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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. Frogman

    It should be pointed out that the Southern Baptists are following their long established tradition of using the bible to justify bigotry, intolerance and greed. In 1863 the Southern Baptist Convention was established when many Baptist churches in the South walked out of the American Baptist Convention when the American Baptist Convention came out in favor of abolishing slavery.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Henry Arking

      That is an excellent insight. right on!

      June 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Tamsyn

      Oh, there is a gigantic difference between Baptist and Southern Baptist. Jesus and John the Immerser (Baptist) would be horrified at what the SB's are doing in their name. They are so far off of what Christ taught, it's nauseating.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  2. Jordan Boudway

    It's too bad for the kid's who are being taken out of the scouts by their parents, but there shouldn't be any room for bigotry in a kid's program.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  3. J. R. Roberts

    God must be really proud today! Judge not...

    June 3, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  4. Thoth

    'God's word explicitly says.....' Really? You mean the words in a book written by a plethora of people over hundreds of years, a.ssembled by various cults, and translated across at least 4 languages prior to English. Those words? The words of mere men?

    June 3, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  5. Choir Loft

    A free community is one in which all citizens are allowed to live as they choose. Where is it written that religion must be ostracisized because its memebers exercise integrity? Are all required to be gay? Can a man or a church not live the way they want without the persecution of the feral advocates of wickedness?
    ***
    If the righteous cannot live the way they choose, neither can the wicked live they want.
    ***
    If God does not judge America, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.
    and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      Your tag line is stupid and boring.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • snowboarder

      @loft, there is nothing wicked about hom ose xuality. discrimination and subjugation is not a virtue.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Choir Director

      Lol. What a pile of steaming bullshit. And that's just me throwing it into your lap. Who are YOU to say gay people don't possess integrity?
      Gay people were born gay. They were not born "wicked". The sooner you anachranistic bozos die out the better. May every child you have be born gay.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Fred Evil

      Bigots deserve persecution. Man up and own your DIShonor!

      June 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Thoth

      The meteor event at Sodom and Gommorah has been explained via science and historical records. A similar event occured in Russia recently. If you wish to follow the idea that 'god' punished some particular region with a natural disaster then you must carry your logic through and blame your 'god' for the devestation that all natural disasters cause. How many believers do you think have perished in natural disasters around the globe?

      June 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • BillyD

      The Christians are the ones suffering in this story? Oh, I forgot! Christians are always the victim. A private organization deciding to include gay kids isn't forcing you to do anything. Xenophobes like you can form your own clubs and feel all high and mighty that you can be so exclusive. Don't expect anyone not to use their First Amendment right to denounce your actions though.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • JRNY

      Get a religion "Choir Loft." All you sound like is some generic, over-used christian propagandist that's quickly losing any clout in the country he/she lives in and is afraid as h*ll over it.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  6. Josh

    I am a Baptist, and I can say that pastor Tim Reed does NOT speak for me.

    Nor does "pastor Tim" have a good understanding of the basic principles of being a Baptist.

    A Baptist church follows the teachings of Jesus and John the Baptist. Both of them had what we would call today, an "open door" policy. Everyone was welcome into the church, even sinners (who amongst has never committed a sin?).

    Clearly, Baptist would believe that Jesus himself would have openly welcomed the Boy Scouts into his church, to share in fellowship.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Ryan

      Christ would have rebuked the Boy Scout Organization. They have held themselves out to be a taith organization, founded on the principles of duty to God and remaining morally straight. Christ would not reject the orphan or the widow, but would reject people claiming to follow God but inwardly representing moral degeneration. Christ met with sinners, yes, but not to enjoy their sins with them, no it was to direct their lives toward serving God in a way that pleases Him.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  7. Brenda

    I bet whomever wrote the Bible is mad they didn't realize that being gay was a natural occurrence. They probably hope this won't derail the whole book.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Choir Loft

      Sin is abhorent to God and it is his desire to have all reconciled to him without it.
      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 3, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • In Answer

      Well you have to realize, Brenda, that in those days they did not have the modern equipment with which to study genes, human patterns, family lineage traits, etc. and those OT laws mainly applied to the Jews. That has to be why Jesus never said a word against gays and lesbians. Being omniscient, He obviously knew people were Born That Way with their unique characteristics but He loved them ALL unconditionally, which is what modern Christians so fail to do in trying to follow His example.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  8. RedskinsFan

    Yet another reason why I will never force my future children to deal with the hypocrisy, hellfire and brimstone, and terrible bigotry that I had to deal with the first 12 years of my life when I was forced to go to church with my Southern Baptist grandparents.

