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May 31st, 2013
04:19 PM ET

Baptists plan exodus from Boy Scouts

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - For Southern Baptist pastor Tim Reed, it was Scripture versus the Scouts.

“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin,” said Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

So when the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its ban on openly gay youths on May 24, Reed said the church had no choice but to cut its charter with Troop 542.

“It’s not a hate thing here,” Reed told CNN affiliate Fox 16. “It’s a moral stance we must take as a Southern Baptist church.”

Southern Baptist leaders say Reed is not alone.

Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.

That number could drop precipitously.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.

The denomination will vote on nonbinding but influential resolutions during a convention June 11-12 in Houston.

“There’s a 100% chance that there will be a resolution about disaffiliation at the convention,” said Richard Land, the outgoing head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “and a 100% chance that 99% of people will vote for it.”

“Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts en masse,” Land continued.

Roger “Sing” Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, emphasized that local congregations make their own decision on the Scouts.

But he, too, said he expects Baptist delegates, which the church calls “messengers,” to voice their disagreement with the BSA's decision to allow gay youths.

“With this policy change, the Boy Scouts’ values are contradictory to the basic values of our local churches,” Oldham said.

Several religious groups with strong Scouting ties support the new policy.

“We have heard from both those who support the amended policy and those who would have preferred it would not have changed,” said BSA spokesman Deron Smith.

Faith-based organizations charter more than 70% of Scout chapters, providing meeting space and leadership, according to the BSA.

“There have been some organizations that have decided not to renew their charters with Scouting," said Smith, "but we can’t quantify the impact of the amended policy."

The National Jewish Committee on Scouting, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors more Scout units than any other faith, all endorsed the change.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which is run with oversight from a bishop, said Thursday that allowing gay youths in the Scouts does not conflict with church teaching. Each bishop will decide whether or not to allow churches in his diocese to charter Scout units, the committee added.

“We ask that Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment,” said Edward Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.

But the Rev. Derek Lappe, pastor of the Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton, Washington, has already made up his mind.

“I do not feel that it is possible for us to live out, and to teach, the authentic truth about human sexuality within the confines of the Boy Scout’s new policy,” said Lappe.

The priest told CNN affiliate FOX16 that his parish will part ways with the Scouts and develop its own programs.

There may soon be an alternative to the Scouts for social conservatives like Lappe.

John Stemberger, founder of On My Honor, a group that opposed the Scouts’ change in policy, plans to convene conservatives in Louisville, Kentucky, in June to consider forming a new Scout-like group, which could be up and running by the end of 2013.

“Churches and Scoutmasters are looking for leadership and direction,” said Stemberg, an attorney in Orlando, Florida.

A number of conservative religious denominations already sponsor their own groups.

For instance, the Southern Baptists have the Royal Ambassadors, an explicitly Christian program founded in 1908 for boys in first through sixth grade. (A similar group called Challengers equips older boys in “mission education.”)

The name comes from the New Testament, in which the Apostle Paul tells Christians to be “ambassadors for Christ.”

The estimated 31,000 Royal Ambassadors pledge “ to become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ; to have a Christlike concern for all people; to learn how to carry the message of Christ around the world; to work with others in sharing Christ; and to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body."

While not as outdoorsy as the Boy Scouts, Ambassadors do camp and play sports, said Land, who was a member of the group during the 1950s. But instead of merit badges for archery and bird study, young Ambassadors earn patches for memorizing Bible verses and mission work.

Southern Baptists said they are preparing for a surge of interest in the Royal Ambassadors at their upcoming convention in Houston.

“We really have an opportunity here to strengthen our RA programs,” the Rev. Ernest Easley, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, said in a sermon last Sunday, “and to get the boys in a program where they’re going to be protected, where there’s a high moral standard and where they will have an opportunity to learn about camping, missions, evangelism in the local church.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • gender issues • Politics • United States

soundoff (10,821 Responses)
  1. rkain

    Good for them it is THERE choice on how they spend THERE resources.If something goes against there morals they have EVERY right to not support it.For all these people who speak of more tolerance and how "your god" is bigger and more tolerant do yourself a favor and read the bible it is the word of god and you cannot pick and choose the scripture you wanna apply and ignore the other laws god has set forth.Just call yourself a athiest and leave it at that which is your choice same as people who wanna live there life how they decide.

