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.”
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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.
There isn't a family on the planet who doesn't tell their children, "Don't hang around [those people of their choosing]; because they are [insert negative input]. Does this make our children bigots because they follow our guidance not to hang around bullies, thugs or any other [choose the victim of your beliefs here]? So why is Religion any different? They are following what they believe in, let them believe. You don't need a Bible to be judgmental or a saint. So you tell me; what's worse, a group of people (Christians) who believe in what they can't see or prove, or a group of people (gay) who have reality staring themselves right in the face (human biology) and choose to completely ignore it and live in a fantasy world? All sounds like BS to me!
"or a group of people (gay) who have reality staring themselves right in the face (human biology) and choose to completely ignore it and live in a fantasy world?"
Exactly what are they ingoring, Mike? Are you up to date with biology?
I would not want my son to be exposed to such intolerant people. Bigotry based on religion is still bigotry.
Still waiting for people to begin an exodus from churches en masse.
That's fair; because people who don't believe in the key pillars of Christianity, like creation, traditional marriage and following the teachings of the Bible, should self-segregate themselves from the Church, just like Christians segregate themselves from Muslims, and Muslims from Judaism, etc; etc. I welcome "willful segregation". Why doesn't the gay community? I don't call Buddhists "hateful" or "bigots" or "ignorant" because they don't want to cross pollinate their beliefs with mine? Why should the gay community think they can have their own belief system and still be able to integrate it into any social organization of their choosing?
Jesus is my church. Not religion, not church buildings, just Jesus.
segregation separates us. it creates a distance from our own humanity. can we not find a way to unite?
@Seriously, Look, I am no longer a Christian but i do still remember a few random things. as in "Thou shalt place no other Gods before me." Jesus is NOT a God, he is half mortal at best and no creature with Mortal blood can become a God, not even you. I AM is the correct name for your God, actually one of a dozen such as YHWH, Jehovah or Yahweh. Jesus (pronounced Hay-Sus by the local Mexican American population who name their son's Jesus) is the SON of God, thus he is NOT a God.
By the way, as I recall the Christian Religion claims that their Devil is the Great Deceiver. Um... How are you sure he didn't switch the original writings?
If nature has reversed itself and placed within humanity a counter-reproductive instinct (biological), then we are in serious trouble. Every species, whether plant or animal, has a sole purpose of reproduction. There are certain species of fish that can change from female-to-male, but the purpose for this is to reproduce. Only humans willingly and ignorantly place themselves on a path of self-destruction all on the false pretense of their perceived superior intelligence.
I love pragmatism.
Pray tell how humans are doing what you claim.
You know noting of biology. Your "perceived" intelligence is on display here for the world to see.
That is a very pragmatic assessment of the state of things. If by "pragmatic" we mean "I read three sentences from an old article in Field and Stream and synthesized a world-view from it in two minutes". Very efficient and low energy to boot. Good job.
LOL – oh my it's a good think I wasn't trying to swallow my drink when I ready your reply, Malcom. Where do they come up with this crap?
@mama k: If I knew that, I'd probably win some kind of prize from the Journal of Abnormal Psychology or something...
I once again verified the definition of the word "bigotry". The rationalists (atheists mostly) here would allow all people of any orientation, religion, ethnicity, dubious background, etc, into an organization designed to build up the self-esteem and life skills of children. Whereas the religious here seem to be advocating the rejection of people (children) based on the advice of a book supposedly inspired by a sky-parent figure who is notoriously NOT tolerant.
Case in point, their God granted the power over animals to a 'profit' who then ordered bears to murder children who had made fun of him and he's God was fine with that.
In short, MY WAY OR DIE.
Strange, but it seems that those in this forum who have the loudest voices condemning "bigotry" by the Southern Baptists, are themselves demonstrating the very thing they claim to hate.
You are a very observant fellow.
That's your opinion, but you don't have to be so hateful about it.
putting this back on top for you.
Actually, that was an auto-correct moment. It was supposed to be respect, not reject.. Atheist don't judge one way or the other.
I will take you at your word, although as we type I'm telling my wife to get the defibrillator.
I can vouch for the fact that the the atheists I know (including myself) do judge certain things, and we are still human beings (as much as some theists would dispute). I judge religion (the concept and practice) to be wholly anathema to human well being. I judge the people that adhere to it to be, in most cases, the unfortunate victims of indoctrination. I judge the professional pract .i.tioners of it to be reprehensible.
It is true and important enough for me to bring it to the top for you to read.
Any atheist will agree. I promise.
go ahead and with the shock.
To Malcom's point
We judge like everyone else. But to mine, we still respect the beliefs of others. Your belief is no less important than mine.
So sorry, but I am an atheist and most definitely do not respect everyone else's beliefs. I try to respect the person but feel no need to respect craziness, and religion is nothing if not crazy.