    If America is losing its religion, groups like this are the cause. Because of what I had to hear as a young child, at best I can be called agnostic. Sorry, but singing "Jesus Loves Me" in Sunday School followed by seeing the congregation show open disdain for the poor family that could not afford suits for church was sickening to me. Compound that further by listening to them discuss how wrong it was that there was an interracial family, and seeing the pastor refuse to give them the same amount of courtesy as the rest of the congregation. Add to that being told that my Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, etc. friends would never find paradise because of how they believed....

    I think now you can see why I'm a little jaded. I used to think this was an aberrant church. As I have talked to others, I found out it was par for the course...

    June 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Colin

      You sound WAY too rational and level headed to still beloieve in sky-fairies of any stripe. Drop them all.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • JRNY

      Well said RedskinsFan, and so true. Glad to meet another "Agnostic," I lost my religion (was mormon) for the exact same judgmental reasons. Not because of how I was treated by members of the church, but because of how I saw them treat others that they thought were less than they were. Hypocrisy is the most unendurable part of religion.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Choir Loft

      Unless you take up your cross and follow Christ you cannot see the Kingdom of God.

      Organized religion is suffering loss because they no longer preach the necessity to abandon sin.

      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • JRNY

      Thank you "Choir Loft!" Excellent job of showing how you christians never put your action where your mouth is. Who cares what you say about some stupid cross? You're just coming across as yet another nasty, judgmental christian.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  9. Bob

    Gays have always been in the Scouts.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      Gays have always been. Period. That some of these morons think they're something new and fashionable is hilarious.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  10. The real Tom

    Still waiting for any of you gay-bashers to cite any negative consequences that have occurred as a result of the legalization of gay marriage in any state or nation. Why is it taking you so long? To hear you asses braying, it's sure to be the downfall of all civilization. Surely if that were true, by now there'd be some evidence of the end in sight. Why can't you find any?

    June 3, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Cody Van Ryn

      Easy Tom...even though you live in a instant gratification world...many long term consequences are still developing. We clearly have seen the effect of what high divorce rates have done to our children, but it didnt happen over night...give it time

      June 3, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • The real Tom

      Why would it require "time" when you bozos act like it's the end of the world? If it's SUCH a huge problem then we should already see the consequences. Where are they?

      June 3, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • flatpicker

      How about HIV/AIDS that gays people introduced to the United States and spread around that has killed millions? is that enough ? To bad that it has crossed out of your lifestyle and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people that do not CHOOSE this lifestyle. How about we use that for starters ? Oh but that was in the 80's that doesn't count. It's a choice lifestyle has has caused the death of many.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • derp

      "We clearly have seen the effect of what high divorce rates have done to our children"

      Which surely proves that divorce is actually a greater threat to "traditional" marriage than gay marriage is.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      Hey, Nosepicker, first of all, I'm straight, female and married. AIDS wasn't caused by gays and your repeti tion of the same canard doesn't make it valid. If you have nothing else, then, be dismissed. Marriage will allow gays to establish stable unions; monogamy would make the transmission of any STD a moot point, you dummy. What part of your brain did you remove along with those boogers?

      June 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Science

      Hey flappy.................is that you doogie or sally ?

