home
RSS
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. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Fine, good riddance. Want any help with your bags?

    June 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  2. .

    "Hey goyim, play with your feces. There's nothing wrong with it."

    Sociologists and psychologists hold that some of the emotionality in prejudice stems from subconscious attitudes that cause a person to ward off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. That's right folks homophobic people like this are just insecure and immature.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  3. BlindSquirrel

    Which is worse? A gay Boy Scout or a Baptist one? This could be a win for BSA.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      There's nothing at all wrong with any of the SCOUTS. It's the screwed-up adults who are ruining it for them.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Blind... If you don't already know the answer to that question, then you're not of God. Which is not surprising since you already admit that you're blind...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Disanitnodicos

    Hey goyim, play with your feces. There's nothing wrong with it.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Akira

      You speak from experience, I think.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  5. jimmy swaggart

    Jesus hates the hater but loves the hate.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Nick Swardson

      I hate haters.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Jimmy... You should stop lying on Jesus. And you'll have to answer to him for it....

      June 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  6. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    BSA has every right to condemn hindu gay ism, filthy hind love ism of hindu animals, ignorant secular s, self centered by nature, because it relates to none other other than human values, limits, foundation of civility on earth.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Loveit

      No one knows what you're saying.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I know you think of the Belief Blog as your own private playground, but I hope you're aware that absolutely nobody here takes you seriously — regardless of which alias you're posting under in any given week — because you're so incoherent nobody can figure out what you're talking about, other than that you seem to be a primo hater, probably in desperate need of serious meds.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      It takes a brain to realize truth absolute, and man kind in following of hindu animals, ignorant secular s, self centered have lost their brains in hind, darkness of hindu secular ism, ignorant self center ism.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I'll second that richardsrussell.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  7. Loveit

    Good!! It's a recurring theme in history, those who do not progress will be left behind. Let those "christians" continue with their nonsense of hate and exclusion. I'm 100% certain Jesus, whom Christianity is BASED off of, would be knocking on these baptists doors, reminding them that the one thing he stressed in his teachings was to LOVE. Little boys across America need to know that whoever they may be, want to be, or dreams that may have will be possible because they live in a society of acceptance. These are children, society is suppose to build them up, not tear them down. These baptists should be ashamed of themselves.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Duane

      They will pick up those children in the newly improved version of the Boy Scouts.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Falling off of top of mountain is progress only in mind of a hindu secular, ignorant self centered, otherwise height is domain of limit of truth absolute, and the one in following of truth absolute GOD in life.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  8. Disanitnodicos

    Jews think it's funny to tempt Gentiles to play in their feces.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Word idiot, secular, self centered is based on word idea, ideas in hindu secular ism, self center ism has no value, it is not way of hiuman, but hindu animals, ignorant secular s by nature, not human.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  9. Guest

    I don't brake for gay people.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You're really an idiot, aren't you?

      June 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • .

      "I don't brake for gay people."

      Sociologists and psychologists hold that some of the emotionality in prejudice stems from subconscious attitudes that cause a person to ward off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. That's right folks homophobic people like this are just insecure and immature.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      How do you know they're gay? Remember that news clip of George Bush holding hands with Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (a practice which, BTW, is very common in Arabic culture, which Bush knew from his oil days)? You would've just plowed right into them, wouldn't you?

      June 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Jim

    Hey, BSA! Come on over to the United Methodist Church! We take anybody!

    June 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Duane

      They will come. All it takes is effort on your part. Open your building, get involved. Meetings every week. events monthly, and even specials. They will need of up to 10 rooms, bathroom access and even access to a kitchen will be helpful. Please contact us and we will send a troop right over.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Mitzy

    Oh boy, now we can bring back the Dancing merit badge!

    June 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  12. The real Tom

    "Guest" is not terribly bright, is it?

    June 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Nice Try

      He seems smarter than you are. So what does that make you?...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Another Point

      It's called having repressed feelings for wanting to be like the very ones it criticizes. Only they don't have the gonads to admit it and come out strongly against them. Sad isn't it.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Nice try says: He seems smarter than you are.

      Yeah, this from the dipshit who can't figure out when to use "doesn't" and when to use "don't."

      You are a clown.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Science

    Chad how many pages have you generated today ? This thread is going to kick ass on the one with the funky sign in

    picture..

