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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. Donna

    The Boy Scounts of America lost all credibility when the buckled to pressure. My respect for them is gone.

    June 3, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • JamesK

      You'd rather they buckle to pressure from you then?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • MalcomR

      Suck it Donna.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • David Johnston

      If people wanted to do the right smart thing they would leave the Baptist Church in Mass.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • candi

      Silly David. Baptist churches don't say mass.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Ken78

      AMEN!!!!!

      June 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Athy

      David, how about the remaining 49 states?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Donna! Back again to delight us with your in-depth analysis, I see.

      And your brot your 3 surviving brain cells along with you, too! How sweet. I'm sure they're lonely.

      June 3, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  2. borisgv

    Well, I guess if the Southern Baptists are going to boycott the scouts, they also ought to throw out every female in their congregation who works, cuts her hair, and isn't 100% subserviant to her husband. They also should throw out anyone who has a job and works on Sundays.

    Afterall, if the are going to take the bible at it's exact words I'm sure they wouldn't want to be hypocrites about it.

    And on a different note, I think that anyone who doesn't live in a cave or under a shroud of hypocrisy knows that being gay isn't a choice. I don't know one gay person who is glad they were born that way, but they owe it to themselves to live with it and make as much happiness in their lives as they can.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • John

      That depends how you define Sabbath. I think most people agree that Saturday is the Sabbath as it's the last day of the week, although Sunday is the day chosen to worship. So it would be working on Saturday that's a no-no.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What about those who get an abortion? Believers in the USA have about 700,000 abortions per year – a large number these must be for SBC cult members.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Ken78

      Celibacy.

      Next question?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Paul

      Ken, celibacy is fine if you deem it necessary, but even without a physical component everyone still needs a loving romance and the right to marry the person they love.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |
  3. Hate-Based Religion

    Seriously though, there's no evidence that God even exists.

    Why spend your life hating people who are different than you?

    June 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Donna

      Seriously, who do you think created all this – Tinkerbell? I mean, come on...this stuff didn't just appear.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • MalcomR

      Yes it DID just appear. There is a state of existence called the "primordial vacuum" which is, in fact, an unstable state in which energy fluctuations occur all of the time. This has been known for a long time and can even be tested (look up Casimir Effect for starters). There is nothing in physics that prevents these fluctuations from having any arbitrarily small or large level. With enough energy, you will get > 10exp80 particles "condensing" out (actually forming on-resonance oscillations in the various fields as described by Quantum Field Theory).

      June 3, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • JamesK

      Donna
      If you believe in God then you're more likely to also believe in Tinkerbell. Also, the Big Bang theory doesn't suggest that the universe just appeared out of nothing. A universe out of nothing is a Christian concept. Supposedly that's how God created it, right?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Jon L.

      Hey Donna, then who created God, did He/She just appear out of nothing? you should go ask the burning bush for answers, who knows, maybe Tinkerbell is God.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • Athy

      C'mon, guys. Give Donna a break. She's not an astrophysicist, she's a biblophysicist!

      June 3, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Is "biblophysicist" a synonym for troglodyte?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Everyone has a choice, mine is to believe...

      but what your doing and saying to Donna isn't bullying? Telling her she's stupid becauase she believes in nothing like you. Even though in all reality, your science doesn't= out. A b does not =c.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Athy

      Everyone. Maybe you would like to repeat your post so it makes some kind of sense.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • ms jackson

      Tinkerbelle is actually one step above God in the realm of Mental Midget Fantasies. In the case of Tinkerbelle, it's because the children are afraid to sleep. In the case of god, it's cause the childish adults are afraid of the big sleep (and often correctly have no faith in their own meager innate abilities). The latter type can only absorb the Disney version of Christianity and they always have pleasant dreams. I say enjoy the security blanket while it lasts but don't try to throw it over sensible humans. Dust to dust is about the truest statement in the Bible. You'll be dust one day too. Meanwhile I'll be setting out my pentagrams on your behalf.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • Gerry

      Everyone has a choice, mine is to believe...
      Unless Donna has some kind of evidence to support her claims her whole line is stupid.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  4. Ray Serbach

    For the sake of argument even if you truly believed it were a sin...are sinners prohibited from church?...and since when? That is not biblical, nor is it in keeping with teachings of Jesus. Wake up people....church is for sinners from all walks of life. A church is not a country club for perfect people without sin.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Churches are for those with no mental capacity to judge reality, and those who are societally bound to continue the charade, including many preachers.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Dippy

      What are churches for? Perpetuating the religious mythology. Comforting the feeble-minded believers. And, admittedly, doing some charitable activities.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Ken78

      So you are willing to acknowledge that it IS sin? Right? Because that is sort of the point.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • MalcomR

      @Dippy: I agree, and sociopaths will do good things also, as long as it supports their underlying plans.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Juanito

      I can't answer for any other church but for the church I attend.