      June 3, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • flatpicker

      derp – I just seen a "small" article a few months back... Remember the woman who turned into a man and then had a child ? The "small" article was that the person got a divorce and it was complicated ? Can you imagine that poor child ? I woman, turned man then has child and then divorces ? You talk about screwing a child up. I would rather not divorce at all. But if I had to I would go with the traditional divorce any day of the week.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • There Will Be No Response

      You won't find any good valid answers to that, Tom, because there are none. It's the same thing as what happened with Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the military. Those in favor of keeping the ban to keep gays out were saying morale would be low if they were allowed to serve and that straight burly men would be the target of gays, etc. and yet none of that happened. To date, there has been not one incident to report about adverse reactions to lifting the ban so that gays and lesbians can now serve openly in the U. S. military and the same goes for the BSA. But if the hating religious groups want to pull out, let's hope they don't let the door hit them in their rosy rears as they exit. There's no room for further prejudice in the Scouts! They need a Clean Sweep!

      June 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • flatpicker

      To the female TOM ? Sorry, but you are wrong. HIV/AIDS was introduced by the gay community. It was mass spread by the gay community. To say that it was not just shows your intelligence. They are responsible for the deaths of so many.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • derp

      I"just seen a "small" article a few months back"

      Get back to me when English is your first language.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      And that has WHAT, exactly, to do with gay marriage, you moron? Nothing. Not one thing. But nice try at deflection and distraction. It's always SO effective when you can't answer the question, Booger.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • HM8432

      Awkward questions and opinions from kids is a consequence. A friend's young son got really confused when he saw two dudes getting married on TV the other day, and we had a heck of a time answering the 8-year olds questions about it. His conclusion? "Gross and weird! Sorry those guys had to marry each other because they were too ugly to find girls!" He then reminded us about the girly 'Mr. Herbert' guy down the street who tried inviting him into his house (he has no kids)...

      Thanks for confusing our already confused kids; it's bad enough that the only way LBGT's can find 'acceptance' is either by legislating it, or by indoctrinating/molesting small school children...and you people can never seem to figure out why nobody GENUINELY likes the radical (the key word) in-your-face LBGT crowd. The only way they'll ever be accepted is by earning it the honest way.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      The NOSEPICKER says: It was mass spread by the gay community. To say that it was not just shows your intelligence. They are responsible for the deaths of so many.

      Honey, it was not introduced by gays. You don't even cite ANYTHING to back up your nonsense and you change your wording in a vain attempt to excuse your inability to do so.

      "I just seen"-you're as stupid as they come. Go back to class and try to stay awake, clown.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • The real Tom

      "Thanks for confusing our already confused kids"

      Your kids are "confused" because they have idiots for parents. It's clear you've injected your own prejudices into your explanations. I feel sorry for your children.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      So none of you can come up with ANYTHING? Thanks for playing.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Happy Atheist

      " Can you imagine that poor child ? "

      This sums up the Christian rights belief that being gay is detrimental, the only "proof" they have is their imaginations.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • The real Tom

      "A friend's young son got really confused when he saw two dudes getting married on TV the other day, and we had a heck of a time answering the 8-year olds questions about it. His conclusion? "Gross and weird! Sorry those guys had to marry each other because they were too ugly to find girls!""

      This is so patently false that it's laughable. No 8-year-old said any such thing. Most 8-year-old boys can't stand the thought of girls at all and wouldn't have a clue that looks had a thing to do with marriage.

      Don't try to sell that piece of trash you're writing to a publishing company, bonehead. It would make anyone cringe to think an adult tried to pass it off as nonfiction.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      HM8432: And exactly where do you think children learn those types of things from? Even if you think they're not listening to adult conversation, they probably are. They're little sponges, they accumulate information quickly. My daughter has been around gays all her life and doesn't see it as abnormal whatsoever because we didn't treat it that way.
      Even for that child's parents to not have corrected him is wrong...they are the adults, they should be teaching about equality but I guess we can't expect that from bible belt hicks. People like that are just raising the next generation of fools.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • BillyD

      Flatpicker is very confused. It is easier to contract HIV from a male than female. This is why gay males run a bigger risk of contracting than straight males. That doesn't prove that it came from the gay community. I'm surprised someone as stuck in the 80s as you doesn't still call in GRIDS.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • flatpicker

      I just love it when you intellects are get burned by the truth. All you can do is come back with name calling or get back to me when your grammer is better. Great come backs! Your intelligence is really showing off by calling a name or avoiding the response. Tom – You are correct in saying HIV/AIDS has nothinig to do with gay marriage. But it does has something to do with what that lifestyle brought to America and spread around in the 80's. Please do not make yourself look ignorant by trying to deny that. Derp – Still no response to the Woman turned man – Has a child then divorces ? No repsonse on how confused that child must be ?

