with an impressive record of Eagle Scouts. I applaud the Boy Scouts of America for their recent decision, and I look forward to the abolition of the ban on gay men serving as scout leaders. These decisions are congruent with the values of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Maryland. I think it is unfortunate to portray churches as opposed to equality for gays. Not all churches hold the same opinions, and there are many churches like ours whose positions on these issues are progressive and accepting.

As a child, I was expelled from my Boy Scout troop because my family was atheist and scouting had no provisions for a boy without a traditional association with an established religion. This was a great loss to me since my father died when I was three and scouting provided a much needed venue for male role models. I wonder how my life wound have been impacted positively had they been more understanding of differences. Irony now finds me an ordained Episcopal priest supporting equality for LGBT persons and fully supportive of the decision of the BSA and supportive of Redeemer's continued sponsorship of Troop 35. Understanding and acceptance without fear are the attributes that we admire and fully support.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Tunkle, Baltimore

The writer is rector of The Church of the Redeemer.