      You're right in saying Christ searched for the lost, walked and dined with, and healed sinners.

      And each time, He said 'sin no more'. So, He asked those He was in company with to change. His apostles, followers, the sick, everyone.

      We are all sinners. And to be in His company, He will ask the same from everyone. We each have yearnings as we all are trapped in this flesh and this world, so no one is immune from temptation.

      Even Jesus was tempted while in the living flesh.

      Just as It is with all addiction, it's our choice to turn from that which tempts us, or to submit to it.

      What helps is a heartfelt desire to stop, intense prayer, fellowship with others who went through the same thing, and staying away from environments that might tempt one.

      In His love, Juanito.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • MalcomR

      "Jesus" did not exist as an individual. "he" was an amalgam of at least 5 pre-existing mythological characters from different cultures. "his" myth was developed and enhanced over many hundreds of years.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |
  5. MalcomR

    To all of the h o m o phobes out there: Why do you specifically pick gayness to be so worth attacking when your bible calls many, many other things – things you all do daily – abominations and worthy of death? Please give us your best try at explaining this discrepancy.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Ken78

      To what do you refer? Adultery? Perjury? Drunkenness? Theft? Murder?

      When you decide to label those things as perfectly good, decent, and moral, and that anyone who says otherwise is an intolerant hater, then we will speak out about that, too.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Err, no you silly human. I'm talking about things like wearing mixed fabrics, working on sunday, being a ra pe victim, disobeying your parents, etc.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Ken78

      Sorry, I don't do any of those things . Do you think they are sins?

      June 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Ken: I'm not sure whether to congratulate you on wearing only one fabric at a time and never disobeying your parents (thus making you quite abnormal), or pity you for being a liar yet calling yourself a xian. It's a toss-up.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Juanito

      Malcolm, the things worthy of physical death were spelled out in Old Testament.

      The Old Testament serves as a mirror to each one of us to show that there is nothing a person can do on his or her own to be in the presence of the Holiest of Holies. Obeying everything specified in Old Testament, no one can do without failing.

      Jesus proved to fulfill the prophesies and, through God's grace, provide salvation for those accept Him. In doing so, God turned the whole thing around.

      No longer to we have to make sacrifices in detailed ritual, hoping God will accept it. Instead, God turned it around and gave a sacrifice for us to accept.

      No where is the New Testament did Jesus or the apostles preached or instruct to kill anyone who sins or those who dont accept Jesus.

      For those choosing sin over salvation, the death suffered is spiritual and eternal, not physical. But considering the former is much longer than the latter, which death would you consider more horrendous?

      In His love, Juanito.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:39 am |
  6. McDuck Quackerton

    Don't let the door hit ya...

    June 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  7. Clear and Present Thinker

    Baptist leaving? That should raise the intelligence and integrity level of Scouting leadership.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  8. DamonH

    "God’s word explicitly"

    so you actually heard him say this or are you reading an interpretation ... yeah, that's what I thought. Nobody knows what the "Word" originally meant, it's been changed and reinterpreted throughout history. Baptists are just being bigots and using religion to justify it (not that far off from what radical muslims do .....)

    June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom

      Baptists...interesting to see that we have the American Taliban in America.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Ken78

      American taliban in America, huh? What, as opposed to the American Taliban in Canada? Or the Ecuadorian Taliban in America?

      If you think that all the Taliban did was leave the Boy Scouts when they disagreed with its policies . . . well, prayers sent.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  9. Michael Martinez

    Nothing fails to demonstrate Jesus' love and tolerance for everyone quite like the intolerance practiced by so-called Christian churches today. They have completely abandoned what Christianity is supposed to be all about.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Jesus was a racist.
      from Matthew 15:22-26:
      A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dog."
      Except that word he used for dog meant female-dog.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Ken78

      I always love it when those who reject Christ tell those of us that believe in Him that we're "doing it wrong."

      I don't tell you how to practice atheism. Don't be so arrogant as to presume to tell me about Christianity.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • mama k

      Ken78: "Don't be so arrogant as to presume to tell me about Christianity."