    I am not bashing on anyone simply saying they have the ability to make there own choices also.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      there are literally as many interpretations of scripture as there are readers.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Grammer

      *Their

      June 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Raevyn

      It's pretty tough to lend any credibility to a statement from someone who is functionally illiterate.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Tamsyn

      The BSA isn't a gay organization; they just made the choice not to exclude gay scouts.
      Jesus founded his religion on being inclusive, reaching out to the precise people that the Jewish faith marginalized at the time.
      Seems to me that Jesus would frown upon such exclusionary tactics today. But then, what do they care about what Jesus wanted? They are well-known for perverting the Bible to fit their ideals. They've been doing it for years.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • SHIVANI

      The word you are trying to place so much emphasis on is THEIR. I'm glad the idiots of our country are the most vocal.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Pssst

      @Grammer

      *Grammar

      June 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  2. Colin

    As the old saying goes, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things, but to get good people to do bad things requires religion.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  3. Sarcastro

    Oh no, a bunch of bigots want to take their ball and go home.

    Have fun being on the wrong side of history.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Huebert

      The Baptist are used to it.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • forbidden books

      History books are on their forbidden books list.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  4. JD

    i am not religious whatsoever. but just because someone doesn't agree with gay marriage, doesn't mean they have hatred towards gay people. if you want your belief and way of life to be respected, then guess what?..you have to respect everyone elses.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      My grandmother uses the same logic when she says that blacks need their own public restrooms.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Pete

      "way of life to be respected, then guess what?..you have to respect everyone elses."

      History has shown when people are fighting for their civil rights they don't have to respect bigoted and prejudice people, they have to protest to get the laws and society to change.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • billfitt

      Maybe that's because you are a gayblack, and she doesn't want you spreading your di se ase to others?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Sarcastro

      No JD, you don't have to accept people's bigotry and hatred. That's not being tolerant, it's turning a blind eye to bigotry which is simply not acceptable.

      Claiming that bigotry is a right that should be respected is cowardly. It's twisted logic that fails to confront the fundamental character flaws every bigot possesses.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JD

      You said, "but just because someone doesn't agree with gay marriage, doesn't mean they have hatred towards gay people."
      It's either hatred or ignorance, or both.

      You said, "if you want your belief and way of life to be respected, then guess what?..you have to respect everyone elses."
      I will everyone's right to believe whatever they want. For a belief to earn respect it should, at a bare minimum, be factual or logical.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  5. Chrashtopher

    The bottom line is that we are cutting off the air supply to hate based religion in this country. You want to go and tell god how much you hate gay people? Go right ahead. IN PRIVATE. Spew that garbage in public and you WILL be dealt with. I smacked some idiot in the face the other day because he was walking down the street with a bullhorn screaming that we are all going to hell. He sure as hell didn't expect that. LOL...

    Oh, and if you are wondering if I am encouraging violence against religious extremists and tea party morons... I AM.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • 4thegays

      Christianity is antiquated and full of hate. The gays have been suppressed for so long it's nice to see them have the upper hand and show these bibletards how intolerant and not worthy of the new age they are. I hope their rapture happens soon to get them out of our hair.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  6. TTom

    Why people choose to have people think for them instead of for themselves is beyond me.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  7. Jeff

    If there is a god, he probably hates Christians.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  8. Sam

    Baptist, wanting us to believe they are Christian, are evil. And they want to rule this nation with there evil thoughts and rule. God would not like what they do and how radical they are in believes. Open minds are better then a Baptist closed mind.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  9. Mary Johnson

    They do not want sinful people to be allowed in their churches. I recall once reading about the "seven deadly sins" once. They are wrath (anger), greed, sloth (laziness), pride, lust, envy, and gluttony (over-indulgence of food drink, etc) . Pick any one of these "sins" – say, gluttony . I wonder if these preachers refuse to allow any FAT people into their churches? Or greedy people? How about those who might be envious of others? These preachers pick and chooses which sinful adults they might allow into their church…. but definitely NOT the children who did nothing wrong other than to be born.

    Personally, I find it very shameful and sad that Christian churches would be the very ones to teach HATRED and BIGOTRY to CHILDREN in a very LOUD manner. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, huh?

