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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. Dirty Deeds

    The Boy Scouts need to clean up their act. All parents should take their young sons out of the Boy Scouts.

    June 3, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • Paul

      Why? Gay people exist. Deal with it.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • leap

      I agree! Until the Scouts allow openly gay leaders we should pull our sons out. It's a disgrace. I'm glad someone else agrees!

      June 3, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • billfitt

      They'll never hire you leap. Ya know, with the pedophilia and all.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Mc

      Go screw yourself, you hateful piece of trash.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:03 am |
    • billfitt

      Better to screw yourself MC, than it is to follow your path and screw anything with a heartbeat and a rec tum.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • JJ

      What you need to do is pack your vile, hateful, hypocritical bags and get out of my country. Try Iran. I hear they really don't like gays there.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • billfitt

      Try Turkey JJ you sick bigoted perv. I hear that men love to ram each other there, so you would make a perfect fit.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • mb2010a

      There is nothing wrong with the Boy Scouts...it is the churches that try to influence how the Boys Scouts operate that are the problem. Getting religion out of the Boy Scouts is probably the best thing they could ever do...the Boy Scouts was NEVER meant to be a religious organization.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:23 am |
  2. Mr J

    Isn't chartering BS Troops just hte "Baptist Agenda" to indoctrinate the youth of America into the racist ways of the backwoods Baptists?

    June 3, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • billfitt

      Apparently it is now an organization whose purpose is to indoctrinate children to the ways of backwoods gays.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • billfitt

      You can't even read and you call others uneducated? LOL!!!!! Go back to grade school where you belong. Maybe you'll find another open gay to hang out with there, and you two can spew your hate and bigotry at all the evil heteros.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:41 am |
  3. Chancho

    If you arent pro-gay then you are a bigoted, terrible, hateful, intolerant person. I laugh because they are just as bigoted, intolerant and hateful. I HATE this countries new opinion that if you arent with us, you are against us. Its going to split and crumble this country.

    June 3, 2013 at 5:32 am |
    • Paul

      Same thing happened when people were against equal rights for blacks. The bigotted complained. Even started a war We survived. We'll survive this.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • leap

      It's easy to group everyone together isn't it? Easier to make yourself seem superior that way. Truth is you're no better than either of the sides you claim to hate.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:50 am |
    • billfitt

      No comparison to racial issues. These people simply choose to bang and blow, and somehow think that makes them a racial group. Ridiculously sick.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Ridiculously sick"

      Not at all sick. What is sick is your bigotry and hate. I responded to you with actual facts on the previous page. You're on the wrong side of history. You are aware that gays exist everywhere-right? You're aware that there is no law preventing them from being gay-right? You are aware that there is no cure because it's not a disease-right? You are aware that Alan Turing one of the main influences in the invention of the computer was gay-right? Without your absurd belief, you have no justification to hate or judge these people.. If you don't wish to be around them then leaving modern society might be your best way to go because they are not going anywhere.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Molly Winston

      How about a comparison to religious discrimination, then, billfitt? Is it ok to discriminate against Jewish people or Catholics or Baptists for that matter, if the majority disagree with their "choice" to follow their religion? Is it ok to discriminate against those who "choose" to marry someone of a different race? Of course not.The bottom line is, everyone should be treated equally in this country and given the same opportunities and responsibilities. I'm glad the Boy Scouts have finally acknowledged that. As long as my neighbor's choices and behaviors do not harm anyone else, why should I or anyone be able to discriminate against them?

      June 3, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • billfitt

      Quit using the word "they" LiesPrevail". Get out of the closet so your fellow gays can take you seriously. You are such an ignorant lying bigot!

      June 3, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • JJ

      The truth hurts. What makes you think you deserve tolerance?

      June 3, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • billfitt

      Yes the truth does hurt JJ. You just can't take it!

      June 3, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • usxpatriate

      Too Late...

      June 3, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      billf: Sorry, once again you make assumptions. I am happily married to an amazing man (he goes by AtheistSteve here), with an amazing 19 year old daughter. The difference between you and my family is that we believe in evidence based facts and treating everyone equally. As for the use of the word 'they', care to point out where it was used...I re-read what I typed and can't find it anywhere, so please tell me who the liar is now...oh right, that would be you.
      Are you aware that peds are not children? As of yet gay adults are still discriminated against in the Boy Scouts sadly and wrongfully. Without your imaginary friend and that one outdated book, you have no just reason to dislike gays...they are not affecting you directly, so leave them alone and try to treat them equally-they deserve it regardless of what you think.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • billfitt

      Stop proving your ignorance over and over again Liesprevail. You can't even read your own typing! LOL!!!!! Stop lying so much by the way. You're giving your people an EVEN worse image.