      June 3, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • For the Record

      You are quite incorrect, flatpicker, in your rabid prejudiced assumption that gays created AIDS. Please try to educate yourself by looking at the following knowledgeable website that speaks openly to this matter. AIDS originated in Africa and was first transferred to other places by different groups, not by gays.

      The Group-Fantasy Origins of AIDS

      http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/csfantasy.htm

      June 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • The real Tom

      "I just love it when you intellects are get burned by the truth. All you can do is come back with name calling or get back to me when your grammer is better. Great come backs! Your intelligence is really showing off by calling a name or avoiding the response. Tom – You are correct in saying HIV/AIDS has nothinig to do with gay marriage. But it does has something to do with what that lifestyle brought to America and spread around in the 80's. Please do not make yourself look ignorant by trying to deny that. Derp – Still no response to the Woman turned man – Has a child then divorces ? No repsonse on how confused that child must be ?"

      It's "GRAMMAR." Your lousy writing is simply more evidence that you're an ignorant dolt, flatliner. You don't have a clue what you're talking about. You hate gays and you think you can make others believe there's good reason to do so by spreading your ignorance. It won't work. People don't believe whatever some simpleton posts; they can research the issue for themselves. You are incorrect. You are wrong. You remain ignorant because you choose to do so.

      Your attempts to reach conclusions about gay marriage with such falsehoods and silly anecdotes about transsexuals just shows that you are both dim and desperate.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Happy Atheist

      "Still no response to the Woman turned man – Has a child then divorces ? No repsonse on how confused that child must be ?"

      No, you are just revealing what a stupid confused child you are. The child of that woman will likely grow up happy and well adjusted with many loving people surrounding them. Their parents got a divorce just like millions of other parents in America, many of them supposedly devout Christians. Now talk about confusing, having a hard line Christian parent that has forced you to read the bible so you know divorce is just as bad as being gay or stealing or lying in the bible and then your "devout" parents get a divorce and you are left to wonder if they will go to heII for it.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  11. jamesnyc

    One thing the organized religion have provided is a sense of community. We need to find a replacement for that paradigm. Sense of community is good for civilization and if the only way to get that is without churches, then so be it. I know of churches that are very humanely generous but if they turn their back on these kids, then what is their value?

    June 3, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Choir Loft

      A free community is one in which all citizens are allowed to live as they choose. Where is it written that religion must be ostracisized because its memebers exercise integrity? Are all required to be gay? Can a man or a church not live the way they want without the persecution of the feral advocates of wickedness?
      ***
      If the righteous cannot live the way they choose, neither can the wicked live they want.
      ***
      If God does not judge America, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.
      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • JamesK

      In many cases, however, it's a sense of community born out of being a group isolated from the greater society. I'd rather fit in with Americans all around the country than just fit in within the Bible Belt, and then, only really in the churches down there.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • derp

      "A free community is one in which all citizens are allowed to live as they choose. Where is it written that religion must be ostracisized because its memebers exercise integrity? Are all required to be gay? Can a man or a church not live the way they want without the persecution of the feral advocates of wickedness?
      ***
      If the righteous cannot live the way they choose, neither can the wicked live they want.
      ***
      If God does not judge America, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.
      and that's just me, hollering from the choir lo"

      Feel free to follow any collection of myths you would like to.

      Just don't try to make them laws.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  12. ab

    Good, bye bye then. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  13. 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 3, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  14. Truth Prevails :-)

    This adds a bit of a twist to the Boy Scouts. I have to wonder how many fundies will pull their kids from both Boy and Girls Scouts now that they know Baden Powell is believed to have been gay.
    Before I get to the point, I have a rather basic question for the fundies here: Do you think that by pulling your children away from the Boy Scouts is really going to stop them from being around gays? I am assuming that you take your children out in public and send them to school.