    Hypocrite –
    a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

    a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

    June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • TiredODaCrap

      A lot of hatred, name calling, and anger from someone who claims she is not a hypocrite!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Gerald

      No, Mary is spot on. All one has to do is look around at the division within Christianity in the U.S. to see the hypocrisy.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Sam

      @TiredODaCrap spell out exactly what was hatred in their posts or is it you really don't know the definition of it.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Michael S.

      Agreed Mary, I am a stout Catholic and believe that gays and lesbians deserve to be treated with respect and dignity like we all deserve. Support the person, not the sinful action. All of us sin every single day and yet there is a place for all of us in our churches. We all have our weaknesses and we should be trying to better ourselves and live humble, peaceful, supportive lives. Nobody is better than anybody else. Following the Baptists logic nobody should shop at stores, or watch or participate in sports because all of them do employ and have on their teams gays and lesbians. What would happen if you found out that the cashier at JC Penny who was checking you out was a lesbian or gay? Or if you found out they like eating peppers and some how that offended you? Would you leave your stuff at the counter and shop somewhere else??? Where would you go shopping that you can be 100% sure the person helping you in the store does not do or believe in something that you disagree with? Exactly, no where. If we knew all about the people around us we would be shocked to discover that there are people next to us every day who do or like things that would offend us. Lesson here? Dont point fingers, look in the mirror and realize you are no better than anybody else, so love one another and help each other get through this life with love and dignity.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • MaxVeritas

      @ M Johnson
      Your recollection is wrong, there is NO such chapter and verse on 7 deadly sins. As well you make the classic mistake of attempting to judge New Testament Christians by what they eat.
      Colossians 2:16–17
      16. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
      17. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Larry L

      @MaxVeritas

      @ M Johnson
      Your recollection is wrong, there is NO such chapter and verse on 7 deadly sins.
      =====================================
      Mary does not say the 7 deadly sins were from the Bible. It must have come from some other work of fiction.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      max
      Jesus himself told you that the OT is still law.
      john 10:35

      verified in Matthew,5:16...and a few other places in Matthew, and in Luke.

      In his own words, the OT is gods scripture and cannot be broken, so eating shellfish, allowing women to speak in church, working on the sabbath...all punishable.
      It of course is contratictory, since it is nothng but a conglomeration of myths, created from men's imaginations in answer to their own ignorance.
      I find it most difficult to understand why this obviously false, disproven book is still revered by anyone.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The seven deadly sins come from Dante's "Inferno".

      June 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Michael

      I have found it amusing, yet also sickening, that the "ultra-religious" forgive and even defend those priests guilty of pedophilia but yet they don't accept gays. These people don't tend to get that these are two completely different things, and the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are self acknowledged straight people.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  10. Yep

    Why don't other groups start their on groups and put forth their own ideas, instead of trying to infiltrate other groups and change their founding principals?

    The progressive movement in the United States was at its height during the early 20th century. With the migration of families from farms to cities, there were concerns among some people that young men were no longer learning patriotism and individualism. The YMCA was an early promoter of reforms for young men with a focus on social welfare and programs of mental, physical, social and religious development. In 1896, years before the Scouting movement was founded, Baden-Powell met the American born Chief of Scouts in British Africa, Frederick Russell Burnham, and learned from him the fundamentals of scouting, inspiring him and giving him the plan for the program and the code of honor of Scouting for Boys, and thus restoring the old traditions of American Youth

    June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Gerald

      Good point. Of course infiltration has taken on all forms over the history of the organization.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Daqcute

      The problem is not the church but those that want to change the morals of the church. if other feels strongly about their conviction they can start their own groups and not infiltrate others. This country was founded on religious principles and even the adage "In god we Trust" is sitill found in the US currency. This the nations value but yet you have all these liberalist trying to impose their selfish ideas on others and disrupt century old traditions that has not hurt anyone yet the suckers cant dare raise their voice in muslim countries and speak ofthe same. What a bunch of hypocrites.!!!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Pete

      "This the nations value but yet you have all these liberalist trying to impose their selfish ideas on others and disrupt century old traditions that has not hurt anyone yet the suckers cant dare raise their voice in muslim countries and speak ofthe same."

