The Seattle-area Rainier Beach United Methodist Church is facing expulsion from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for willingly placing a married openly gay man, Eagle Scout Geoff McGrath, as Scoutmaster.
Pastor of the church, Monica Corsaro wrote an article for Time explaining what happened and why the church chose to stand by McGrath.
“We didn’t choose Geoff McGrath as a political statement. We chose Geoff because he was the perfect person for the job, an Eagle Scout himself, and someone who has a Master’s degree in Social Work,” she wrote. “He has mentoring and leadership skills that someone taking on this role needs. A perfect fit.”
The BSA recently dropped their ban on gay youths joining the program but has maintained that those in leadership positions must be heterosexual. Last week, they said that the children of Troop 98 were no longer able to be a part of the Boy Scout network due to the church’s refusal to get rid of McGrath.
Corsaro explained, “It troubles me that our belief that God created and loves each and every one of us, just as we are, is being ignored and in fact denied by the Boy Scouts of America.
“Rainier Beach United Methodist Church believes putting someone in a closet and not letting him be honest about who he is when asked is not “morally straight,“ to use a Boy Scout term,” she added.
Currently, the church is exploring options for the troop but is still hoping “that the Boy Scouts will support our congregation and our values, as it has supported so many other congregations around the country.”
Reportedly, McGrath is the only openly gay leader to have been removed from a BSA leadership role. And regardless of the consequences, the Methodist Church has so far vowed to stand by him.
“Rainier Beach UMC serves the immigrant, the refugee, the middle class person, the mixed-race person, the single parent, the elderly, the young, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender person, the lonely, the powerful, the least and the lost,” Corsaro wrote. “We will keep serving all those people who are a part of our context, because that is what the Gospel calls us to do.”