      It's impossible anyway since there are over 40,000 frequently conflicting sects of that madness.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Ken: Read the studies. We atheists know more about your religion (in fact all religions) then you do. It's because we're smarter than most. It's ok, you shouldn't envy us, that would be a sin.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  10. rinsac

    good riddance!

    June 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  11. Proud Atheist

    The Babble says that ho mose xuality's a choice, so it must be the truth. The Babble is God's word, and I know this because the Babble tells me that the Babble is God's word. BS!

    Ho mo se xuality is NOT a choice. People are born with their se xuality.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Ken78

      Who you have s__ with is ALWAYS a choice, Always.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:07 am |
  12. Max

    The Baptists are nice conservative folk who didn't much like the mixing of the races or women being allowed to be their own masters either. Their god's a real charmer too – an all powerful being whose best idea for getting his favorites out of Egypt is to kill all the new born babies, because as any parent will tell you, new born babies are terrifying. Let them keep their vicious god. We'll keep the scouts and science.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  13. Scott

    What would be interesting to know is how many of the gaylords and gaylord sympathizers that are on here castigating the Southern Baptist's decision are actually involved in Boy Scouts versus just аnаl venting about their favorite perversion.

    Scott

    June 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Obsidian Order

      Gaylords. Are we talking about that spitball pitcher from the 1970's?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Hate-Based Religion

      What a gay thing to say Scott.

      Don't you think it's time for you to finally come out of the closet?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • MalcomR

      It has been shown that the most vocal opponents of "gayness" are, in fact, highly likely to be closeted gays thamselves.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • MalcomR

      It has been shown that the most vocal opponents of "gayness" are, in fact, highly likely to be closeted gays themselves.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Scott

      Hmmmm, the respondents didn't answer my question. That tells me that they are just аnаl venters and really don't have a dog in this hunt.

      Scott

      June 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Scott, it seems you may be an idiot. I was a boy scout but am no longer involved. I'm straight and not an idiot, therefore I feel that it's ok to have discussions about things I'm not directly involved in.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Steven

      You DO know that it was snotty little bigots like you that crucified Christ, don't you? Haters- the same in every era...

      June 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Obsidian Order

      @Scott

      I am am a very strait male who thinks Sofia Vergara is HOT!!

      That having been said, I am also ADHD!! I have a very different wiring. I also have been hurt by societies prejudices in trying to make me do things that go against my wiring.

      My ADHD elevated my math talent to where I finish math tests twice as fast as everyone else.

      I am a very out of the box thinker that hit a career glass ceiling simply because my wiring made me have a different set of skills that inhibited me from climbing the corporate bureaucracy. Steve Jobs, who was also ADHD would never have been the CEO of anything had he been forced to climb a corporate bureaucracy.

      We live in a society that is inherently prejudicial to those who do things different and this includes Aspergers, Dyslexia, orientation, ADHD .. etc

      The one saving grace is that the founders of successfully silicon valley startups are overwhelmingly wired different. Those companies are driving the economies of the future. Those companies welcome those who are wired different.

      The cool thing is those who are so prejudice that they cast aspersions to anything that is wired differently than they, are on the wrong side of history and will be economic ghettoed from the rapid growth high paying jobs in the future.

      Simply put, if you are not curious of how the natural and physical universe works then you can not participate in the science and technology jobs of the future.

      Simply put, if you do accept people of different wirings,including orientation, in your decision making processes, on average, your business and personal decisions will be less complete. Thus it will be harder for you grow both personally and professionally.

      @Scott is simply on the wrong side of of both facts and history. Good luck in your future endeavors.

      June 3, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Obsidian Order

      OOPS!! MY ADHD left out a not

      -
      Simply put, if you do not accept people of different wirings,including orientation, in your decision making processes, on average, your business and personal decisions will be less complete. Thus it will be harder for you grow both personally and professionally.

      June 3, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  14. mama k

    A recent poster, Devin, wrote "h o m o s e x u al i t y remains the same, a perversion of human s e x u a l i t y."

    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 be 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 11:30 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 11:31 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Good post. Thanks.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Jason B

      We don't need anything but scripture to back us up. It's your CHOICE to listen and accept or not. That's it, nothing else is needed.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • MalcomR

      That's right Jason. You're a good little robot. You can go back to playing with the other robots now.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jason B

      You said, "We don't need anything but scripture to back us up. It's your CHOICE to listen and accept or not. That's it, nothing else is needed."
      You are free to remain blissfully ignorant.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • mama k

      And that's what the RCC tried to do with Galileo's work. So you still don't believe in the discoveries of Galileo – do I have that right??

