Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ of Kansas City welcomes gay Boy Scouts

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - About 20 years ago when Curtis Filer's son was 15, he quit the Boy Scouts knowing as a gay teen, he did not fit in.

"As he grew through the cub scouts, and then to the boy scouts, he did eventually feel he didn't feel right about being there," Filer said.

The reason he did not feel right? The Boy Scouts of America excludes gay men from being leaders, and gay youth from being members of its organization.

That is not how the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ of Kansas City feels.

"We interpret the bible to say that God loves all God's children, and at this church, all of God's children are truly welcome," Rev. Chase Peeples of CCC United Church of Christ said.

A banner, posted Saturday outside the church, shows that point of view. 

With colors of the rainbow, and bold words that read, "We welcome ALL Boy Scouts!" members of the church said the sign not only welcomes all boy scouts inside the church, but urges everyone in the community to open their hearts to allow all God's children to be part of an organization that teaches so much.

"It's about life skills, and it's really about building character. It's not about sexual orientation. It never has been," church moderator Michael Smith said. Smith has two step-sons who are Boy Scouts.

These church members hope soon the Boy Scouts of America will not focus on sexual orientation and modify their rules, making long overdue changes to its policy.

This, Curtis Filer said, would stop hurting young boys who want to fit in.

"That kind of abuse is not the right thing to do in our society," Filer said. "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome (at the church), and we mean it."

The executive board of the Boy Scouts of America will meet this next week to discuss changing the policy.

If reversed, the rule would only change on the national level.

It would still be up to local Boy Scout troops to decide where they stand on the issue.

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