    "About 70 percent of all Scout packs, troops, and posts are sponsored by churches or faith-based organizations. However, in one of the great ironies affecting the Scouts, most of those churches, citing fundamental Christian theology, condemn homosexuality but allow gays to be church members; most, however, do not allow gays to be ordained.
    During the 2012 presidential campaign, both Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and Barack Obama, baptized as a member of the United Church of Christ, spoke against the Scouts excluding gays from membership. The Mormons sponsor almost 38,000 units with about 430,000 boys, the largest faith-based sponsor in Scouting. The Mormons late last year, although still refusing to ordain gays, slightly modified its stance, and now claims, “The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is.”
    The United Methodist Church—which sponsors 364,000 Scouts—has no restrictions against gays as members or as ministers. The Roman Catholic Church, which sponsors about 274,000 Scouts, condemns homosexuality as both a divine and natural sin, but allows them to be church members. However, several religions, including the fundamental Southern Baptist Convention, which sponsors almost 4,000 units with about 108,000 boys, has threatened to drop out of the Scouting movement if the national council allows gays to be members.
    Most Scout organizations in countries not controlled by autocratic fundamentalist leaders have no restrictions upon gays and lesbians becoming members. The 2.5 million member Girl Scouts have no restrictions against lesbians, bisexuals, or trans-sexuals becoming members or leaders, although the Catholic News Agency has attacked the Girl Scouts leadership for being “driven by a liberal ideology far out of step with the families and churches that support them.”
    Gays are part of every business, trade, profession, and even the military. Only the most paranoid, homophobic, and ignorant see any problem. The U.S. military—first with its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” partial acknowledgement and now with rules than ban discrimination against any gay soldier—found it could still meet the demands of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with gays serving side-by-side to straights. Of course, most of the world’s finest military forces, including Israel and England, found out decades ago that soldiers and officers, no matter their sexual orientation, would serve honorably.
    One of those allegedly gay officers, as discussed in the New York Times, was an English lieutenant general who was a much-decorated combat veteran. His name is Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement."
    (http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/17890-boy-scouts-still-have-ban-on-gays-even-though-founder-robert-baden-powell-was-allegedly-gay)

    June 3, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Ryan

      Baden Powell was also a Nazi sympathizer.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  15. bob

    A story about something that hasn't happened yet.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • JamesK

      I wonder how many stories about the end of the world have been on this site?

      June 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  16. FaithisSin

    Religion divides. It is anti-spiritual tribalism at its worst.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  17. AdamtheDude

    Let 'em go. My wife and I vowed not to let our sons go into the Scouts as long as it remained a discriminatory organization. Now we can feel comfortable to do so. (None of our three sons is gay, as far as we know at this point, but if one–or all–turned out to be so, it would be fine with us. We'd love them no less.)

    June 3, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Refreshing Point of View

      Now here is a man with a real head on his shoulders! Kudos to you, Adam! There are plenty of folks who are straight out there but not narrow in their viewpoint about gays and lesbians. Being gay is not a something that can be transferred to another just the same as being straight cannot be transferred at will nor being black nor white for that matter. It is good your children are brought up to understand that prejudice is inherently wrong and should be avoided at all costs. Again, Congrats to you as a parent! Hope many others follow in your footsteps.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  18. Christian Freethinker

    WWJD? He would be tolerant. Stop focusing on one tiny part of the Bible and embrace Christ's *entire* message.

    And I say this as a born-again Christian.

    June 3, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Ryan

      You can't interpret Christ's message without looking at the Bible in its entirety. Leaving out one part is not an "entire message". Christ would tell them to repent and focus on God. The modern-day boy scouts has left God out of its organization. That is why this has happened. I'm glad that the Baptists parting ways with the Boy Scouts. It is time that the church starts its own scouting Organization with a complete emphasis on Christ. That is what I want to see.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Fladabosco

      Ryan, you will never see that because not all of Christ's message is popular with Baptists, and they choose which parts they want to follow.

      You seem to know something about religion so you must know that Christ also said that men who divorce and remarry are committing adultery, but the Baptists (and just about all other Christians) don't like that so they ignore it.

      They also don't like that fact that Jesus told the rich young man that being a good person wasn't enough and that he should sell his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow him (Jesus). The rich man didn't want to because he had many possessions.