      Not hurt anyone? Try telling that to all the Native Americans that Christians killed and stole their land. Try telling that to all the African Americans that were kidnapped and enslaved by Christians and treated like crap. Try telling that to women that suffered and were treated like crap when America was first started. Try telling that to the families that had their women burned at that stake for being falsely accused for being witches. Lastly try telling that to all the families today who's gay children have been killed over hatred or who have been so bullied by Christian children they took their own lives.

      You're an idiot.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • John

      Because its much harder to make people believe a stupid message if its just one person who preaches it. Think about this. How many times does the person wearing a "the end is nigh" sign get taken seriously? Yet that same sort of message, when backed by a group with respectability, gives rise to all sorts of cults. The Southern Baptists and others of their ilk needed the BSA and other such groups because without that cover of respectability they would have very little to no credibility.

      Which kind of makes this whole "you don't want to play by rules so I'm taking my ball and going home" tantrum ludicrous and ultimately counter-productive for the Southern Baptists aims. Then again this isn't the first time this group of inbreeds have done something incredibly bone-headed.

      June 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Tkp353

    Tolerance, coexist, anything goes. That is America's motto, is it not? God will have something to say about that to each of us. Not a threat, a promise, from God Himself.

    Good luck everybody. America is doomed.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Pete

      "Good luck everybody. America is doomed."

      How does giving a minority group their civil rights make America doomed? It' doesn't. When you think back on the evil the Christians have done to this country shows why we are not doomed. The Christians came here, killed the Native Americans because of their intolerance while stealing their land, they kidnapped African American to enslave them to build this country, then they burned witches at the stake, they also treated women like crap and denied them their rights. We have been cleaning up that mess so if anything we have gotten more moral.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Pmdww2

      God loves all of His children, gay and straight.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      America isn't doomed. It just has a finite lifespan the same as any other civilization.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • my oh my

      The self-appointed religious 'authorities' who made up the ridiculous dogma you believe cannot possibly know if a country is doomed. They can't even see that your cult is doomed. Your leader is not "America's Pastor" and you do not speak for or represent this country. What you represent is bigotry and nothing more than that.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Colin

    A quick quiz might help determine who has the moral and intellectual high ground in this debate.

    Q.1 You are about 80% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a gay person; or

    (b) a Southern Baptist

    Q.2 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gay man; or

    (b) A Southern Baptist

    Q. 3 Which of the following two propositions has more scientific weight behind it?

    (a) hom.o$exuality, and indeed all human $exuality is caused by a complex interplay between genetic factors and exposure of the fetus to levels of testosterone and estrogen very early in pregnancy; or

    (b) A god impregnated a Greco-Roman Jewish virgin with himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the original sin of a non-existent couple.

    Q.4 Which of the following statements is more accurate?

    (a) Gay people have a history of discriminating against Southern Baptists, including not allowing their children to associate with Southern Baptists, trying to ban Southern Baptists from marrying and banning Southern Baptists from serving in the military; or

    (b) Southern Baptists have a history of discriminating against gay people, including not allowing their children to associate with gay kids, trying to ban gay couples from marrying and banning gays from serving in the military

    Q.5 Who, out of gays and Southern Baptists, wants to base twenty-first Century American social policy on a collection of 2,000 year old Jewish mythology that was cobbled together into a book by semi-literate goat herders before the Dark Ages?

    Q.6 Have more Southern Baptist kids been beaten up, depressed and even committed suicide because of the actions of gay rights groups or have more gay kids been beaten up, depressed and even committed suicide because of the actions of groups like the Southern Baptists?

    June 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • TallinOK

      Spot on.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • just me.

      A response from Southern Baptists will not be forthcoming.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  13. Deez

    FANTASTIC! Take your hate away from our children!!!

    June 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  14. mama k

    Bill Moyers recently interviewed Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, science & biology. He is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Watch the video at:

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUeQXmYVamA&w=640&h=360]

    Dennett says that not for all, but for many, the dangerous thing about religion is that "it gives people a gold-plated excuse to stop thinking."

