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. Ron

    I'm so glad I received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior many years ago. He gave His Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth. I have His Word and His Spirit to guide me and I am very thankful. So many are stumbling in the dark and cannot find their way. You need the Lord. Receive Him as Lord and Savior and you will know the truth, and the truth will indeed set you free. God Bless

    June 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • JJ

      You poor deluded fuck.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • jimkon

      I don't have a Lord as I'm not a dog.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Tranlation

      Sounds like you have been drinking the spiked Kool Aid and now having gas pains.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Anthony

      Praise the Lord! God Bless you my friend!

      June 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Michael

      Jesus was gay.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Sorry for your delusion.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Ron

      Anthony, ty and God bless you. Michael, I think you need a new Bible, yours is broken.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Cynthia

      Ron, had you grown up elsewhere in the world, you would probably have accepted Allah. You are just one more gullible fool, nothing more. Hey, I've got a pretty good used religion to sell you...

      June 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Athy

      If you need that belief, Ron, go for it. Religion is a good thing for the feeble minded. It keeps them out of trouble. The more intelligent folks don't need it.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Ron

      Cynthia, you have a lot to learn about God, and how He works. The elect will receive, the elect will believe. They will not follow false gods, they will receive the truth. "Those who were predestined before the foundation of the world" ...Ephesians 1 "He who has ears to ear let Him hear" Revelation 21-22

      June 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • ENR

      Ron, I'll never forget the day when I received that same Truth. It changed my life for the better in every way imaginable.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Obsidian Order

      Religion has caused more suffering than it has alleviated. Religion has suppressed mankind more than it has elevated it.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • ~My Path's View

      JJ...using the F word doesn't help your point. Use it all you want, but it just makes you laughable, at best. You are the deluded one 🙂

      June 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Ron

      athy, that sounds nice. But you still have a little problem. Its called sin. Unless you repent and receive Jesus Christ as Savior, you will die in your sins and go to hell. But I'm glad you consider yourself to be intelligent. Good luck with that.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Ron

      ENR, and My Path, amen God bless you both.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Cynthia

      Ron, I know much more about your religion than you do, you stupid deluded fool. Care to put that to the test, you ignoramus?

      June 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Ron

      Cynthia, god piss you too.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Ron

      jimkon, god bless your dog too. Hymen.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • faith

      Michael
      Jesus was gay.

      he is the most loving, caring, kind, thoughtful, sweet, good, decent, honest, fair, devoted, true blue, loyal, and the toughest most determined, most forgiving, most tender, masculine he-man friend who ever lived.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  2. faith

    what's the name of that book that traces the destru ction of every major civilization in history as each one manife st the same several factors including a massive military, internal moral co l lapse and the rise of h o m o se k ua l it y?

    June 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • JJ

      Your diary?

      June 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Tranlation

      Idk, is it the same book that talks about a man being swallowed by a whale and then being spit out alive? Is it the same book that talks about the world being flat? Is it the same book that says the sun revolves around the earth? Maybe it is the same book that kills off the first born child of those who don't please God? That book?

      June 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Michael

      The book of Scientology.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  3. jimkon

    The Bible is merely a book, constructed of paper and ink, written by guys who counted wealth by the number of wives you could afford, and is no more the "word of god" than Tom Sawyer or Green Eggs and Ham.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • faith

      true

      June 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  4. Heretic

    I wish they would just cut ties to the public altogether. Keep your religion in your home and coven.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • faith

      until then, u must fight their tooth fairy gawd and delusional beliefs 2 protect the world from the boogey men

      June 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  5. skb8721

    Good ol' religion - always bringing people together.

    And so much for "As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Nope, them Baptists don't want to be around gays, even if Jesus would have invited gays to his table.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • faith

      just like u want 2 b pals w/ white, rich, bigoted, phony, republican, gun toting anti-tax country club member religitards

      June 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  6. Seyedibar

    The Scouts are much better off separated from religious organizations. According to recent news, a poll comparing SAT scores with interest in popular culture found that students who listed the Bible as their favorite book consistently scored the lowest on the SAT. This also held true for students who listed their favorite music as gospel.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Athy

      That's consistent with other studies that show religious folks tend to have significantly lower IQs than atheists.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  7. Jim Weix

    Getting the Baptists out of Scouting is a good thing. We have seen enough results of extreme religions.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  8. faith

    to be a club member, every nazi god hating fascist has to vow to vote in favor of gay marriage. so far, not one of them opposes same secks marriage. what saints

    June 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Pete

      The Nazis loved God.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&w=640&h=360]

      June 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • HM8432

      Actually Pete, the Nazi's purposely misrepresented and twisted God's word for their own purposes. Hitler was only Catholic in name only. By the time the Nazi's got done with the German church, they had the sheeple believing that Jesus (a Jew), hated the Jews and wanted them dead. Pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw through this ruse, and called the Nazi's out on it. Many of them (including Bonhoeffer) were imprisoned and executed for telling Hitler that Jesus, and not himself, was God, and that God was not happy with the German people for losing their way.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  9. John Ski

    Alleged Religious Leader Promoting Hatred and Ignorance.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  10. Keith

    I am so ashamed at what the Southern Baptist Church is doing. It's like telling over 100,000 children to drop dead.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Keith, don't be silly, How would like it if someone told you to throw out a portion of the foundation of your beliefs. What if the Boy Scouts started cutting down trees, the tree huggers would move on, right???