I have been around the theological/philosophical barn on not a few occasions. It has been my experience that the majority, not all but never the less the majority, of atheist are rather antagonistic and condescending to those of religious persuasion, and more specifically, Christians. In all fairness, I have also seen a fair number of Christians return the favor.
I admire your candor. Your take seems to be the rule and not the exception.
It's hard to judge people separately from their beliefs. They are often defining characteristics of the person.
You can reject the belief but still respect the person. therefore you respect the person's right to believe in what they wish. I respect my parents and they are "bat-crazy" on the word. I don't believe what they believe in but I respect the fact that they can believe and do as they wish.
Very true MalolmR. The delusional believer I respect the most is someone I met before he became a pastor. I keep hoping it's just a phase he's going through, but it's been 25+ years.
@Scott: Yes. I have friends and coworkers that are, while not at the "bat s.h.i.t." level, still adamant about their personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Putting the gargantuan arrogance of that thought aside, I respect their right to hold that belief. Absolutely.
Sorry again, but I *do* respect everyone's right to believe whatever they want, but that is significantly different than respecting the belief. When accused of hating believers, I usually reply with something like "hate the sin, love the sinner."
The problem arises when one does not view judging and disrespect as mutually exclusive.
That is all I was really trying to say. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I don't respect you or your right to believe. I wish it went both ways but it doesn't.
@Devin: Ideally they are mutually exclusive. But the dishonest or irrational behavior of people sometimes drives me to merge the two into a blistering attack of sarcasm and massive ad homs. I am a flawed human being. *hangs head in shame*
Speaking of flaws, I noticed you previously posted a comment about "someone" using science only when it served their purpose. I am, by trade, a plant pathologist in the the service of Uncle Sam. I fully embrace the scientific method. It does not contradict my conclusions on moral truth.
@Devin: I wouldn't expect that it would. This is a hallmark of many theists, that they can easily compartmentalize their "rational" or analytical thinking from their religious thinking. It's called a mental dichotomy. Theists also (as I expect you do) have this idea that there is such a thing as absolute or objective morality as delivered by god. Obviously I reject that. Although I am not a moral relativist. I am convinced by evidence that we have a built-in basic moral set. Extending morals to s.e.xuality, what you can wear, what you can eat, who you can associate with, what days you can work on, what you smoke, etc. is purely a construction of religion designed to wield power over you.
Don't let the door hit ya where you **** !
No need to be vulgar.
Bless your heart
Supporting what most already intuitively know to be true (based on a wide variety of reported scandals among the piously anti-gay crowd), the following study indicates that those men who express strong h0m0phobia are likely just in denial of their own latent cravings . . .
If you leave, you don't get to earn the rank of Eagle. You leave that history, tradition and the elite club behind. If your sense of bigotry out-weighs your sense of achievement, then I guess the scouts aren't for you.
Or if you understand that no achievement is worth sacrificing your principles for.....
We agree on some points,,, nothing wrong with a little spirituality though,,, no speaking about religion here. In the end what makes us comfortable certainly helps. At the end of the day I don't want my son- gay/straight or otherwise, to be caught in a room with a knife to his wrists thinking there is nothing out there that loves hime. A belief in god,,, whatever you call it, can dig some people out of dark places when no one is around. I call it spirituality. I do not subscribe to organized groups that claim to know everything....
"Spirituality" is the modern, politically correct term for "superst¡tion".
The only way there's nothing wrong with it is if you have no self-respect for your own intellectual integrity.
That belief in god is what gets "non traditional" people (LGBT...) into those dark places to begin with. All religion fosters a mindless division between US and THEM when there is no actual division in anything that actually matters. Religious superst i tion is just plain horrible.
OK, time to lighten up a little. Here's one of the greatest comedy routines ever, from Emo Phillips, about how religious denominations get formed in the first place, and who they mainly see as the REAL enemy:
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"
"Why shouldn't I?" he said.
I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"
He said, "Like what?"
I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?"
He said, "Religious."
I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"
He said, "Christian."
I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
He said, "Protestant."
I said, "Me too! Are you Ep¡scopalian or Baptist?"
He said, "Baptist!"
I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
He said, "Baptist Church of God!"
I said, "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!"
I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"
He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!"
I said, "Die, heretic scµm!" and pushed him off.
Yeah, you gotta watch out for those '15ers.
The bible also says to love one another no matter what. So judge not least ye be judged. Maybe those pastors should practice that part of the bible a lot more. What people do is none of our business. That is between them and GOD. They do not sin against you Pastors, so what right do you have to judge one of Gods children? Jesus, I pray that You will forgive these pastor for turning on your creations and for judging them when they have no right to. I ask You Lord to give these pastors the strength to have an open heart toward all man kind. I ask that you help these pastors to open their hearts and not judge people for decisions they make that they may not agree with. And I ask you Lord to make sure the decisions these pastors have made has not hurt any childs self esteem. In Jesus name. AMEN
There is no lord. There is only the human intelligence here on earth to make sense of this. No one can change the ignorance of the SBC.
