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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. Scout Father

    The Boy Scouts are a multifaith, multicultural organization that exists world wide. The Baptist church can not dictate their strict interpretation of morals on them nor does chartering automatically mean endorsement of everything they do. I hope these units find other places to charter them, and that the boys do not give up on Scouting because of the Baptists narrowminded views.

    I do find it curious that the Baptist church is immediately calling for a vote at their next convention regarding the Boy Scouts, but they still have not taken any action to condem the hate mongering of Westboro Baptist church for their protesting at funerals, High Schools, and others just because "they" beilieve these people are pro gay.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Spot On!

      Scout Father, I Commend You on what you are saying! You are truly a broad-minded man who deserves to be Congratulated for his stance and point of view on this matter! Kudos To You!!

      June 3, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Trix

      Westboro does not require that the deceased be gay, or even suspected of it. They spread their hate at military funerals; many of the soldiers were not gay. What Westboro requires is a deceased person, nothing more.
      They are the morally bankrupt ones.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • AmericanPatriot

      The Church can do whatever it wants, and as a so called American, you should support their right to do so. Only a hypocritical liberal, gay drone would see it differently. Your son is probably gay and you are upset about it – and rightfully so. Have him join the Girl Scouts.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Jeff

      FYI. Westboro Baptist is not a Southern Baptist Church. In fact they are going to picket the next SBC convention.

      June 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Lefty Coaster

      AmPat, why the "so-called" in your reply to Scout Father? In all your disturbed posts, you have yet to identify the particular persecution of the Baptist church you believe is being propagated. That's because there is none. Indeed, the church can do whatever its leaders decide, same as the Scouts. The truth is that when they withdraw their support, the Scouts will easily find another organization to provide facilities for their meetings, and their troops will be stronger by having eliminated some of the bigoted adults. It's a shame that the children of these intellectually weak non-leaders will have to disengage too.

      June 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • time for a witch-hunt

      This is a blabtist fundraising/recruiting stunt. Westboro has exposed the cults hatred in such a vile way that people in the cult have been forced to see what a spiritual cesspool the cult really is. The cult has lost so many members (it has always had a high turnover rate... this is just worse than usual) it had to find an easy way to replace them. They have decided to once again return to their root and do what they do best: appeal to bigots. As always, they chose an easy target that can't fight back (the technical term for this is cowardice). "we need a witch-hunt... I know... let's target quaaaaaarrrrrs!

      June 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Scout Father

      Jeff – Thank you for the clarification. I talked to a Baptist minister about Westboro and he did not elaborate who they are affiliated with.

      AmPat – Thanks for the laugh! Typical that you believe anyone who does not agree with you is liberal, gay, or both. My son is far from it, but I have raised him to be open minded. By the way, his is an athlete, in ROTC, conservative, and hopes to go to West Point. I dare you to call my 6 ft-1 inch son gay to his face!

      I never said that the church couldn't do what it wants. The Boy Scouts can also do what they want. The Baptist church has not had issue with the BSA accepting Muslims, Jewish, Hindu or (heaven forbid!) Catholic Scouts. Why should this be any different?

      June 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  2. Flooby

    Religion is the biggest joke EVER.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  3. Bart

    This is the same bunch that brought us narrow-minded decisions like boycotting Disney World for recognizing gays and telling us to pull our kids out of public schools and do the home school mind control thing! What do you expect??!! Put your heads in the sand, Bretheran, and it will go away!

    June 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Dude

      Now, in addition to home school, they can have home scouts. In fact, never let your kids leave the house.

      Those home school proms are ideal for family trees that do not fork.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  4. 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 evenutally.

    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 (from God) moral truth on this issue in light of the ignorance of current scientific knowledge, inter-Christian conflict, and hypocrisy. Quite simply, Christians no longer have a leg to stand on in their judgment of gays.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:31 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 11:32 am |
  5. Chris

    It was all that Dan Marino's fault everyone knows that. Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  6. Josh

    Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya, Baptists.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  7. Wootings

    Hooray for the Boy Scouts! Driving away the specter of religion from your organization must be incredibly uplifting. Now if you could just get the Mormons and all the other hate organizations to follow suit, you'd be free!

    June 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • SMRTR THN U

      Wootings, get a clue! If you read the article you will notice that the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints) supported the change.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • kaycee_ca

      Odd... The Mormons told Boy Scouts they would be fine with the policy change. So where's the hate?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • In Support!

      Wootings, the Mormons actually SUPPORT the change to the BSA!

      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 11:53 am |
  8. MagicPanties

    I heard Tim Reed and Marcus Bachmann are BFF's. hmmm...

    June 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Happy Atheist

      Bi-se.xual Friends Forever?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Akira

      Ever notice how much Marcus looks like the late Benny Hill? Separated at birth?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  9. Byrd

    Good riddance. None would even qualify for a bobcat badge with prejudice and ignorance-based fear so ruling their lives.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  10. Thomas Jefferson

    Whenever... preachers, instead of a lesson in religion, put [their congregation] off with a discourse on the Copernican system, on chemical affinities, on the construction of government, or the characters or conduct of those administering it, it is a breach of contract, depriving their audience of the kind of service for which they are salaried, and giving them, instead of it, what they did not want, or, if wanted, would rather seek from better sources in that particular art of science.

    [If] the nature of... government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  11. Topher

    "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."