      Neither do the baptists.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • JamesK

      Ryan
      What did Jesus say about gay people, specifically? Not one thing. Paul did, but he also said a lot of things about women knowing their place in church and about the futility of marriage that most Christians ignore today, so why shouldn't they ignore his comments about supposed gay relations as well? Sure it's in the OT as one of the Laws, but was Jesus a stickler for following the Law? Certainly not!

      Any competing organization that these Baptists begin will also be competing with organizations started by other denominations because you know that they will never agree on a set of beliefs.

      The more these groups separate themselves from the rest of America the more the rest of America realizes that it doesn't need them. Is that really what you want?

      June 3, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Ryan

      @Fladbosco

      Divorce is sin. Having money, on the other hand, is not sin. Valuing your posessions more than Christ is sin. Jesus told the rich man to sell his possessions to be "perfect". Salvation does not hinge on wealth or the lack there of. God is not a respecter of persons. The first thing the rich man got wrong is to ask Jesus , what must I do to get eternal life. Jesus' answer "keep the law". If you want to earn heaven, be perfect. And since no one is but Christ, no one is worthy but Christ. Everything required for salvation was done by Christ's death on the cross. God punished Jesus for our sins. Jesus also states after the rich man leaves, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

      June 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  19. Hound62

    When the Boys Scouts of Canada made this change a few years ago the BSC scout enrollment dropped by 67%. The Baptists are not the only ones that are following the Morally Straight guidelines of the Bible and their faith. There is a movement in the Catholic Church to create the Scouts of St. George to replace BSA and keep the Morally Straight commitment. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is in the process of cutting ties with BSA and they are the largest church group in BSA

    June 3, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Jase

      The latter Day Saints would be extremely hypocritical to do so, as they admit openly gay members into their church.
      If true, and my LDS friends have hearf nothing about it, they will do more harm than good for their shrinking membership in my area.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • derp

      "following the Morally Straight guidelines of the Bible and their faith"

      Christianity, by definition, is the absence of morality. Following the bible offers you absolutely zero moral superiority to anyone else.

      June 3, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Hound62
      Can you cite your sources for the drop in enrollment in Canada?
      The Ontario Council Annual Reports for Scouting showing a decline of around 26%

      June 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • JamesK

      Following the Bible is an example of moral thinking about as much as a soldier following orders is an example of independent initiative. Being moral means being able to evaluate for yourself what is moral in any given circ umstance, but following what some book says is basically giving up this moral responsibility and just following some other person's (whoever wrote the book) morality. If your religion tells you to do something that you know is actually wrong, and you do it anyway, isn't that being immoral?

      June 3, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Backing the Change!

      "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is in the process of cutting ties with BSA and they are the largest church group in BSA"

      Hound62, you could not be more Misinformed and Wrong about this matter if you tried! Try reading a little to get more educated on these matters will you. The LDS Church is actually BACKING the BSA with Support after the change to allow gay scouts! Now, what do you have to say?

      LDS Church backs Boy Scout decision on gays

      http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/05/23/lds-church-backs-boy-scout-decision-gays

      June 3, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  20. John D.

    I guarantee that the church gets their electric from a company that hires gays. I ask that the church remain consistent and sever all ties with that and any company that hires gays. For that matter, take all investments out of any company that hires gays. Prove you are not just taking the "easy" way to show to your followers that you are upholding their values. Cowards, cowards, cowards. yuck

    June 3, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • SteveFinSC

      I'm sure the electric company and other companies do hire gays. That's fine. But, Baptists don't send their children camping with them. They only buy electricity from them. The Baptists have not merely been doing business with the BSA. There was a cultural and values-based relationship between the two which the BSA has now broken. To expect the SBC to maintain their support after that break is unrealistic. The Baptist Church is a religious organization, not a company or a political party. They don't need to "get with the times." Changing church values to fit in with the changing values of society would render the church worthless. When drowning in the raging storm that is our culture, it is more beneficial to grab hold of a rock that doesn't move than to grasp at the churning waves.

      June 3, 2013 at 10:35 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.