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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Southern Baptist Convention has approved a resolution opposing the Boy Scouts of America’s new policy allowing gay scouts. The resolution also calls on the Boy Scouts to remove executive and board leaders who tried to allow gays as both members and leaders without consulting the religious groups that sponsor scout troops.

The decision has religious and scout leaders in Wilmington reacting.

Anchor Baptist Church is a growing Southern Baptist Church here in the Port City. Founding Pastor Jeff Nichols says his job is to unite people not divide them.

“Our position would be that we would not ask our scout troop to leave. I feel like the Boy Scouts themselves, the boys, are caught in the middle of this political football,” Nichols said. “The resolution (by the Southern Baptist Convention) in Houston, they were trying to decide whether or not they were going to ask the Southern Baptist churches to remove the scout troops or remove their charters or ask them to leave, which each church is autonomous in the convention, so they can make their own decisions.”

We tried to reach out to the Cape Fear Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but our calls were not returned. However Scout Executive Doug Clevinger did comment on this issue over the weekend.

“I honestly do not know what the impact on our local scouting program will be,” Clevinger said in an interview with our partners at the StarNews. “It will likely take a couple of years to be able to evaluate how this has affected us.”

But Pastor Nichols says he doesn’t think this is going to be an issue.

“I think if we were in a major metropolitan area, and there was an agenda, that might be an issue,” he said. “We are a Baptist Church here in Wilmington, NC, and I don’t think it will be an issue here with Scout Troop 734, and we’re not going to let the boys get caught in the middle of that, so we will continue with our support of this troop and what they stand for.”

And even though the resolution does not recommend that Southern Baptists drop ties with the scouts, it does express support for churches and families that do choose to do so.

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