Huffines: Church Forces Scout Troop to Relocate

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Northwest Bible Church discontinued its longtime partnership with Troop 125. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Philosophical differences have led to a split between Northwest Bible Church and the prominent local Boy Scout troop it has sponsored for more than two decades.

Last May, Boy Scouts of America adopted a resolution stating it would no longer deny membership on the basis of sexual preference or orientation. A few months later, the leaders of Troop 125 were told by Northwest Bible Church officials that their longtime charter partnership would be discontinued and they would have to find a new place to meet.

Donald Huffines, who was the Troop 125 Scoutmaster at the time before resigning last fall to run for a state Senate seat, said the national vote led directly to the decision by church leaders.

“I think the church felt that the current BSA policy did not align with their beliefs,” Huffines said. “It was not a spur-of-the-moment decision for the church. They prayed about it a lot and discussed it at length.”

Northwest Bible Church officials did not respond to requests for comment, but Huffines said he was in discussions with church leaders about their intentions even before the results of the vote.

“Christ is a very important part of our fellowship with the troop,” Huffines said. “I’m not upset with the church. We understand their position. We appreciate our relationship with them. They could not have been a better sponsor.”

The vote to change the membership standards of BSA was favored by 62 percent of local delegates from all 290 councils throughout the organization. The resolution maintained the admission policy for adult leaders.

“Our job is to try and impact as many young people as possible with a positive program,” said Pat Currie, CEO of Circle Ten council, which oversees troops with more than 54,000 Scouts in 12 Texas counties, including Dallas. “Scouting has never been about sexuality at any level. We don’t teach sex education.”

Troop 125 — which primarily serves boys from the Park Cities and Preston Hollow — had its final meeting at Northwest Bible Church in early May before its charter transferred to Grace Bible Church in Preston Hollow.

“It’s inconvenient and unfortunate,” said Jeanette Smith, a Troop 125 parent. “I respect their right to have their opinion and their right to act consistently with those values. I strongly disagree with those opinions, but fortunately the troop was able to find another church host.”

Smith said she hopes the troop will be able to continue its membership growth despite being uprooted.

“Troop 125 has been an amazing experience for my son,” she said. “We’ve got strong leadership. I hope we’ll continue to have strong membership.”

Smith said that while Northwest Bible Church has been accommodating to the troop during the transition, the decision by its leaders was based more on exclusion than inclusion.

“They strongly believe that if they allow homosexuals in, then it goes against all their principles,” Smith said. “My faith is a little different, but I respect their right to have an opinion. I think it’s a bad representation of what Christ would have us do.”

Currie said most of the charter partners for troops in Circle Ten are churches and other faith-based organizations. Those agreements are renewable every year, so turnover is common.

He hasn’t noticed a significant spike in the number of charter partners who have bowed out because of the change in policy. Within Circle Ten, the turnover has been only slightly higher than usual in the past year.

“There are some people who are not pleased with that decision,” Currie said. “It reaffirms that to be in Scouting, you have to have a belief in God, and it reaffirms that the membership policy of the Boy Scouts will be inclusive of as many young people as possible.”

Currie said he is not aware of any scouts in Circle Ten who have declared their homosexuality. While such a scenario would not get a boy removed from scouting, inappropriate behavior would.

“It’s not about if you’re gay or straight. It’s about who you are as a person,” Currie said. “I haven’t found a church yet who said they would remove someone from the church just because they said they were gay.”

Huffines, a Dallas real-estate developer, resigned as scoutmaster in October 2013 to run for the District 16 seat in the Texas Senate. He defeated longtime incumbent John Carona in a contentious Republican primary race in March.

“I love Boy Scouts. It’s the greatest organization in the world to teach leadership, character development, and morals,” Huffines said. “It’s going to accelerate the erosion of their membership, because they’ve alienated their core members. They need to embrace their core principles and core beliefs.”

Furthermore, Huffines said the vote by BSA delegates could lead to a fracturing of the organization with regard to spiritual ideals.