    This video is just an interview. Do yourself a favor and watch some of Dr. Dennett's lectures available on youtube. They are excellent.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Disanitnodicos

      The Soviet Union was the first state to have, as an ideological objective, the elimination of religion[1] and its replacement with universal atheism. The communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in schools.

      http://en.wikipedia.ORG/wiki/Religion_in_the_Soviet_Union

      June 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Billy

      The troll doesn't know much about Dennett, obviously. It also doesn't know what atheism is.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • UhOh

      Disanitnodicos = Chad

      June 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Pete

      "The troll doesn't know much about Dennett, obviously. It also doesn't know what atheism is."

      Yup, the more this troll posts the more they prove they're an idiot.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • oOo

      @Disturbed: Atheism means only one thing, one doesn't believe in a god or gods, nothing more. Ideologies of any stripe taken to extremes get people killed. That you mix concepts like atheism and twisted ideologies of dictators of past failed regimes just highlights your stupidity on the matter.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Yep

      He is the opposite extreme of religion. So why would I want to listen to his view?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Yep

      You would want to listen so you can understand the atheist pov and just maybe argue reasonably against it.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • mama k

      Although Dennett is an atheist, he doesn't advocate elimination of belief – he simply shows where certain beliefs have already been eclipsed by what we know now from science, and therefore need to be addressed by religion with the faith card off the table.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • wow this is strange

      RE: "The Soviet Union was the first state to ... ridicule religion... replace the national anthem..."

      They had Baptists too then? As fer including the national anthem in with religion... I'm gonna guess you belong to one of those ridiculous "Patriotic Christian" cults which are the latest rage in the fundamentalist caverns.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Paul Williamson

    The Southern Baptists are now sponsoring a group that reflects their true principlals -members wear a white hood, burn crosses on the lawn, and once in a while lynches someone because "Jesus told them to do it". you have to love those red-necks

    June 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • billfitt

      Are these Klannys you speak of from Indiana? Indiana by far had the highest KKK membership for decades.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • angus

      sad

      June 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Jerry

      When you use terms like redneck, it just shows your ignorance.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  16. Disanitnodicos

    Here's a video about how Jews (i.e., communists) are behind the push for gay marriage.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yLbF0BtZs4&w=640&h=360]

    June 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • mama k

      And with that theory, what do you do with the findings of the recent Quarterly Review of Biology?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Pete

      Hey troll keep showing you're an idiot. Get a real education.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Pete

      "And with that theory, what do you do with the findings of the recent Quarterly Review of Biology?"

      This uneducated troll won't know what you're talking about.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Disanitnodicos

      Lol, academia, including biology departments, are so overrun with post-modernism that anything they have to say about social issues is highly suspect. You should look into the history of post-modernism and academia.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • .

      "Lol, academia, including biology departments, are so overrun with post-modernism that anything they have to say about social issues is highly suspect."

      Erik

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Billy

      Nice scenery if they'd move that Koala bear out of the foreground.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • science

      Hey Disanitnodicos

      Is that you doogie/chad/Austin ?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Chrashtopher

      LOL, nice paste job, you ludicrous rube.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Akira

      Could you be any more ridiculous?
      At least you're a well-rounded bigot. Who else are you going to exclude, Adolf?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • just me.

      I actually watched this video.Thanks a lot!I now feel violated and totally creeped out.Strangely,this fellow doesn't allow comments on his youtube channel.Go figure.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  17. mama k

    The troll "Disanitnodicos" wrote that its video post explains "how the gay agenda is actually a front for communists."

    OK, all fun and games aside, another recent poster wrote that God hates the sin of homosexuality.

    Religions that agree with the poster's statement claim such a notion as an absolute moral truth. We know such notions are founded in ancient writings from millennia past. For many things we have learned about through science, beliefs have had to adapt to keep from looking silly and being out of date with current knowledge. This is simply another time where fundamental religions are struggling to keep up with current knowledge and throwing a hissy fit about the discomforting situation they find themselves in.

    We know that homosexuality has always been a naturally occurring feature across many species including mankind, and science is now getting closer and closer to answers on how it survives across generations. Now that the scientific research shows that homosexuality is not a choice, but formed very early via epigenetic factors (resistant to change), religions that abhor homosexuality look sillier than ever on the issue. For Christians in particular, I would also say their wildly conflicting Biblical interpretations regarding a wide array of topics including this one is just another indicator that their objective truths are anything but objective.

