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. Jen

    If they could just take themselves off the Earth, I'd appreciate it. I think they call it The Rapture and if it happened sooner than later, we'd have a better world.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  2. Bostontola

    Are members of the SBC allowed to work for a company that supports or hires gays?

    June 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  3. jimatmadison

    According to the old Boy Scout rules, you could be a Scout if you were porking every girl in 10th grade, but you could not be a Scout if you simply WERE gay.

    I guess the Baptists were OK with that.

    Passing rules against somebody based on who they are rather than what they do is bigotry.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  4. Michael

    The scouts are better off.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  5. blackyb

    The King James Bible and Schofield Bibles are what should be read for the Truth in meaning, I have found. Anyway, if you are not saved, reading the Bible to you iis a mystery and you will likely not understand it. It may be even boring to you. You will find after asking to be saved by Jesus your understanding is better and you thirst for the Word. Christian people have discernment much better and more completely than non-saved individuals. You have not because you ask not.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Pastor Bob

      I was "saved" and I eventually grew to understand that it was just a book of fairytales written by a bunch of bronze age goat herders.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • JOregon

      For I have read and studied the KJV for about 25 years – in depth.
      Yet we come to totally different conclusions.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      The bible is one of the last places I'd look to for moral guidance. Take no thought for the morrow? How am I supposed to live like that?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Gary

      There is no heaven, there is no Hell, and there is definitely is no afterlife.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      blackby,

      The bible is in no way boring at all. it is full of so much great fictional literature. it's awesome! I read it to my kids all the time (never at night though due to nightmares).

      June 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Molly

      Sounds so much like "The Emperor's New Clothes"

      June 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Doobs

      Oh, please. Just more of Christianity's elitist mindset. If your god wanted to communicate using a tatty old book, he sure didn't do a very good job of "inspiring" it, if the people who supposedly need it the most can't understand it without removing their brains first.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      King James Bible? Why should I follow something written 1400 years after the fact? they didn't even have the original manuscripts to translate from.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • billfitt

      No afterlife for gay gary, that much is for sure.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • billfitt

      So now the pastor is talking hate toward goat herders. What a bigot!

      June 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Looks like the bot censors got me on the last post.

      BTW – I am a southern, white, straight male with a family.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Billfit – you are right

      there is no afterlife for gays because there is no afterlife.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • billfitt

      And who told you this Scotty? Last night's gay lover? Quite a reliable source you've got there.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  6. Molly

    Leviticus 19:28 specifically prohibits tattoos. Why are scouts and scout leaders allowed to have tattoos? Why didn't the Southern Baptists back out earlier because of tattoos?

    June 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Gary

      Anyone, passed the age of eight years old, who still thinks the bible is your ticket to paradise, happiness, gold streets, and the super feeling you get when on pain pills, really, you need some serious therapy.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Don't even get me started on Leviticus. Are you rearing clothes made of different fabric?

      Don't let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

      June 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  7. rmarcb

    Here's a true statememt === those who support the gay lifestyle are just a bigoted towards anyone who disagrees with that lifestyle. They yell we should all love and accept, but they don't practice what they breach any more than than claim the baptist, or anyone who is religious does. Hypocrites one an all.. read the post...

    June 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Bostontola

      You apparently have no idea how to formulate a true statement.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Defending civil rights is not bigotry.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Molly

      Just what, pray tell, is the "gay lifestyle". And how does one support it?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Anthony

      You are right. Gays talk about love everyone. BUT THEY HATE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE!

      Well said. Very well said.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • billfitt

      Defending uncivilized rites is not a right.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Well... NO!

      How can you call us bigoted when we accept them? I accept everyone as they are. I might not agree with what they say or believe, but I let them be and live the way they wish.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  8. Scargosun

    Buh-bye! Don't let the door hit you on your way 'fleeing' scouting. Not agreeing with the gay lifestyle does not make you a bigot. What makes you a bigot is when you try to justify your opinion by suggesting their lifestyle should keep them from participating in organizations such as the BSA.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tooth Fairy

      Are you enrolling your son now?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  9. Thunder

    Are they taking their gay scouts with them?

    June 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tooth Fairy

      Seems like they are leaving then for you.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • billfitt

      Why? Do you want them all for yourself? What a greedy little perv!

      June 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  10. Molly

    It's not hate, it's about our belief in hate.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Science

    Current search on Bing chadie ..........bookmark update chad........3rd one from top of page.

    RDFRS: When Christians become a 'hated minority'

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/.../5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority

    11,000,000 results Any time

    June 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Science

      Hey chad looks like they are watching aye ?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  12. Jack O. Walden

    Please consider me no longer a Southern Babtist.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tooth Fairy

      LOL....did anyone ever?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  13. Apple Bush - Redux

    When I was in boy scouts our scout leader was my abusive step-father. Yes, all the parents trusted their children to a man who sexually molested his step-daughter, battered his wife and abused me. But he was not gay, so it was ok.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tooth Fairy

      LOL.....................we all believe you....wink wink You seem mad that he didn't....LOL

      June 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Toothy, that story is 100% true. I wish it wasn't!