      June 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • mama k

      So let's review. Jason and Malcolm only need scripture and maybe still believe the earth is flat or the sun is not the center of our solar system. Well, OK, if scripture is all you need . . . . .

      June 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • mama k

      Excuse me, just Jason for thinking we only need scripture. And thanks for the thanks, MalcomR.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • MalcomR

      No problem. Of course I would never make that kind of mistake on an internet forum. God forbid...!

      June 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Devin

      Well, I think I may need to rethink my entire moral paradigm. It's quite obvious that if " 14% of western gulls raise chicks in female-female pairs" this is an open and shut case.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • MalcomR

      Now Devin, this is the mark of a petulant child with nothing to fall back on. Clearly the literature on the subject encompasses far more than gulls. You should really research it, and then definitely rethink you entire worldview as it is obviously wrong, as shown by all of science and rationality.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  15. Reality

    Please read the referenced article before commenting:

    From the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Gay-gene-deconstructed.html
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ======================================================================================

    June 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Phil

      If there are any gay genes they're in every bloodline and will never disappear. However, it's very unlikely that it's genetic in origin otherwise we would be able to see patterns. It's more like left-handedness.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • sympatico

      "In a third experiment the subjects were corrected with a wooden ruler following any attempt to write with the dominant hand. After three months the subjects who had been consistently corrected displayed symptoms of emo personality."

      I think you're right Phil. There is a definite correlation between left handedness and being emo.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  16. reality check

    The reason most scout troops are in churches is that in the past it was a physical plant to meet in. That is the innocent reason. The more sinister reason is that the churches could then continue the brain washing propaganda.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Devin

      AJ
      It's very simple, I don't consider it a myth.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  17. Devin

    You can justify it, rationalize it , legislatively approve it, call it hip and en vogue, whatever. At the end of the day h o m o s e x u al i t y remains the same, a perversion of human s e x u a l i t y.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Devin,

      Do heteros engage in any "perversions" that you can think of?

      Skip the HYPOCRISY.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • AJ

      – How do you rationalize living your life based off a 2000 year old myth?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Devin

      Possibly. That has no bearing on whether or not h o m o s exuality is morally wrong. Perhaps there is a local Community College nearby where you could take an intro. course in logic and critical thinking?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • AJ

      Baptist aren't leaving the Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts are finally ridding themselves of the ridiculious belief in Christianity. Finally, welcome to the modern world. Trust in science, not myths.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • MalcomR

      "h o m o s.e.x.ual" behavior exists in a huge variety of species in nature. here are even some very good evolutionary theories as to how a given frequency of same-s.e.x behaviors in a population can be beneficial. Look it up.

      This word filter is childish and embarrassing.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • mama k

      Please entertain us with your knowledge about morality, Devin. By all means.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • mama k

      Shall we start by discussing objective "truths", Devin?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Devin,

      Since heteros engage in "perversions" too, why aren't you picking on them? There's LOTS more of them.

      Any answer other than HYPOCRISY?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • mama k

      Don't be bashful now, Devin.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Devin

      Malcolm. Male baboons will kill and eat the offspring of other baboons. What's your point?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Devin

      Observer

      I concur with your first sentence. However, I would suggest you reconsider the context of this article.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Devin

      Mama
      Where would you like to go with this?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • mama k

      So far Devin shows he can side-step. You might be good at doing a samba, Devin!

      June 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Devin: Whether someone (human or otherwise) kills and eats their young has very little to do with where they like to sitck their junk, wouldn't you agree? Or do you really place infant cannibalism on par, morally, with butts.e.x.? Really?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Observer

      Devin,

      I would suggest you consider the Golden Rule. It's "WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABO

      I know it's lots more fun for you to pick on gays.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • mama k

      I think Devin is being bashful about wanting to discuss his source for his moral opinion.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Devin

      You misunderstand, I'm not at all "picking on gays". I've got my own personal list of sins that are no more or less egregious to God.You need to grasp this simple concept: The Golden Rule is not some carte blanche statement that precludes one from having opinions on issues of moral truth.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Ken78

      AMEN!!!!!

      June 3, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  18. Observer

    The Bible discriminates against slaves.
    The Bible discriminates against women.
    The Bible discriminates against the handicapped.
    The Bible discriminates against gays.

    At least it is consistent.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Inaccurate

      You are wrong...consistently.

      The Bible places slave traders in a category of immoral, reprehensible and vile people.

