A Birmingham megachurch pastor predicts a surge in alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America after a decision Thursday by the Boy Scouts to accept openly gay scouts.

The Rev. Harry Reeder III, senior pastor of the 4,100-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church, former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America and outspoken critic of efforts to change Boy Scout policy on homosexuality, said evangelical churches are a bedrock of support for the Boy Scout tradition in Alabama.

That’s now in danger, he said.

“When a church holds to a biblical social ethic of sex only between a man and a woman in monogamous marriage, it cannot support an organization that opposes that,” said. “That would introduce sexual anarchy into the teaching of the church. There will be a significant response from evangelical churches.”

Reeder said evangelical churches have been moving toward other youth development programs and he expects those to accelerate. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Royal Ambassadors program, the Christian Brigade program from England, Pioneer Clubs and the AWANA evangelical parachurch program embraced by several denominations are likely to be viewed as possible alternatives, Reeder said.

“Something that is this much of a deviation from ethical commitments may give birth to something new, a continuing organization that maintains the historic scouting program,” Reeder said.

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