Updated:MARIETTA, Ga. —
A Marietta church is kicking out a Boy Scout troop over the organization's controversial decision to accept gay members.
Roswell Street Baptist Church Senior Pastor Ernest Easley said he was forced to sever ties with Troop 204 after the Boy Scouts of America decided two weeks ago that openly gay teens can be members.
"We're not going to openly embrace that which stands opposed to God's word," Easley said.
Easley said his congregation gave him a standing ovation when he announced his decision to no longer sponsor the troop, which has been meeting at the church for 68 years. He said the stance the Boy Scouts has taken is not only contrary to the word of God, but it puts young people at risk.
"You've got boys in there in a tent that are sexually attractive to other boys, whose hormones are going off the wall. Something is going to happen," Easley said.
The Rev. Richard Burdick of the Unity North Atlanta Church in Marietta heard about the displaced troop and reached out to offer his church as a meeting place.
"And it is not turning our backs on people but opening our hearts and our churches to them," Burdick said.
A spokesperson for the Boy Scouts told Channel 2 Action News, "We understand this is a sensitive issue for everybody, but I think what we can agree on is the outcome of scouting is still very positive."
"So my hope is that this is one small spoke in the wheel of acceptance for all people," Burdick said.
Boy Scouts officials said that less than 5 percent of metro Atlanta churches that sponsor Boy Scout troops have severed ties after the announcement, but the Southern Baptist convention is meeting next week and churches are expected to be urged to follow Easley's example.
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