      The Bible elevates the value of women higher than any society.

      The Bible has more care and compassion for the sick (handicapped) than any liberal or conservative cause will ever muster.

      The Bible says that same s. ex is not the way it was intended and is wrong. You can debate that, but since same s. ex will never procreate I don't know how anyone anywhere can ever realistically say it is natural.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • MN

      just because two people cant procreate does not mean their relationship is unnatural. there's a lot more to life than popping out kids and then dying. a lot of people dont even want kids. theres so much more to life.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Devin

      There can really be only one of two conclusions drawn from your statements:
      1. You've never read the Bible.
      2. You've read it, without comprehension.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Inaccurate

      @MN – Actually, it does mean their relationship is unnatural. Biologically speaking, it is pointless. Further, if natural selection were really true, in enough time there would be no same s. ex people because since they cannot procreate the "physiological wiring" that leads to that behavior would all be left aside the evolutionary path.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Observer

      Inaccurate,

      Gays and lesbians can reproduce. Please take a basic course in biology.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Inaccurate

      No, they cannot reproduce.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Observer

      Inaccurate,

      Please take a Biology 101 class or read "Biology for Dummies".

      If a gay man and a lesbian wanted to have a child, they would be smart enough to figure out how to do it, even if you would be stumped. Please read more.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Inaccurate

      @Observer – you might be well served at this point to refer to a dictionary for the definition of same s. ex relations. A man of any preference and a woman of any preference having relations and producing a child is most definitely not it..

      June 3, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Observer

      Inaccurate,

      If all the world became gay and lesbian, reproduction would still occur.

      If the only purpose of s-x is reproduction, then skip all the hypocrisy and tell me about heteros engaging in s-x only for reproduction. Get serious.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:45 am |
    • Inaccurate

      The point was whether or not it was natural. It isn't and you can't deny it.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Observer

      Inaccurate,

      About 90% of people are born right-handed. Left-handed people therefore are are "unnatural".

      H0m0s-xuality exists in humans and many other species. Again, you need to read more.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • Mark

      Natural means occuring in nature does it not? We have yet to observe any species which does not exhibit it.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Inaccurate

      It isn't a percentage thing. Your attempt at a logical corollary failed. I know there are different types of reproduction, but tell me one instance of same s. ex reproduction (and just to point out I know a little about biology myself, I do not mean ase. xual reproduction).

      June 3, 2013 at 1:14 am |
  19. Justin

    Boy Scouts are chartered overwhelmingly by churches. If the group that you are supporting suddenly doesn't support what you are trying to do, you have every right to cut ties with it. That goes for politician and their special interest groups, the employer-employee relationship, as well as churches and scouts. Most of these posts fail to see this picture and focus only om "if you don't like this lifestyle, then shame on you. You should continue to support them and just change your beliefs too". Kudos to the baptist churches for standing up to public opinion. It is better to have an organization with a loyal group of people who aren't afraid to stand up for their beliefs than a much larger, more popular organization that has nothing to stand for.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Athy

      The boy scouts don't stand for anything? Hm, that's a shock.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Sara

      I couldn't agree more. If they have any difficulty with the reduced sponsorship they can just increase the membership fee a little more. It's worth it for what they do.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Nothing to stand for? How about reason, compassion, exploration, adventure, intellectual growth and such? And maybe not giving a flying blue f*** about a persons private personal lifestyle?

      June 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The scouts already let oin all sorts of people who disagreed with various elements of various churches. Heck, the mormons were hardly screaming about kids who drank caffeine being allowed in.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Jason B

      Well said Justin.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Justin

      Up until now it didn't matter what you did in your private life, and yes, I'm sure a lot of scouts were caffeine drinkers, or whatever. The difference is not being asked to leave it at home, they are now given liscence to have a platform. If a guest walks into your home, business, etc. and openly flaunted their beliefs in your face, you have every right to ask them to leave. If you walk into a Jewish synagogue and told the scouts it is perfectly fine to eat pork, or openly flaunted your caffeine/tobacco/gay lifestyle to a particular church that doesn't agree with it....then you should leave. Bottom line.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Justin

      ....or at least not expect them to supply the building, electricity, insurance, and whatever else that the church may provide to them.

      June 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Devin

      Seriously

      You do realize your entire statement is nothing but subterfuge? It has nothing to do with the reality of moral absolute truth?

      June 3, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  20. Galactus93

    I blame the Gays.

    June 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Obsidian Order

      I blame the Galactus93's

      June 2, 2013 at 11:21 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.