Residents react to Scout policy on gays
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:13AM
CLARENDON HILLS — The Rev. John Hilder of Christ Lutheran Church in Clarendon Hills doesn’t believe a change in Boy Scout policy would lead to church action.
“I have a hard time speaking for our entire congregation; it would be up to our council, but I don’t see that there would be any changes at this point,” Hildner said. “My personal thought is to welcome everyone, just as Jesus did.”
The Boys Scouts of America announced Monday the organization is considering a dramatic change in its policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members.
Under the change being considered, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue — either maintaining an exclusion of gays or opening up their membership.
Clarendon Hills Boy Scout Troop 51 is chartered by, and meets at, Christ Lutheran, 60 55th St., Clarendon Hills.
Scout executive Irene Szinavel of the DesPlaines Valley Council, of which Troop 51 is affiliated, did not respond to a request for comment
Officials with the Three Fires Boy Scout Council, which oversees Scouts throughout the Fox Valley and includes Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace, have not yet decided how to handle the policy change if it does occur, marketing specialist Nancy Loftus said.
“This isn’t happening at a local level, so we don’t have any response as yet,” she said.
David Grooms, district chair for the Potawatomi Trails District, which is part of the Three Fires Boy Scout Council, had the same response as did Loftus.
“We don’t have any guidance at this point, so we’re still waiting to see what happens,” Grooms said of his district, which includes 55 Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops with about 2,000 youth members.
Loftus said the Three Fires Boy Scout Council, which oversees about 25,000 Scouts in Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Cook and Will counties, would not be able to force packs and troops under its jurisdiction to either accept gay members or to ban them.
She also said that, to her knowledge, no homosexuals have ever tried to join an area Scout troop, either as a Scout or as a leader.
Denise Linke contributed to this story.