      "your best way to go because THEY are not going anywhere"

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 3, 2013 at 6:25 am |
    • One one

      Yea, it's like if you don't believe in god, he sends you to hell.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      billf: What people? You mean Atheists?? And oops, a mistake...my mistake is not near as big as your mistake! You should change your moniker to 'bigotfitt', it is far more fitting for you.
      Do you pride yourself on being an ignorant bigoted ass? You really are uneducated and on the wrong side of history. Hopefully one of your children is gay, I'd love to see how you'd re-act to that.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • billfitt

      You're not only a bigoted azz, Liesprevail, but you are an IGNORANT bigoted azzl! It must really su ck to be you. Both literally and figuratively.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      bigotfitt: I'm only bigoted against losers like you who use their belief in their imaginary friend to try to dictate equal rights. Yes, it must suck to be you! You failed to answer any of my previous questions...could that be due to the fact that you're incapable of doing anything more than hateful? My life is wonderful and my gay friends and relatives are far better christians than you'll ever be.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • HeavenSent

      TruthP, are you sure you want to bank your soul on liars that took you away from Jesus' truth?

      Revelation 21:8

      But the fearful, and un.believing, and the a.bominable, and m.urderers, and w.horemongers, and s.orcerers, and i.dolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

      Amen.

      June 3, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • The real Tom

      HS, I'd rather spend my time and put my faith in people who are rational, sane, and smart. You and bullfitt and the rest of your ilk are none of the above.

      June 3, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What does it mean to be pro-gay? I would think it would be best to be pro- human being and not focus on the small differences between people.

      Good morning Truth Prevails :-). Assholes like this billfitt don't have much to say that's worth reading. No response is necessary. When they spew they look ridiculous without our help.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  4. Cal

    My biggest problem is that you'll find a lot of the Ministry has been linked to Pedophiles left, right and center! And the Head Honcho, the Pope, doesn't even know it's going on.... LOL What a JOKE. And now with the Muslims thinking they can get away with Terrorism because Real People understand what Religion has done to the world. Aside from Oil, most wars and Terrorism is circled around Religion. A simple JOKE is all the Book is. The Bible, the Koran both written by the Hand of Man, not a God.

    June 3, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • Andre

      I'm not going argue with anyone concerning this subject. You have given your view and in the same sense please allow me an opportunity. On Religion starting wars, I have done a full 4 years of study into the matter and I can insure you that it's not true. That's like saying after a tornado we hate the wind 'cos that's what caused the damage, it's a terribly shallow and ignorant way of looking at it. However I don't have enough resources on this forum to discuss it. So next subject: It's impossible for the Bible to have been written by man because the Bible speaks of scientific facts and anomalies and teachings that was impossible for the people of that time to have known and understood. The Bible explains in perfect detail things like the Hydrologic Circle, Blood clotting of the Human body, constellations like Orion and references Orion's lack of gravitational pull, it talks ins Psalms 8:8 of the pathways of the sea (Ocean currents), underwater springs (discovered in 1970's only), talks about the flow of Air across the earth (discovered in =- 100 ad only), it talks about Isotopic and Anisotopic properties of gem stones (That's such advanced science it takes specialists to analyze, and discoveries made in the early 80's only), it predicted (perfectly) 4000 years ago the date of Israel's independence (1948), and the list goes on and on and on. So either the people (as you suggest) that wrote the Bible had an IQ and advanced understanding of the earth we still don't have or its the work of God. Replies to the Bible needs to be educated ... I won't be reading any replies to this post I just hope you admit you stand corrected about the Bible.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "it predicted (perfectly) 4000 years ago the date of Israel's independence (1948),"

      That would only be true if an exact date was given. This is a perfect example of a self fulfilling prophesy. If the Zionists hadn't succeeded in gaining powerful allies to affect the establishment of the state of Israel they would still be activity working toward that goal.
      As for the rest of your claims the various references in the Bible are at best vague and not based on scientific examination of facts. Ask yourself this. If the Bible truly has solid scientific facts that couldn't be known at that time in history then why is there no mention of germs or viruses? In the case of unknown sickness demons are the primary cause, not biological agents. Plagues were blamed on witchcraft. Epilepsy and mental illness on possession. The flood didn't happen worldwide and the star of Bethlehem wasn't observed anywhere, by anyone outside the Biblical accounts.