    June 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Skeptic

    That's the best news for the Scouts I've heard! Let the religious nutballs leave the Boy Scouts to do what they were designed to do without all that fundamentalist propaganda affecting them.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Nice Try

      God moves out. Lucifer moves in. And you call that good news. Go figure. Only an evil person would feel that way...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • guest

      So—you think it is good news for the Scouts, have you considered that the Scouts depend a lot on the contributions of churches for monetary support?

      June 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      There are plenty of churches that support the rights of gays. The Babblers aren't the only game in town.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Real Tom… You stated, "There are plenty of churches that support the rights of gays."

      Answer: Yes, but only the churches of Lucifer. And they'll be glad to have you…

      June 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, get a grip, Nice Try. Have you learned that the word "English" is capitalized yet? Or are you still taking those remedial classes for the slow of brain?

      You're as dumb as a box of hair and nothing more than a troll. I doubt you're a Christian at all and you probably never set foot in a church even if you pretend to be one.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Affirming Love Not Hate

      There are many Gay-affirming Christian Churches for everyone's information.

      Gay Affirming Christian Churches
      http://christiangays.com/links/christian_other.shtml

      June 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Guest" and "NiceTry" – glad to know you have a direct line to the will of god. Hope that works out OK for you.

      Back in reality – I don't believe this will have anything other than a positive outcome for the scouts.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Guest

    Why is it the smallest groups try to have the largest voices. Is it because they have to much time on their hands not being productive members of society.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I suspect you would know, since you're a perfect example.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • .

      " Is it because they have to much time on their hands not being productive members of society."

      Sociologists and psychologists hold that some of the emotionality in prejudice stems from subconscious attitudes that cause a person to ward off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. That's right folks homophobic people like this are just insecure and immature.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Nice Try

      It's because they are "brats" and it's the only way to get their way...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "That's right folks hømophobic people like this are just insecure and immature."
       
      Ha! At a quick glance, I thot this said that "hømophobic people like this are just insecure and *miniature* ."
       
      Come to think of it ...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Mirrored Image

      But also, RichardSRussell, we must be cognizant of the fact that these haters are most likely carrying repressed feelings for wanting to be just like the very ones they criticize. That's why they come out so strongly against them.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • G to the T

      You mean the Baptists? They are certainly a minority...

      June 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  16. howardfeinski

    Hey, why don't they just switch to the Pathfinders? It's modeled on the BSA, but they still are strict bible believers.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • G to the T

      OMG the Pathfinders sucked. I so wish I could have been in the Scouts instead...

      June 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  17. coderjones

    Moral Stance – based on a four thousand year old fabrication

    June 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Nice Try

      You shouldn't believe everything you hear, as apparently you have. You have been lied to my friend. The bible is very real...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • G to the T

      Nice Try – a "nice try" indeed. If you had looked into what scholars actually say about the history and creation of the Bible, you wouldn't be so certain in your stance...

      June 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  18. RichardSRussell

    Just one more reminder: The reason the entire denomination of SOUTHERN Baptists exists AT ALL is because they split off from the national Baptist church back in the 1850s. Their motivation then? They were absolutely convinced that their holy, infallible Bible commanded them to stand up in favor of slavery, and they refused to have any truck with those revisionist abolitionists who believed otherwise.
     
    Looks like not much has changed in 160 years.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • saneCanadian

      LIKE LIKE LIKE

      June 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      I've never heard this, although it makes sense. After a quick search I found that you are correct. Holy crapola!

      June 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • pwinwilliams4439

      The only thing wrong with what you wrote is that it is the absolute truth. There are many people who cannot
      handle that. They prefer living with their prejudices and delusional opinions. The Southern Baptists were
      banning blacks from their churches as late as the 1970s. If blacks appeared they would have them removed,
      after which they would all stand and sing "Stand up, Stand up for Jesus". I have been there when that
      actually happened. My late mother-in-law and her relatives were all in the congregation with their chests
      swelled out, singing lustily and shouting Amen Amen Hallelujah.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • billfitt

      NEWSFLASH! Most of the whites in the country at the time were OK with slavery. DUH! Washington D.C. had slaves, and Lincoln even offered to extend slavery until 1900 to avert war. Your obsession with slavery needs to include EVERYONE involved and not just Southern Baptists. On the other hand, you are so uneducated that you likely have no idea what I'm even talking about.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • OTOH

      RichardSRussell

      "Just one more reminder: The reason the entire denomination of SOUTHERN Baptists exists AT ALL is because they split off from the national Baptist church back in the 1850s. Their motivation then? They were absolutely convinced that their holy, infallible Bible commanded them to stand up in favor of slavery, and they refused to have any truck with those revisionist abolitionists who believed otherwise.