      June 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  14. Hate-Based Christianity

    If Christians were anything like Christ, everyone would be a Christian. Sadly, most Christians are nothing like Christ. Instead they are hate-filled, hypocritical bigots with a pathological obsession with trying to run everyone else's life.

    The Boyscouts are much better off without the hateful influence of the Baptists.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Anthony

      What about the gays that hate religious people?

      Where's your freaking opinion on that?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Pastor Bob

      Anthony

      I don't know why people are so intolerant of your intolerance. Do you?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Anthony

      Pastor Bob,

      What a stupid statement first off for a forum. There is no room for smart asses in this forum.

      My problem with all of this is the blind stupidity of some gay supporters and some gays. They act like they are so open minded but they are very close minded over religious people. They bash and make fun of religious people all while saying they are open minded. Its stupid.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  15. David

    Thank God that one organization has the courage to stand against the acceptance of sin.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Join them.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • JOregon

      Actually the SBC blesses sin in the form of Adultery and celebrates when people commit adultery:
      Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
      Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
      They just like to pick and choose their sins.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  16. sparks2000

    the church isn't perfect,but atleast they got this one right-–whether you believe the bible or not,if you are going to follow the bible it is very clear on what it says regarding this issue

    June 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Do you wear clothes of different fabric? Do you eat food from rotated fields?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      And it's most likely wrong.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • sparks2000

      apparently you are missing the main focus of the law,which Jesus himself sums up in two commands-love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself

      June 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • JOregon

      Lutherans, Methodists, Unitarians, and Episcopalians all have Gays in their Ministry.
      The SBC on the other hand blesses and celebrates adultery.
      Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
      Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
      Jesus was the hardest on the religious hypocrites.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Sparks – I agree

      let's love our neighbors!

      June 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @sparks2000 – "love your neighbor as yourself"

      And the SBC is demonstrating this how? Am I missing something?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  17. jimatmadison

    So ignorant, bigoted parents INSIST on passing their bigotry on to their kids?

    Well, I guess it's their right, but it's the kids who are losing out.

    And it's the kids who will figure out just how narrow-minded their parents are as they grow up.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  18. Scott in Texas

    To a SBC person – what is the verse you use that says gays are bad?

    Just wondering.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • sparks2000

      Romans 1 for starters......there are many more......

      June 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Colin

      What does Romans 1 say and what are the "many othesr"?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      But paul just states there that you might be talked about by others. Where does it say it is wrong?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • sparks2000

      Colin-–I do not have time to write Romans 1 for you,but I'm sure you have access to a bible-you can see for yourself.And are you curious to know,or just ready to mock?

      June 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • sparks2000

      scott in texas-–read Romans 1: 21-29

      June 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      I know what Paul has to say in romans. It does not condemn gays.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • JOregon

      Every single passage in the bible that can even be construed to be speaking on Hom*ose*xuality is:
      1) Directed ONLY at the body of believers not the secular world
      2) talking about the ACT not the ORIENTATION. Many gays are virgins or celibate.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      the only verse I can find condemning gays is in Leviticus (20:13). then again, read chapter 19 before you want to believe in 20. 19 is super crazy.

      I am not gay, just can't find a reason to hate them.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Scott in Texas – actually, it does. I am an atheist who supports gay rights, but Paul in Romans clearly condems it.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Colin,

      I too am and Atheist, but I dis agree. Look at the words and you will see that Paul uses the same words to describe himself in other passages. He uses much harsher words when it comes to condemning an action. those words are never used by Paul in reference to gays.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • JOregon

      Paul in Romans was speaking to Christians about the Jews. They were the only people that knew God. He was addressing their inability to follow Levitical Law.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Scott in Texas

      Glad you brought up levitical law. Go read chapter 19. Here are just a few.

      Don't let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don't cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

      June 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • JOregon

      Leviticus was spoken only to the Jews, not the secular world.
      Leviticus 18:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  19. Just True

    Baptists are the most hypocritical hatemongers in all religion. You know you will always find hate, discrimination, bigotry and scandal in the Southern Baptist church. Love your neighbor unless he is different than you. If there is a God, he will punish them.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • David

      Love is not lacking, only the acceptance of certain behaviors.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • billfitt

      Love they neighbor unless he wants to bang you is the better philosophy.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  20. Colin

    It seems clear that, in the 21st Century USa, one is faced with a stark choice. They can be intelligent without religion or religious without intelligence. Our knowledge of science, history and the natural Univrse will no longer allow one to try and have a foot in both camps.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Bostontola

      That's true of some sects, but others not so much. I know many very intelligent Christians. It is strange that intelligence doesn't immunize a person from irrational viral ideas like god, but it is an objective fact.

      June 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Anthony

      Very dumb statement Colin.

      You can be intelligent and religious. Or should I say Intelligent and Christian. Its not an equation as you have suggested. One can be intelligent without religion. But to you, one can be religious with intelligence. Therefore you are saying that intelligence for religious people is based off their beliefs and not off science. A dumb statement.

      I know many scientists that are active members of their Church. They work for federal agencies and work extremely important projects that require a broad understanding. So without a doubt, you can be Intelligent and Christian or Intelligent and Religious.

      Or you can be stupid and closed minded like 90% of people (including you) are.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:11 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.