“I think it was a big mistake what BSA did. They said they were not going to change the policy, and then eight months later they came back and changed it. The national leadership of the BSA cannot be trusted,” Huffines said. “They can’t be trusted not to open the door for more infiltration from the gay agenda. Eventually we’ll have gay scouts and gay scoutmasters and gay troops. They’ll keep coming until their mission is fulfilled.”


By Todd Jorgenson May. 28, 2014 | 1:16 pm | 27 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Ahm Prayinforya

    “Eventually we’ll have gay scouts and gay scoutmasters and gay troops,” says he. And better looking uniforms with Ascot ties and groomed eyebrows, right? Because all gays want is to take over the world and be well groomed.

    See ya at the pearly gates (pearly because a gay angel decorated it, no doubt).

  • Karen

    If this were 1964 Huffines would be spewing about the “black agenda” and if this were 1914 he would be spewing about the “female agenda.”

  • Karen

    The national leadership of the BSA cannot be trusted,” Huffines said. “They can’t be trusted not to open the door for more infiltration from the (insert name of people you don’t like here) agenda. Eventually we’ll have (insert name of people you don’t like here) scouts and (insert name of people you don’t like here) scoutmasters and (insert name of people you don’t like here) troops. They’ll keep coming until their mission is fulfilled.”

  • Jen

    Ditto Karen.

  • Z

    And if it were 1934 he’d be spewing about the Jew agenda. Honestly, how creepy can you get?

  • J

    Within five years the Boy Scouts of America will be renamed “Scouts of America” and include girls and boys, just like the rest of the world. Problem solved, right? One thing your article didn’t point out was how many scouts joined because they were gay since the decision. Isn’t that the reason for the push toward inclusion? Isn’t it?

  • Steve

    Ah, my future state senate rep. I hope Jeanette Smith takes over. In fact, it seems like I’d rather her by my state senator.

  • Steve

    “she be” vs. “her by” :-)

  • Real McCoy

    Typical Huffines- he unfortunately represents the direction of the GOP under crazy Tea Partiers.

    John Carona was a competent and effective legislator that served SD 16 well. I still can’t believe he got voted out by a guy like Huffines who was TERRIBLE in their debate, had zero new or original ideas, and simply threw mud and distortions for months with his well-funded campaign. Once he gets to Austin and does nothing for four years, hopefully he will be replaced by someone else.

  • Wow!

    I completely agree with Huffines.

    A truth is a truth no matter how much you want to bend it.

    What amazes me is that each of these comments are intolerant, ignorant and ugly – and you have the nerve to throw stones at someone else’s beliefs which happen to be true.

  • Observer

    Sounds like Huffines quit Boy Scouts and then let the church drop the troop. Maybe he even suggested the church do it. At minimum, he wasn’t his former troop’s best advocate in the negotiations.

    He used a campaign manager who ran a dirty campaign for Chart Westcott and probably did the same for Huffines.

    He wants public schools to teach creationism AS SCIENCE. And he is unopposed in November to start making such laws.

    Can someone talk Dan Branch into running against him as a write-in candidate?

  • Parkie

    The truth is that Huffines’s comments are intolerant, ignorant and ugly.
    You are on the wrong side of history.

  • Real McCoy

    You and I probably agree on a lot more issues than you think, but you’ve got to realize a losing battle when you see one. Opposing gay rights is going to become more and more politically toxic for Republicans in general elections in the years to come. Same goes for immigration.

    We’d do better to focus on conservative fiscal issues and combating abortion aka infanticide. Those will continue to be winning issues for years to come.

  • allison

    Allowing “out” gay people in BSA is about inclusion. Not allowing a BSA troop to have meetings because a gay person might step on your property is about intolerance.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with beliefs because there is nothing in the Bible about how you should hinder people of any kind from doing good works & becoming smarter, kinder, better people.

  • John Hannah

    It’s heartening to watch evolved citizens work hard to avoid repeating the mistakes of our grandfathers. Seems like a natural and easy argument. However, gay is not a race or a gender…and in this discussion – regarding matters of leaders of a young men’s group – it’s a bit more complex than trotting out our forefathers’ obvious blunders. Just as it’s more complex than referring to scripture.