The Girl Scouts never banned gays and I wonder if the sanctimonious religious right ever realized that?
You are correct. My gay neighbor is a pillar in the girl scout community.
It's all about the h.o.m.o butt s.e.x. It always is with these people. They just don't like the butt s.e.x. Or maybe they like it too much...
It's because these guys actually find girl-on-girl action se xy. It's a complete double standard.
Girl on girl is the best IMHO.
Atheist don't force their beliefs on others. We reject the beliefs of others.
I almost went into cardiac arrest. At first glance I thought you said, "We respect the belief of others". When I realized it was "reject" I thought, now that's true to form.
Devin, it's true to form for EVERYBODY. We ALL reject all sorts of ideas we don't believe in.
Do you think the Earth is flat? I don't. I reject that idea, based on amply demonstrable evidence.
Do you think unicorns exist? I don't. I reject that idea, based on the utter ABSENCE of evidence.
I bet if you put on your thinking cap and strain REAL hard, you can come up with some ideas that even someone as open-minded (ahem) and tolerant as yourself would reject.
Actually, that was an auto-correct moment. It was supposed to be respect. Atheist don't judge one way or the other.
There is reject, and then there is reject with malevolence I was pondering the latter.
This is a fairly silly idea by a group who think it is ok to force others to accept their concept of how things should be done. If you don not agree with them, they will ostracize you until you give in, claiming they are following the teachings of their religion, as written two thousand years ago.
Sounds an awful lot like the Taliban's guiding principle. Do what we say or else
An the Taliban is shrinking,,, good thing. Baptists,,,, start counting the donations,,, I see a few less cadillac's in your pastor's future.
Cadillacs, not Cadillac's.
I believe the church has every right to do as they wish with their relationships and affiliations. That being said, many of us also have the right to point out the incredible ignorance revealed as many posters here echo the sentiment that being gay is a "Christian" judgment of perverse "sin". What has occurred to me is that it is a level of ignorance, but also hypocrisy that is very deep and wide because we know three things to be true:
1. The type of Christian that has the sentiment described above is out of step with current knowledge about homosexuality. This is similar to when the RCC didn't believe Galileo's claims at first, but had to reckon with science evenutally.
2. The type of Christian that has the sentiment described above is in disagreement with other Christians. Each think they are the spokesperson for their God and they disagree.
3. The type of Christian that has the sentiment described above does not treat all moral "sins" in the same way. Look at issues from the Bible on divorce for instance.
It's pretty obvious that it looks foolish to claim that one knows a Christian objective truth (from God) on this issue in light of the ignorance, internal Christian conflicted belief, and hypocrisy.
Amen. We ought to stop thinking we speak for god, a sin is a sin,,, if that's what you want to call it. Well spoken.
Well, if the Southern Baptists have a problem with gay children being scouts, then Southern Baptists lack the character to be scouts.
Well said! 🙂
The SBA is a sponsor, if they chose to cut tires with a particular group, then they have that right. Now if they base the desicion base on their faith, they have that right as well. Ppl are screaming out discrimination, if this was Apple inc, or a resturant denying service to gays, then i see were most of you guys are coming from. I think if a sponsor chooses to drop a group or a person base on what they believed or what their rules state then they have that right.
They have the right to do it.
We have the right to laff at them.
America! Wotta country.
Darn, Richard – I wish I could be as succinct as you; lol.
Ties, not tires.
Decision, not desicion.
Restaurant, not resturant.
Where, not were.
Based, not base.
Your writing skills are typical of a bigot. Thanks for supporting my thesis.
I am ecstatic that the baptists are p. i. s.s.e.d at the scouts. I want religion out of everywhere but the sanct i ty of your own home. This sort of thing is great for letting the religious wave their bigot flags proudly and show everyone just how stupid and backward they are. We should be applauding their performance!
Just wondering, is this obsessive compulsion for copy editing always directed at only conservatives?
I agree, In case y'all forgot, in America, ppl have a Right to choose who they associate with. As much as it offends others, that Right remains. All of your contempt for those who choose to leave the Scouts doesn't change a thing. It just burns you up that you can't force your beliefs on others. I don't hear the Scouts on here belittling gay ppl, but I sure hear a lot of contempt for anybody that doesn't agree with some ppl on here.
No, Devin, I was corrected earlier tonight as well. I do appreciate someone letting me know.
Why thank you Mama. That was very kind of you for showing me the truth ( And yes, I'm speaking strictly in the context of Dippy's penchant for proof reading) 🙂
Devin. Only the conservatives seem to exhibit that fault. Gives an insight to their intelligence level, doesn't it?
And "Until 1974, some southern councils of the Boy Scouts of America were still racially segregated". Wikipedia.
Segregation is alive and well in the churches. You have white churches and black churches and they prefer to keep things that way.