    For issues such as this, with the knowledge we have today, Christians need to come to the table without "scripture", and ready to discuss such issues rationally. Otherwise they will continue to face an ever increasing tide of distrust and an ultimate indictment of irrelevancy.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

    • =================================================

      Psychology

      The American Psychological Association states "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people", and says most people's sexual orientation is determined at an early age. Research into how sexual orientation in males may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises concerns about genetic profiling and prenatal testing."

      Professor Michael King states: "The conclusion reached by scientists who have investigated the origins and stability of sexual orientation is that it is a human characteristic that is formed early in life, and is resistant to change. Scientific evidence on the origins of homosexuality is considered relevant to theological and social debate because it undermines suggestions that sexual orientation is a choice."

      The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

      "Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person's fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice."

      Biology

      The following is from the article:

      Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find (12/11/2012 – LiveScience)

      [ The search for a "gay gene" may be off-target, new research finds. Another process called epigenetics that switches genes on and off may explain why homosexuality runs in families.

      Epigenetics are heritable changes caused by factors other than DNA. Instead of traits getting passed down through the genes, epigenetic change happens because of the way genes are regulated, or turned on and off.

      These genetic regulators may be the reason homosexuality persists in nature despite the fact that gay people are less likely to reproduce, suggests the new study published in the journal The Quarterly Review of Biology.

      "These things have evolved because they're good for the parents, but they sometimes, not [with] high frequency, but sometimes carry over" into offspring, study researcher William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience. In a male fetus, Rice and his colleagues write, an epigenetic change that benefited the mother may lead to "feminization" of sexual preference — homo- or bisexuality. The same may be true for epigenetic changes passed down by dad to a female fetus. (The terms feminization and masculinization of sexual preference refer to sexual orientation only — not to physical or personality traits of the offspring.)

      The findings add to past research suggesting gay men haven't died out, because female relatives of gay men tend to have more children on average than other females. The study researchers specifically found that two genes passed on through the maternal line could produce this effect.

      Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

      Rice and his colleagues focused on epi-marks, which are molecular changes that act like temporary "switches" to turn genes on and off. If a gene is a blueprint, the epi-mark is the construction foreman who makes sure the product gets built. An epi-mark also determines when, where and how much a gene is expressed, according to the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

      These molecular switches are usually erased very early in the developmental process, but they can be passed down from generation to generation, too, Rice said.

      Some epi-marks are particularly important during fetal development, when they promote normal physical development in the sexes despite natural variations in testosterone during pregnancy. Researchers know that fetal exposure to too much testosterone can masculinize the genitals, brain or behavior of a genetically female fetus. Likewise, too little testosterone can make a genetically male fetus more feminized.

      But here's the catch: There's lots of overlap between the levels of testosterone male and female fetuses get exposed to. That means there must be another side to the story, Rice and his colleagues wrote.

      That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

      "Early in development, we think these epi-marks are laid down so that girl fetuses will be relatively insensitive to testosterone and male fetuses will be relatively sensitive to testosterone," Rice said.

      Biological behavior

      Thus, if an epi-mark that kept a mother from getting exposed to high testosterone in development gets passed on to her son — the opposite sex — it could desensitize him to testosterone, contributing to his sexual preference for men. Similarly, if a male-specific epi-mark from dad gets passed to a daughter, it could "masculinize" her sexual preference, making her more interested in women.

      These findings could explain why twin studies show that homosexuality runs in families, but no "gay gene" can be found, Rice said. In identical twins, there's about a 20 percent chance that if one twin is gay, the other will be too. If genetic change were responsible for homosexuality, you'd expect a much higher match, Rice said. Epigenetics, however, can explain the heritability without the need for a specific genetic change.

      The hypothesis could be tested by examining epigenetic marks in parents of kids with gay versus straight offspring, Rice said. There are, of course, concerns that this knowledge could be used by parents who want to avoid gay offspring, Rice said, but that concern already exists around certain hormonal conditions in utero, which are known to contribute to an increased chance of offspring being lesbians.

      "That cat's already out of the bag," Rice said. He added that an understanding of the biological underpinnings of homosexuality could help emphasize that same-sex behavior is not "unnatural."