  • Phred

    Mr. Huffines is too stupid to know that the “BSA national leadership” didn’t change the policy… volunteers (like he used to be) changed the policy with a vote of 61%-39%. Huffines has the right to think whatever he wants personally, but he and the rest of the misinformed who think Scouting and it’s values have anything to do with stopping “infiltration” are going to have a really, really hard time in the future.

  • HP75

    Allison, Can I bring my Tea Party friends over to your house every Saturday to discuss politics? No? How intolerant of you.

  • Dennis C. Burns

    Electing Dan Branch to the office by write-in would be an extraordinarily refreshing response to the near suffocation of common decencies by the flow of money in politics these days.

  • Neal

    I feel like such an ignoramus. Until just now, I thought Don Huffines was a mongoloid dwarf who hatched from an egg in a gypsy caravan and escaped a life of misery and torment at the Lubbock County Fair to run for senate. Today I learned he has lived among us for more than just these last few months as a high-functioning member of society. Impressive!

  • Steve

    HP75, can I bring my liberal tree huggers over to your house every Sunday morning? We’ll sit around and read the NY Times, sip lattes and wait for you to get back from church.

  • Neal

    Dennis C. Burns – Chart Westcott’s defeat (after hiring Don Huffines’ campaign consultants for the runoff) is a small victory on that front.

  • Karen

    “Christians”, not gays, are the people with the agenda. Christians regularly witness to others and conduct missionary trips where they try to convert others to their way of life. I have never had a gay person try and convert me, give me literature, invite me to their meeting place, etc. I have had many “Christians” do that to me.

  • HP75

    Steve, Buddy, are you sure you are ready for the New York Times? Since you totally missed the point of my first post, maybe you should start out with something lighter? The church must be tolerant of the Boy Scout’s new policy on gays, but there can be no tolerance for the church’s point of view.

  • Huh?

    @Karen – Everyone has an agenda, it is whether you recognize it or not is the question.

    @Steve – weak retort to HP75’s comment; doesn’t take that much brain power to get the point.

  • ShonM

    I briefly attended NW Bible Church many years ago. It was ultra conservative then, and I imagine it is still the same way. I got involved with a group of people there who tried to control every aspect of my life, and told me I could not read secular books, watch secular films or listen to secular music. I attended bible studies that sometimes went on until 1 o clock in the morning, then I was expected to get up early for church the following Sunday. I heard many people make derogatory comments about gays, but there was also a strong anti-Catholic attitude running amok in the church at that time. I don’t agree with forming attitudes of hatred towards other religions, and it made me uncomfortable. Coincidentally, I started dating a Catholic man around that time and was ostracized by the church group for not being “equally yoked”. I left NW Bible church and I am so glad to be gone! What a relief. Also, I believe that someone’s sexual orientation is their own business, not the business of other people.

  • HP75

    ShonM – Northwest is non denominational. They are anti-church structure and hierarchy in general, and of course the Catholic church is the epitome of man-made religious structure. Sounds like you got mixed up with some real dorks during your time at NW and probably should have just switched Bible study classes. BTW, I agree that a person’s sexual orientation should be their own business and wouldn’t it be so nice if everyone just kept it to themselves.

  • KT

    It became well known in the Dallas community, over a period of time, that there was a strong anti-Catholic agenda coming out of various conservative churches in Dallas. The anti-Catholicism stuff is just as scary as anti-Semitism or any other beliefs that lead to persecution. These churches need to work on cleaning up their reputation. They also bash people who did not vote Republican, often implying that they will “go to hell”. Its unhealthy to judge other people all the time. I don’t think a gay person should have to be ‘closeted’, if that is what you are saying. Heterosexuals don’t have to keep their orientation a secret, so why should gays have to keep theirs a secret? I won’t go (or donate money) to any church that tells me how to vote, tells me I can’t have friends of other faiths, and tells me to ostracize gays. I personally believe ostracism is actually more unhealthy for the ostracizer than it is for the victim.

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