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Southern Baptists expected to leave Boy Scouts

May 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

NASHVILLE, May 29 (UPI) -- A Southern Baptist leader says the church will probably cut its ties to the Boy Scouts of America following the group's decision to allow gay Scouts.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, told ABCNews.com the Scouts will be discussed at the national meeting in two weeks.

"I think I can say with pretty strong accuracy that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are very disappointed in the latest change in policy ... deeply disappointed," Page said.

The Boy Scouts decided last week to continue its policy of barring openly gay adults from serving as volunteer leaders or paid staff. About 70 percent of Scout troops are sponsored by religious groups.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints backed the group's decision to change its policy, which was also supported by he National Jewish Committee on Scouting, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Metropolitan Community Church. The Catholic Church plans to discuss the new policy before it takes effect Jan. 1.

Page said the Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant group in the United States, sponsors hundreds of Boy Scout troops.

The Assemblies of God, the biggest Pentecostal group, issued a statement immediately after the decision predicting a "mass exodus."

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