      June 3, 2013 at 6:23 am |
    • FYI

      Andre,

      Just picking out your Currents & Paths of the Seas one for now – David ruled (and perhaps wrote Psalms) around 1000 BC. Ancient seafaring goes back thousands of years before that with the Greeks (3000 BC), the Mycenaeans (2000 BC, the Minoans (2500 BC, the Phoenicians (1500 BC) and many others in the area and in other places around the Earth.

      It has been proven that the Phoenicians and the Greeks were expert seafarers. The captain knew every coastline, every wind and every current in the sea and could navigate on the sun and the stars. http://www.tharros.info/ViewText.php?id=1300&lng=en, and http://history-world.org/aegean_civilization.htm

      There was NOTHING eerie, supernatural or at all unusual that David could have known these things about the sea.

      Jerusalem, where David lived, is only about 30 miles from the Mediterranean SEA, which, wonder of wonders, has currents (paths) and was well-travelled back in those days. Even if David didn't make that *impossible* journey to the sea, he was the freakin' King, for crying out loud, and he had access to information from people all over the place.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  5. scootfl78

    Good riddance to bigoted rubbish.

    June 3, 2013 at 5:14 am |
  6. matt

    "It's not about hate."

    Right. Keep telling yourself that buddy.

    June 3, 2013 at 5:08 am |
  7. Nunya

    Gods word also explicitly says to stone to death adulters and unwed mothers. Are we all taking the bible literally now Baptists?

    June 3, 2013 at 4:59 am |
    • Nunya

      Btw, as long as we're taking the bible literally before god created eve he offered animals of the earth to Adam as potential partners. That's right, god endorsed bestiality.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:01 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Nunyadamn? Is that you?

      June 3, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      The bible also says to 'spare the rod, spoil the child' and that if a woman is raped she must marry her rapist...I wonder how many of them obey those rules.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:12 am |
    • matt

      If I'm not mistaken isn't money lending a sin?

      June 3, 2013 at 5:24 am |
  8. akmac65

    It is sad that a supposedly "Christian" denomination would choose to penalize all the scouts in those troops because BSA chose to act as Jesus did when he included those who were unpopular in his time, tax collectors, etc., not to mention his many statements about not judging or hating your brother.
    By their own standards, God is judge, not the Baptists or Muslims or any other religion.

    June 3, 2013 at 4:57 am |
  9. Name*Chedar

    What happen to the Baptist? Did they found the old man " God" a pedophilia that is why they are behaving like this?

    June 3, 2013 at 4:14 am |
    • billfitt

      Learn how to write a coherent sentence if you want to make a point. I have no idea what you are trying to say. I can only guess that you're referring to your "God" who goes by the name of Jerry Sandusky.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      billf: Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile, he was married and not gay. Your absurd assumptions are are just that absurd and only assumptions.
      Not that you're going to care but you might actually wish to educate yourself instead of constantly sounding like a bigoted ass, gay and peds are NOT the same thing...peds are sick, gays are not (it is only your belief system that says they are and your belief system has not been updated in 2000 years).
      "Even though most Americans don't regard gay people as child molesters, confusion remains widespread in this area. To understand the facts, it is important to examine the results of scientific research. However, when we evaluate research on child molestation, our task is complicated by several problems.

      One problem is that none of the studies in this area have obtained data from a probability sample, that is, a sample that can be assumed to be representative of the population of all child molesters. Rather, most research has been conducted only with convicted perpetrators or with pedophiles who sought professional help. Consequently, they may not accurately describe child molesters who have never been caught or have not sought treatment.

      A second problem is that the terminology used in this area is often confusing and can even be misleading. We can begin to address that problem by defining some basic terms.

      Pedophilia and child molestation are used in different ways, even by professionals. Pedophilia usually refers to an adult psychological disorder characterized by a preference for prepubescent children as sexual partners; this preference may or may not be acted upon. The term hebephilia is sometimes used to describe adult sexual attractions to adolescents or children who have reached puberty.

      Whereas pedophilia and hebephilia refer to psychological propensities, child molestation and child sexual abuse are used to describe actual sexual contact between an adult and someone who has not reached the legal age of consent. In this context, the latter individual is referred to as a child, even though he or she may be a teenager.