      June 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Don't worry about it, nobody takes Baptists seriously anyway. God did not create religion, man did. Baptists created their own ideas and most people understand that these beliefs are foolish and not even close to what Jesus taught. They are just another fruit cake religion.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Sue

      Keith
      It really shouldn't be any surprise. They are the same churches that put up most of the opposition to Civil Rights, interracial marriage, and the abolition of slavery.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Rodboy is a Baptist apologist. Who would have thought?

      June 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  11. Jax

    Don't let the door hit 'em in the ass on the way out. xD

    June 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Don't be bitter , it is just a club that once had some guidelines, that are getting blurred a little. So time to move on , as beliefs and morals change.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  12. doG

    These hate-filled bigots are nothing at all like Christ.

    If Jesus came back today, the Baptists would crucify him all over again.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Rodboy

      What they believe is pretty clearly drawn out in scripture, so I don't think Jesus would mind here, however, the B ible talks a lot about gossip and slander which would hit lot of people.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Tranlation

      @Rodboy,
      Your observations of what Jesus would have done are clearly not based on scripture. I am a devote atheist who just so happened to be a minister first. You cannot support your claim that Jesus would walk away from any of these kids. In fact, Jesus said it would be better to tie a rock around your neck and jump in the water and drown, than to hurt a child. BSA members are children, and you want to toss them out? That is not Christ like, and there is no scripture to support your claim.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Sue

      Rodboy
      What did Jesus say about people being gay, specifically? The OT lumped it together with eating lobster, and almost no Christian alive today follows all the OT Law of the Jews. Paul had a bias against it, but he also had a bias against women speaking in church and people getting married, and Baptists have no trouble ignoring those teachings today. Why do you think that Jesus would have a problem with people being gay?

      June 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  13. aallen333

    In the same way churches split from their denominations after these denominations compromise the truth of God's Word through de-facto endorsement of h-mos-xuality, these churches are left no choice but to severe ties with the BSA. Not to do so would be to send a signal that they are in agreement with the BSA stance which would inevitably lead to similar behavior in their own Diocese. The reason the BSA enjoyed such unanimous sponsorship from Christian churches for decades was because they shared similar values. So I'm sure the BSA are not surprised by this departure after they themselves departed from these values. Indeed, I suspect the expected it. The question then becomes – if the BSA expected this, was their actions part of a broader plan to move the BSA away from its God centered ideology to that of a secular centered one. If it wasn't, I'm surprised by this lack of foresight because that's exactly where their actions will lead them. It will not be long before all references to God are also removed from the the BSA oath. And if anyone believes this is far fetched, they have simply to look at the current state of the Boy Scouts in England as an example whose decline also started with the compromise concerning gay scouts.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Kieth T. Maxwell

      Yawn....

      June 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Good comment , but all things come to end someday, only the truth is the truth forever.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Tranlation

      It sounds as though you are a firm believer in the great God in the sky and you will not give up on your little fairy tale. Even your fairy tale spells out the gloom and doom of their times and how the end is near. It has been 2000 years since the writers of your little fairy tale predicted the destruction of the earth and the coming of the lord. Each generation is convinced that theirs is the last because of how wicked the world has become... I suppose you will pass on your fairy tale to your kids and your grandkids and they will pass it down to theirs, and so on until the earth finally self destructs.

      June 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  14. Steve

    They need to read the Bible–for comprehension. Matthew 7 1-2, the third chapter of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, says, "Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged." The late, great Harry Nilsson had a line that applies to these "religious types." "You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear."

    June 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      You're quoting a man that even most biblical scholars think did not exist. Matthew was Greek mystery fiction based on the character of Levi the apostle.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  15. Huh?

    The Boyscouts shouldn't be in the business of teaching children to hate.

    That's the church's job.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  16. urnemisis

    Typical BIGOTED "Christian" hypocrisy! Hey, Baptists, don't let the DOOR hit you in the A S S on the way OUT!

    June 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • FlatulentFred

      I don't think its the door they are worrying about! Much ado about nothing! I married a camel and no one threw me a tickertape parade or a tax return with it. 8,000 replies – probably aren't 8,000 posts on any world tragedy i.e., Syria – maybe 9/11 – as stated previously a bunch wind generated by a bunch of overzealous hypocrites on both sides. "Jesus loves you though – but only as a friend." Me too.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  17. Joe Smith's #4 Wife

    Reason #665 why Jesus hates Baptists.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Ummm, Joseph Smith founded the Mormons.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  18. Epidi

    I was raised southern Baptist. The minister told my aunt I was demon posessed because when he tried to baptise me I scratched & bit him ferociously. I was a small 8 yr old girl, afraid of water & couldn't swim, and a stranger was trying to push me under it. I eventually learned to swim & overcame my fear of water. Religious people in authority positions still scare the crap outta me 46 yrs later. Nuff said.

    June 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • faith

      honey, u r demon possessed and afraid of drowning

      June 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  19. Jersey Jeff

    Bye bye Baptists. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

    June 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • dan

      Bye bye scouts is more like it. I guess now they will have a gay pride badge or some other nonsense. The folks with any morals about them will form another scout group.

      June 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Epidi

      There are some great Pagan sponsored scout troops. Come on over – we have cookies too. 🙂

      June 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  20. FlatulentFred

    Just pack Junior off with a soap on a rope and plenty of baked beans!

    June 2, 2013 at 7:26 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.