      Looks like not much has changed in 160 years."

      That needs to be a sticky note at the top of each page here on this article's comment section!

      June 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • billfitt

      As does OTOH'S ignorance and bigotry on the entire history of slavery.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Maddie

      Come to think of it, RichardSR, that could very well be why to this day you see just a small sprinkling of Black folks in that denomination. It is terrible to have treated them like what you have revealed. But God will judge them for their past acts because nothing gets past God, nothing. Thank you for this great revelation that needed to be made known!

      June 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • G to the T

      Billfitt – and yet – everything he said was true – even if you don't like it and/or want to distract from the issue by saying something like "all white people were in favor of slavery" which is OBVIOUSLY a red herring in this case.

      June 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Mike - WA

    Gotta love them hillbillies.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • billfitt

      Heck of a lot more than those gays. At least they can do things beyond shopping and interior design.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Dan

      They may not be good at math, history, science or English, but if you are looking for someone who can lose teeth before they are 30, look no further than the American Hillbilly.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • billfitt

      So did you lose all your teeth before twenty Dan? I bet that made your boyfriend deliriously happy! Gumgumgum! LOL!!!!!!

      June 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Dan

      Sadly i'm not a gay hillbilly like yourself bill, but i'm sure we can find someone else to fitt you.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • .

      "So did you lose all your teeth before twenty Dan? I bet that made your boyfriend deliriously happy! Gumgumgum! LOL!!!!!!"

      Sociologists and psychologists hold that some of the emotionality in prejudice stems from subconscious attitudes that cause a person to ward off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. That's right folks homophobic people like this are just insecure and immature.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Just the Same

      What we are seeing is more and more folks 'coming out' with their repressed feelings of wanting to be, or already are, just like the very people they criticize and show others that they hate. Medical scholars and others have often said that this is the case when they attempt to fight so strongly against another group such as the gays.

      June 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  20. dm

    No parent wants their children constantly subject to this controversy while they are attending this particular social organization. It's better to leave and find a more wholesome and productive activity.

    June 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Pete

      "No parent wants their children constantly subject to this controversy while they are attending this particular social organization. It's better to leave and find a more wholesome and productive activity."

      Well then you better take your children out of public schools. What an idiot.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      you believe they are going to start having gay classes or something then dm? teach the boy scouts gay ways of starting a fire? nothing will change

      June 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      It's time the KKK start a youth program for these nice familes to send their young men.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Daniel

      What could be more wholesome than including everyone and loving them no matter who they are?

      June 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Nice Try

      dm... Forget the controversy. Unless you want your child to be turned out, it's best to leave your child at home...

      June 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Daniel… So says the Fox to the chickens. I find it hard to believe you're really that stupid. Please tell us you're only joking. The devil and God don't mix. Never have and never will. Even the scriptures tell us to "separate ourselves" from unbelievers and from those who walk disorderly…

      June 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Daniel

      The devil and God mix perfectly as do all imaginary beings you sad left over from our superstltious past.

      People are born gay, it's just a simple fact proven by science. Anyone who denies this in favor of believing in invisible spirits who effect our s e xual preferences, as if you just have to pray harder to change who you are attracted to, is worse than a moron, they are flat earthers, denying obvious reality in favor of their imagined fantasy world.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • billfitt

      Saying that you were born gay, is simply your excuse for your love of the pleasure you receive when things are rammed in your rect um and throat. Just an excuse. Nothing more and nothing less.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • .

      "Saying that you were born gay, is simply your excuse for your love of the pleasure you receive when things are rammed in your rect um and throat. Just an excuse. Nothing more and nothing less."

      Sociologists and psychologists hold that some of the emotionality in prejudice stems from subconscious attitudes that cause a person to ward off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. That's right folks homophobic people like this are just insecure and immature.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Dan

      It's obvious when Christians like billfitt open their mouths that they are the ones with sick perversions of the mind. They can't hear the word "gay" without thinking about penis in asses. They love thinking about it apparently because they can't ever get beyond it, they just keep thinking about it going in and out, in and out, pulsating and then exploding in their minds. I'm sure that's also what they think of when they hear about a male friend who has just informed them they are dating a cute female co-worker right? Just right to pulsating penis in va gina as soon as they hear about a couple in love. They don't think about the romance, the hugs, the caring, the gifts, the flowers, the self sacrifice that comes along with truly loving someone else. It's obvious to anyone who reads these blogs that Christians are the worst kind of perverts.

      June 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154
Advertisement
About this blog

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.