      Although the terms are not always applied consistently, it is useful to distinguish between pedophiles/hebephiles and child molesters/abusers. Pedophilia and hebephilia are diagnostic labels that refer to psychological attractions. Not all pedophiles and hebephiles actually molest children; an adult can be attracted to children or adolescents without ever actually engaging in sexual contact with them.

      Child molestation and child sexual abuse refer to actions, and don't imply a particular psychological makeup or motive on the part of the perpetrator. Not all incidents of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by pedophiles or hebephiles; in some cases, the perpetrator has other motives for his or her actions and does not manifest an ongoing pattern of sexual attraction to children.

      Thus, not all child sexual abuse is perpetrated by pedophiles (or hebephiles) and not all pedophiles and hebephiles actually commit abuse. Consequently, it is important to use terminology carefully.

      Another problem related to terminology arises because sexual abuse of male children by adult men is often referred to as "homosexual molestation." The adjective "homosexual" (or "heterosexual" when a man abuses a female child) refers to the victim's gender in relation to that of the perpetrator. Unfortunately, people sometimes mistakenly interpet it as referring to the perpetrator's sexual orientation.

      To avoid this confusion, it is preferable to refer to men's sexual abuse of boys with the more accurate label of male-male molestation. Similarly, it is preferable to refer to men's abuse of girls as male-female molestation. These labels are more accurate because they describe the sex of the individuals involved but don't implicitly convey unwarranted assumptions about the perpetrator's sexual orientation."

      http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html

      These are facts based on evidence, they far outweigh your bigoted, outdated views.
      If you're so afraid of gays (which without your buybull, you'd have no justification for), I'd suggest leaving society because the LGBT community is not going away and your children (I am hoping you don't have any but just in case) are going to be around them regardless of what you think.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:36 am |
  10. Who Knows...?

    Good riddance!

    June 3, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  11. seriously

    @kenoscope

    It would be unwise of you to assume I am Christian. I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus without doubt. I also believe in God. I do not believe Jesus is found just through a religion. God and Jesus are part of each other and they are within me. There is no deception between us only love.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • Jon O

      So, Christ then?

      That'd make you a 'Christian.'

      You apparently have some problem with the basic definitions of words and instead believe you are so enlightened and special that you get to make special rules for yourself.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      If you believe in Jesus Christ then you are by definition a Christian. In fact everything claimed to be known about your Jesus is based entirely on a book. So congratulations for not being linked to any particular organized sect of Christianity but by taking a stance that Jesus and God are real influences In your life you've just created a new sect. This isn't a new idea. Some have said that there are as many different flavors of Christianity as there are people. The truth of this is evident in the fact that what you and every other believer assumes God thinks is moral or just aligns perfectly with what you think is moral or just.
      In the end this just leaves believers stuck with the no true Scotsman fallacy where anyone one who doesn't agree with you is worshipping the wrong God or at best has misinterpreted scripture.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:53 am |
    • Seriously

      Think, feel, determine, weigh, choose, interpret, accept, allow, reject, understand, disallow, react, hold conviction in, join, and abstain are all actions I myself conclude. I have my own heart, mind, and soul which determines what is right.

      I see the world as one. Every person is part of that world. It is much more diverse than just Christian. I force none of these conclusions as yours. You are capable of coming to your own without me attempting to do it for you.

      June 4, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  12. mama k

    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 their opinion that they claim as a belief 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 belief described above is out of step with current scientific knowledge from biology and psychology about homosexuality. This is similar to when the RCC didn't believe Galileo's claims at first, but had to reckon with science eventually.

    2. The type of Christian that has the belief described above is in disagreement with other Christians. Each think they are the spokesperson for their God and yet they disagree.

    3. The type of Christian that has the belief 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 moral truth (from God) on this issue in light of the ignorance of current scientific knowledge, inter-Christian conflict, and hypocrisy.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:45 am |
  13. mama k

    A recent poster wrote that God hates the sin of homosexuality.

