KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Boy Scouts vote to allow openly gay members is stirring emotions: some outrage and some celebration. The vote allows openly gay members, but not leaders. Thursday Fox 4 Spoke to Eric Jones, a former Boy Scout leader from Kearney, Mo., who was removed from the scouts after revealing he was gay. He celebrates the vote as "moving in the right direction"
But some conservative religious organizations are calling this the downfall of the Boy Scouts. Immediately following Thursday's vote to allow openly gay kids into the scouts, several religious groups lashed out. The Southern Baptist Convention and Assemblies of God church organizations said the vote wasn't compatible with the principals central to the scout's oath and they predict people will leave the scouts by the thousands.
Blaine Freidline did just that. He was in scouts from age 8 until he earned his Eagle Scout at age 16. But on Friday, Freidline mailed his Eagle Scout medal back to the Boy Scout headquarters along with a letter describing why he can no longer be associated with the scouts.
He says he took an oath to honor God and country.
"In order to uphold my oath I feel like I can't be apart of the scouting organization," he said, "I want to support the scouts but when the scouts abandon the values I thought the scouts stood for, then I can't continue to support those."
Pastor Dennis Fite with Pebble Creek Assemblies of God Church says he doesn't preach hate, but he says the bible is clear: homosexuality is wrong. And he thinks the Boy Scout's vote to allow openly gay members opens pandora's box.
"If you train these boys to be leaders, and then they're disqualified, that's confusing for that individual," he said.
His national Assemblies of God organization says this vote will lead to a "mass exodus" from the Boy Scout program. Fite agrees, saying he wouldn't be comfortable with a group meeting under his church's roof if it doesn't share his church's values.
"There are alternatives and what will happen in the Boy Scout program is people will seek out the alternatives because they can't be in agreement with what's going on," Fite said, "it will be a tough time for the Boy Scouts in my opinion."
Fox 4 spoke to the local Boy Scout organization and they say out of 35,000 local members, they've only received calls from maybe 16 people Friday, expressing feelings both for and against the vote. The group says between 75 to 80 percent of its local scout units are chartered by religious organizations, so time will tell whether the decision will have an impact locally or not.