A Boy Scouts troop leader in Marble Falls, Texas, is under fire for comparing gay Scouts to criminals and suggesting that he’d refer them to counseling. Austin’s KEYE-TV reports:
Troop leader Thom Fairleigh was commenting about a reported agreement with the First Baptist Church of Marble Falls. The agreement would allow the church to continue to sponsor the troop after the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay scouts.
Fairleigh was quoted as saying, “It’s just like if a boy came to me and said he’s a thief — in Christian love I would say ‘you’ve got a problem and that we definitely will not approve of it’ and we would send him to get pastoral counseling.”
A spokesman for the Scouts Capital Area Council told KEYE-TV that Fairleigh’s statement doesn’t reflect the Scouts’ policy. The station contacted Fairleigh, but he declined further comment.
In related news, the Houston Chronicle reports that 30 churches in the Houston area have dropped sponsorships of Boy Scout troops in response to the BSA’s decision to allow gay youth, which took effect Jan. 1.
The BSA’s Sam Houston Area Council has seen a 3 percent decline in membership, or 1,500 Scouts, but it’s unclear how many of those were from the churches that left.
Trail Life USA, an alternative group that bans gay youth, reports that 50 of its roughly 400 chapters nationwide are in Texas. In addition to gays, Trail Life USA bans non-Christians — including Jews and Muslims.
— John Wright