    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 3, 2013 at 3:43 am |

    • 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 3, 2013 at 3:43 am |
  14. bp

    The fewer bigots involved with the Boy Scouts the better. Hate is not an American virtue.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:14 am |
  15. Kenoscope

    Good, the Scouts do not need the Baptist Church's bigoted opinions. Before you scream, I was raised Souther Baptist, a member of the RA's. I couldn't leave that bigoted back-biting church fast enough when I turned eighteen and my parents no longer could tell me to go. This was in the 60's people, children had NO rights then.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:07 am |
  16. Daniel

    Because the libs pushed so hard for this I hope this means they plan to help out with funding, now that the church is cutting ties money will be an issue and many of these troops will fold.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • HotAirAce

      How about a trade? Us atheists will pay for scouting and you believers can pay for all unwanted pregnancies? Before you say no, remember that 70+% of all abortions in the USA are had by believers, so you would likely be supporting children in your own tribe, if not your own cult.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • Ens2010

      It may surprise you that there are already crisis pregnancy centers that help with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies as an alternative to abortion, and get this, free of charge.

      http://180movie.com

      June 3, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I'm not talking about just the costs of delivering the babies – I mean everything from conception to age of majority.

      And why should atheists pay for believers with AIDS? That's the same as asking us to pay for their "sins" – I'm not paying for people who can't even follow their own cult's rules!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • Jon O

      Pregnancy crisis centers?

      It is about simple supply and demand, you twit. If every conceived child was brought into this world we simply wouldn't have the resources to take care of them.

      You're talking – across the world – billions of additional humans.

      How about we make a deal – how about you prove you can take care of the humans we have already, eh?

      How about you prove you're willing to actually do some work and take care of those that need help RIGHT NOW?

      See you when Africa isn't a sh~thole. Come find me then, when you've done more than sit in your comfy American home preaching about what you'd do, IF.

      You're a joke.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:33 am |
  17. Davin

    Gods word? So he spoke directly to a God? He does know doesn't he that the bible was written by men. Ordinary, garden variety men who thought, or pretended to be something special. Messengers from God. I think not!

    June 3, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • Ens2010

      Well, heres an interesting concept. These ordinary men wrote prophecies that are coming true even today. These men wrote about scientific truths that today we understand to be fact, but at the time they were penned, were laughable conclusions. These men from different walks of life wrote books that would be bound together in a holy text that does not contradict itself even though being written by multiple authors over long spans of time. And you are saying that all that happened by chance? that it is all coincidence? I see how you people can find the faith to believe in macro-evolution.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • mama k

      "does not contradict itself"

      LOL

      June 3, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • MalcomR

      Ens2010: I know what you are, and the only thing that disappoints me is that there really isn't a hell for you to go to when you die. How many innocents have you corrupted so far? How many little kids have you terrified with your twisted sadism, you worthless f.*.*.k???

      June 3, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • Nice Try is...

      "I see how you people can find the faith to believe in macro-evolution."

      Faith is defined as belief without evidence (even the buybull agrees on this: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see).. Evolution is backed with plenty of evidence, so I wouldn't exactly call it faith when it comes to accepting it as fact.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:52 am |
    • Andre

      I'm not going argue with anyone concerning this subject. You have given your view and in the same sense please allow me an opportunity. On Religion starting wars, I have done a full 4 years of study into the matter and I can insure you that it's not true. That's like saying after a tornado we hate the wind 'cos that's what caused the damage, it's a terribly shallow and ignorant way of looking at it. However I don't have enough resources on this forum to discuss it. So next subject: It's impossible for the Bible to have been written by man because the Bible speaks of scientific facts and anomalies and teachings that was impossible for the people of that time to have known and understood. The Bible explains in perfect detail things like the Hydrologic Circle, Blood clotting of the Human body, constellations like Orion and references Orion's lack of gravitational pull, it talks ins Psalms 8:8 of the pathways of the sea (Ocean currents), underwater springs (discovered in 1970's only), talks about the flow of Air across the earth (discovered in =- 100 ad only), it talks about Isotopic and Anisotopic properties of gem stones (That's such advanced science it takes specialists to analyze, and discoveries made in the early 80's only), it predicted (perfectly) 4000 years ago the date of Israel's independence (1948), and the list goes on and on and on. So either the people (as you suggest) that wrote the Bible had an IQ and advanced understanding of the earth we still don't have or its the work of God. Replies to the Bible needs to be educated ... I won't be reading any replies to this post I just hope you admit you stand corrected about the Bible.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:56 am |
  18. Tony

    Baptists aren't real Christians or good people anyway, and this proves it. The Boy Scouts are better off without them.

