A cadre of Portland gay activists is urging public scorn of a NE Portland church for its sponsorship of a Boy Scouts troop. This small band of secularists has started a petition against the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst for its sponsorship of Boy Scout Troop 22.
We have started a petition in SUPPORT of the church. Please sign it here.
It’s the second attack on a local church by gay activists recently. The first of those incidents was last April at SE Portland’s Mars Hill Church whose windows were smashed by a group calling itself, “Angry Queers.”
The churches are only 1.1 miles apart.
Why persecute a church for sponsoring a Boy Scout troop? Because the Scouts won’t allow homosexuals to be troop leaders.
In addition to the attempted public ‘shaming’ of the church, the “tolerant” group also urged a boycott of the Scouts Christmas tree recycling which occurs on church property and is the biggest fund raiser for the Troop.
|Mars Hills window smashed by “Angry Queers”|
Christians have been put on notice by Portland radicals: do what we say or we’ll attack you. The silence of public officials is tacit cheer leading of these attacks. Former Mayor Sam Adams, Portland’s first gay Mayor, never repudiated the attack on Mars Hill. The men of the Q[ueer] Center did reach out and help clean up.
Make no mistake, this is what persecution looks like.
The Pastor has written a letter (see complete letter below) to the neighborhood explaining that opening their doors to the Scouts is better than shutting them out:
This annual protest has always been peaceful, appropriate, and articulate. Its point is well-taken: whenever institutions, such as churches or the Boy Scouts, adopt policies or practices of exclusion, we “lead by (bad) example,” seeming to justify society in similar exclusionary behaviors. …I don’t have any say in the way the local troop organizes itself, but I can tell you that, from what I know of the boys and their leaders, I can’t imagine anyone not being welcome in Troop 22. … I expect that, in time, scouts who are true to the principles of scouting will find themselves less and less able to support the current BSA policy of homosexual exclusion. I don’t know when, but I think it will happen sooner if we keep talking together instead of cutting our ties.
According to the Scout Master for Troop 22 who talked to me on the air Friday, the Scouts have done wonderful things for the community for decades. He also told me the Troop was kicked out of a local school in 1978 because they wouldn’t let girls in their Troop.
A signer of our petition (sign it here) says,
My son was in Cub Scouts Pack 22 for four years. This church was a beacon and a great support for these boys and their families for decades now. Please don’t stop serving our community and our boys just because there are a few disgruntled and bitter people who like to be offended at everything. Thank you!
The following is the Pastor’s letter to the community, a copy of which was given to the Victoria Taft Show:
Dear Neighbors,As pastor of the church which sponsors Boy Scout Troop 22, whose annual Christmas Tree recycling event happens this Saturday, I’m writing to you about an objection of conscience which the publicity for the recycling event has prompted recently.For the past couple of years, some in the Laurelhurst neighborhood have lodged a protest with our congregation over our sponsorship of the scouts, specifically charging that our support implies endorsement of the national policy of the Boy Scouts of America which excludes homosexuals from leadership in local units. This annual protest has always been peaceful, appropriate, and articulate. Its point is well-taken: whenever institutions, such as churches or the Boy Scouts, adopt policies or practices of exclusion, we “lead by (bad) example,” seeming to justify society in similar exclusionary behaviors. The protesters have suggested, as remedy, that the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst (PCL) should discontinue our sponsorship of Troop 22 and cancel the recycling fund-raiser.We have not done so, for reasons which flow out of our own recent denomination-wide experience discussing homosexuality. To make a long story short, in 1978, when the national Presbyterian Church was asked to include gay and lesbian members as leaders, the denomination refused, by an overwhelming majority. But rather than settling the issue, that vote served to launch a national conversation within the Presbyterian family. Instead of leaving the church, gay and lesbian Presbyterians—our own brothers, sisters, children, and friends—came “out of the closet” and began telling the rest of us their stories. Over three decades’ time, in discussions which took most of us out of our comfort zones repeatedly, the tide of opinion shifted slowly but steadily, until in 2010, a narrow but growing majority reversed the earlier decision and made it possible for anyone to be in leadership in the Presbyterian Church regardless of sexual orientation. (And, the story is ongoing, because now, the new minority-erstwhile-majority—fellow members who remain dear to us—argue strenuously that we in the new majority have made a grave mistake.)This, I submit, is a story of normal life in a community of conscience: messy, open-ended, and unsettled. If Presbyterians have any learning to share with our fellow citizens in the wider community, it is that staying in relationship is the best (but not easy) way for the greatest number of people to encounter human differences so as to broaden their understanding rather than harden their preconceptions. That is, we should try to keep as broad a diversity of friends as possible, however uncomfortable it makes us, as an antidote to polarization.Here in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, I take this lesson to mean that we have a better chance of progressing toward Dr. King’s “beloved community” by deepening our partnerships instead of severing them. The recent annual protest has led to conversations between PCL’s and Troop 22’s leaders—lengthy ones—and at least one with a BSA leader in the regional Cascade Council: conversations which wouldn’t have happened had we ended our affiliation. I don’t have any say in the way the local troop organizes itself, but I can tell you that, from what I know of the boys and their leaders, I can’t imagine anyone not being welcome in Troop 22. And I will hazard this prediction: just as Presbyterians have kept discovering that the teachings of Jesus hold within them the seeds which grow up to overturn all systems of prejudice, so I expect that, in time, scouts who are true to the principles of scouting will find themselves less and less able to support the current BSA policy of homosexual exclusion. I don’t know when, but I think it will happen sooner if we keep talking together instead of cutting our ties.Thanks so much for listening. What do you think?Sincerely,Greg Ikehara-Martin