      "In fact, it's a major part of the natural world," Rice said. Fourteen percent of Western gulls raise chicks in female-female pairs, he pointed out. And 8 percent of male sheep show zero interest in fertile ewes, but get sexually excited by other rams. ]..

      June 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • S Reid

      The Scouts will be better off without them if that is the way they feel. Jesus didn't leave a group of sinners to hang with his own crowd. I'm really tired of people who spout religious 'morality" when it is actually their fear. I say hypocrites! Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Hooray for the Scouts!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  18. tre

    ...............Baptists..........the NEW and MORE crazed Archie Bunkers.................

    June 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • billfitt

      ..............Gays and atheists..........the NEW and MORE crazed Jeffrey Dahmers................

      June 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Obvious

      troll (billfitt).

      June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • CallUOut

      I'm sure we'll be soon reading about billfit being arrested on his knees at an airport bathroom. Hypacrit.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  19. sam walston

    good for the baptists for standing up to this imorality that is taking place among the politically in-correct generation.

    June 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • .

      "good for the baptists for standing up to this imorality "

      Janet

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime (Leviticus 20:13), it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • billfitt

      You've got that right! These sic kos need to keep their sick ness in their own beds, and out of kids pup tents.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @sam walston

      You said, "good for the baptists for standing up to this imorality that is taking place among the politically in-correct generation."
      The backlash against the religion inspired hatred isn't out of political correctness. It is the decent thing to do. It's the decent thing to do because discriminating based on a fairy tale isn't just moronically stupid, it is also immoral.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Michael

      Using your logic non of you should be shopping at any store, dont watch any sports, dont support your US military because ALL of them employ or allow gays and lesbians to serve and be hired. Your logic does not make sense.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • angus

      .

      So if it "is my nature" to be a pedophile, that makes it ok and you should not condemn that?

      June 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Pete

      "So if it "is my nature" to be a pedophile, that makes it ok and you should not condemn that?"

      There are pedophiles in our society and if you think you are one then go seek professional help. Pedophiles cause harm to children and if you can't get that then that speaks volumes on your uneducated opinion.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Apples and oranges angus.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • CallUOut

      I say good for the Baptist keeping their bigotry away from perfectly normal children. Tell me how many of their congregation are guilty of lazy (sloth) and because of that laziness and over-indulgence in food (gluttony), two of seven of their touted "deadly sins"? Let he without sin, cast the first stone! Take your hate, bigotry and hypocrisy along with your fat, lazy asses and GET OUT! No wonder people are running from religion with hateful goons like the Baptist labeling themselves as "Christians". No wonder Jesus wept!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Disanitnodicos

    Here's a pro-gay-marriage ad that features kids cursing. TRIGGER WARNING: this pro-gay-marriage video features little children using the F-word, so if that offends you, please do not watch the video...

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TMTrpugT0E&w=640&h=360]

    June 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Pete

      Wow are you an idiot, do you really want to pull all the videos out there where kids use the f-word not gay related, it's still not an excuse for your uneducated opinion about gays.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Disanitnodicos

      Nah, the gays aren't trying to corrupt your children or anything.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • .

      "Nah, the gays aren't trying to corrupt your children or anything."

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

      Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

      A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

      Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • TiredODaCrap

      HILARIOUS!!!! Having little kids flaunt the F-Bomb and talking about "family values". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA
      Typical from this group, though. HATE HATE HATE to those who don't agree, then cry foul when they get called on it.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Golly gee, didn't that Rutgers coach use that word?
      And no, gay people are not trying to influence children. My goodness, you don't know anything about gay people, do you? Gay people don't "recruit."

      But Baptists do.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Pete

      "Typical from this group, though. HATE HATE HATE to those who don't agree, then cry foul when they get called on it."

      The fact you're judging an entire group based on this bogus video shows you're on stupid person.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Pete

      "you're on stupid person"

      You're one stupid person.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • TiredODaCrap

      And your inability to check your spelling before you hit 'enter' shows your's.... What's your point!

      June 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • billfitt

      What sick and dirty people. It's so sad what they do to the kids that are exposed to them. Obama and his "love who you want' selfish diatribe to get votes is responsible for so much of this insanity.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • .

      "What sick and dirty people. It's so sad what they do to the kids that are exposed to them. "

      YeahRight

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

      Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

      A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

      June 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.