    June 3, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • Ens2010

      Tony, would you consider yourself to be a good person? Take this test and find out.

      http://needgod.com

      June 3, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Pretty funny test! There is no way to pass it.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • Kenoscope

      Ens2010, that test is written to insure you fail unless you like. its like asking "Do you still beat your wife?" No matter how you answer or not you are a monster in the questioners eyes. Grow up, take off the blinders and see the world around you. Question, have you ever lived several years in a different nation? It WILL open those concreted eyes of yours.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:10 am |
    • Ens2010

      That's true Ace, because there is no such thing as a good person. Congrats, now you are thinking. Feel that tickling sensation in your head? That is those rusty gears starting to turn.

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

      @Ens2010: "There's no such thing as a good person". B.u.l.l.s.h.i.t!!! That's exactly what your f'ed up religion convinces CHILDREN (for gods sake) to believe. They aren't worthy. They're sinners. They're going to HELL if the don't follow thus-and-such. You are all MONSTERS and should be thrown in jail as child molesters. Guess who's not worthy? YOU. You are a f'ing scourge on humanity. You make me sick.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • Ens2010

      "You are all MONSTERS and should be thrown in jail as child molesters. Guess who's not worthy? YOU. You are a f'ing scourge on humanity. You make me sick."

      I see that tolerance now that you all keep going on about.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Ens2010: Tolerance? For you? (you know what you are). If I had a choice of finishing my crappy turkey sandwich or saving you from the jaws of an industrial s**t shredder, I'd savor the crappy sandwich, and the sounds of your demise. Tolerance of you? Eat s**t and die.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:30 am |
  19. Ens2010

    Definitely will encourage separation from the boy scouts to those that I know. The Royal Ambassadors is a great group, I remember being a part of it as a kid, making model cars to race, going camping, etc. It is the boy scouts without the worldly environment and politics.

    June 3, 2013 at 2:42 am |
    • Tony

      I'm glad the Boy Scouts have decided to remove politics from their organization and allow gay youths to participate.
      I'm sick of bigoted individuals and groups trying to insert their politicis into Scouting and tell the Scouts to exclude certain people.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: "without the worldly environment and politics" you say that as if it's a good thing! Yes, let's keep the children of the USA ignorant. Much easier to send them off to foreign wars if they have no understanding of others.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Ens2010

      HotAir: I am a firm supporter of homeschool, at least homeschool till a certain age. Most children who are homeschooled are more successful on average than those public schooled. Not only that, but they grow up without being saturated with sin from all sides from age 4 on. (what i referred to as the Worldy Environment that you quoted)

      June 3, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • Colin

      hot air ass is not an American as such its opinion on American issues isn't worth sh it

      June 3, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Perhaps I should not be so judgmental. . .

      If you are preventing them from being saturated with sin, I assume you are keeping them away from The Babble. Excellent!

      June 3, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • MalcomR

      HotAirAce makes a well known point. There really is a benefit in keeping children oblivious to other cultures and lifestyles when it comes time to ship them off as cannon fodder. It's easy to convince them that the enemies they are killing aren't even human. So all of you advocating isolating your kids from "politics and worldly" whatever, are preparing them nicely to be whatever the MAN want's them to be. Good job.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:59 am |
    • Ens2010

      I dont see what problem you have with the Bible. It is the infallible undeniable Word of God, and it is proven time and time again to be true through science as well as consistent proven prophecy.

      Read here for more:
      http://www.eternal-productions.org/101science.html
      http://eternal-productions.org/101prophecy.html
      http://needgod.com

      June 3, 2013 at 2:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ens2010, I already played your game with one of those websites. I'll try the other two just after you conclusively prove your god exists.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • mama k

      "infallible undeniable Word of God"

      Wow. If it was that, why the need for over 40,000 often conflicting sects of Christianity?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Ens2010: The links you provide are not objective and are not science. My question is always "How do you know that the bible is what you say it is?" Did you have a revelation? Or did your parents or preacher tell you? Unless you are mentally ill, you will have been told this by someone. And you believe them? Why? And who told them? And were they a reliable source? And so on. I've read the bible. It is a poorly written and compiled mass of nearly illiterate ramblings that contradicts itself every other page, and is completely unaware of even the most basic science. (like, is the world round?).

      June 3, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • Ens2010

      Because any time a group of people get together, there is dispute. There is argument. Which is why it is so profound that a book like the Bible does not contradict itself despite the way in which it was written.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      I dont see what problem you have with the Bible. It is the infallible undeniable Word of God, and it is proven time and time again to be true through science as well as consistent proven prophecy

      Do any of you people actually read the Bible? How about removing the belief blinders, turn off the faith fogger, and read the Bible for the first time.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • Kenoscope

      You belonged to a greatly different Royal Ambassadors than I ever did. I was in two groups, Mississippi and Texas. Guess what, it was nothing but bible study and giving allegiance to the Church. Not God, the Church, in short whomever was in charge. there were never games, never camp outs and heaven help you if you asked a serious question that was not on their agenda. You were likely to get screamed and and accused of being possessed of the devil.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • Ens2010

      @Malcom, it is obvious you did not read the scientific facts page i posted, or you would not have written that about the Bible being ignorant on the world being round. Take a look at it and take a moment to think for yourself. Tell the dawkins in the back of your head to shut up for a minute so you can think clearly.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • Ens2010

      @Kenoscope, I'm sorry you had that experience, that is why I have always thought it is good for anyone who believes in any particular thing to be able to support their belief. Back it up with a little apologetics so you can answer those serious questions when they are posed by a curious child or a skeptic atheist.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ens2010, you still working on that proof? Or are you going to save all of us some time and yourself embarrassment by admitting that you have nothing?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Ens2010: Eat me you piece of dog s**t.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:25 am |
    • Ens2010

      Hot air, the first two links already contain the proof you seek. However, it can be hard to read with scales on your eyes. Be sure to read with an open mind without Dawkin's brainwashing for a few minutes if possible.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:26 am |
    • Ens2010

      @ Maclom

      -Error in analysis of audience
      -previous assessment: Skeptic
      -deleting previous assessment
      -begin re-assessment
      -new assessment: Troll
      -initiating troll counter sequence

      You mad bro?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • MalcomR

      Ens: I just hope you reap as much suffering in this life as you've sown. I know you. Maybe just figuratively. But still, you aren't worth the air you consume.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • mama k

      You have no proof that the Bible doesn't contradict itself because any attempt to show any part of it to be "objectively" true requires something called consensus. Again, we now have over 40,000 sects of Christianity that often disagree (and widely disagree on the subject of this article). That, is evidence that the consensus, and therefore the interpretation is contradictory – which really doesn't help your case at all of proving that it is not itself in some "objective" or divine way infallible and free from contradiction.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:37 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Sorry, I didn't see a conclusive argument proving the existence of your or any god. Just lots of mumbo-jumbo attempting to show The Babble is true. You are going to have to do better than that to prove your god.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:37 am |
    • Ens2010

      This is what i meant about the scales over your eyes, you completely ignore the contents and spew some gibberish that is supposed to nullify the whole thing. Someone didn't read the directions. Anyways no more time to play with you kids anymore. I need sleep, and its 3:41 AM. Take care, I'll pray for you all.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:42 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ah, the old "you have to believe to believe" crap! Why is your god such a crappy communicator? And save your prayers – they're worthless.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      Maybe Ens2010 can tell us why there are two distinct versions of creation in Genesis, if the bok does not contradict itself as Ens2010 claims.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:27 am |
    • Jon O

      Bible doesn't contradict itself, eh?

      How did Judas die again?

      And who went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance and it empty?

      Start with those two and we'll work on the other thousands of contradictions. Do you want to work on the historical claims first, or the contradictions in teachings?

      Do I judge, or not?

      June 3, 2013 at 4:42 am |
    • Joseph

      Subvert a great organization, how christian of you.

      June 3, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  20. ronnieblue

    America is not losing its religion. More Americans are becoming more tolerant and understanding and not so intolerant of the world around them. Having spent much time in the U.S., its shameful how little many Americans know about what goes on beyond the U.S. and in many case outside of their own town or State. In part I blame the media. Unless its an international disaster, or you make the effort for yourself, the American media feeds endless news of what's happening domestically, and not in other countries. Heaven forbid there might be other languages or cultures out there!

    June 3, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • Why?

      Actually it's rather sad. The Baptist church I belong to had a guest speaker from Africa, who spoke to us about how Christians in his country view the U.S: How they see the U.S as a shining beacon of Christianity, and how disillusioned they become in the U.S. when they come and see how far from being a Christian nation we truly are. Jesus never taught tolerance of sin, and He affirmed the Scriptures as truth. His message was: "Repent" In Matthew 7:21-23, He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' "

      it doesn't sound to me like Jesus was all that tolerant of sin. If you don't believe me, ask the moneychangers in the Temple.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:11 am |
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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.