    June 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • midwest rail

      Oh, stop yourself. Men have been issuing end of days warnings since 40 A.D.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • snowboarder

      @topher, the dark ages called. they want their supersti tions back.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Wootings

      ...also:

      "Leaveth thine loosed teeth under thine pillow, and the Dental Angel will visit thee in thine slumber, replacing thine lost teeth with sheckels and mites."

      June 3, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Fred

      ""But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.""

      ==== CHRISTIANS!

      Thanks, couldn't have said better about the Christian religion.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Topher

      Maybe. But this sure sounds like our generation to me.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • mama k

      How did that help the RCC eventually reconcile with Galileo's work?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Doobs

      Wow, a bible verse that uses scare tactics, guilt, shame and the threat of hell. How original.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • midwest rail

      And everyone else who issued warnings was just as sure as you are. And wrong.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Adam

      "Maybe. But this sure sounds like our generation to me."

      Topher stop watching so much TV, it's not reality. Plus every generation has tried to use that line on the next proving it's false.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Topher

      mama k

      I'm not Roman Catholic. They can answer for themselves.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Topher

      Doobs

      "Wow, a bible verse that uses scare tactics, guilt, shame and the threat of hell. How original."

      Wow. An atheist who whines about the Bible without even reading it. How original. NOTHING in that verse mentions Hell, nor does it use "scare tactics, guilt, shame" ... it just describes what people are like. Want to try again?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      The ancient prophecies are being fulfilled!
      ' The age of evil has come to the world . Everyone steals and hoards great wealth, and sensual sin rules the day. The end of the world is at hand – yet men are hard and cruel, and listen not to the doom that is coming . No one heeds the cries of his neighbour, or lifts a hand to save. '

      Repent, sinners and put your faith in the King of the Gods!
      Only by putting your faith in Odin can Ragnarok be escape!

      June 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • mama k

      Nice side-step, Topher. Then you you still think the sun is not the center of our solar system, Topher? That the earth is flat? Things like that?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Topher

      mama k

      Why would I think those things, mama?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • JamesK

      Topher
      Paul gave this advice to Timothy, but did that advice help Timothy in his lifetime? Did the end come, or was Paul illustrating that he believed that Timothy was living in the end times at that time? Jesus and Paul were apocalyptic and both believed that the end times were imminent, meaning within their generation. Guess what, they were both wrong, and no amount of reinterpretation can change that. The predicted end times did not occur.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • 13directors

      Why you just described the Baptist leadership succintly.

      "For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power."

      Avoid such people.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • CA Liberal

      Yup....sounds like a Southern Baptist.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • mama k

      Well if you do believe that the earth is not the center of our solar system, then that's great, Topher. That's a good sign.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Topher

      JamesK

      "Did the end come, or was Paul illustrating that he believed that Timothy was living in the end times at that time?"

      No on both.

      "Jesus and Paul were apocalyptic and both believed that the end times were imminent, meaning within their generation."

      They are imminent, but Jesus did not teach that it would come within His lifetime. That wouldn't make sense considering what has to happen to enter into that period.

      "Guess what, they were both wrong, and no amount of reinterpretation can change that. The predicted end times did not occur."

      Of course not. It hasn't happened yet. We're still in the era known as the "church age." But that sure seems like it is coming to a close.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • UhOh

      ""Jesus and Paul were apocalyptic and both believed that the end times were imminent, meaning within their generation."

      They are imminent, but Jesus did not teach that it would come within His lifetime. That wouldn't make sense considering what has to happen to enter into that period."

      Another xtian lying for their god.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Topher

      mama k

      Again, mama, why do you think I would believe those things?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Topher

      UhOh

      And what exactly am I supposedly lying about?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • JamesK

      Topher
      "Maybe. But this sure sounds like our generation to me."
      And every generation of Christians was sure that it sounded like their generation since Paul's time. What kind of prophecy is that? Basically, all that Paul said is that there are people who don't believe in the same things he taught Timothy, and he's bad-mouthing those people. It's not surprising that people rejected Christianity back in the beginning as they have through history and continue to today. Paul said so himself in 1 Cor. 1:23

      but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

      It was seen as foolishness by many then, and it's still seen as foolishness today, and for good reason.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • @chad

      @Topher

      So when Jesus says Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place., what he really means by generation is a really long churchy type time?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • mama k

      You just strike me as the type from previous blog posts, Topher. So what do you mean by "But this sure sounds like our generation to me." What is "this"?

      June 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Topher

      @chad

      "So when Jesus says Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place., what he really means by generation is a really long churchy type time?"

      He's specifically talking about that generation at the time of the end. Remember, the Tribulation (the "end times") will only last for 7 years. That's less than a generation. So those people alive at the time "will not pass away" (meaning their generation, not individuals) until all has been fulfilled.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • JamesK

      Topher
      "They are imminent, but Jesus did not teach that it would come within His lifetime."

      "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

      This whole "church age" stuff is theology made up to explain why the end hasn't come. Even Revelation was made up to explain that. Jesus and Paul expected the end to come soon. That's why they were against marriage and hoarding any wealth at all, for example. Both are terrible advice now, of course, but you have to realize that things are not automatically prophecy just because they failed to happen. The Mayan 2012 Calendar doomsday didn't happen either, but there are still people who believe that it will. How is that possible? Jesus said that his generation would not all die before the end came, and it didn't. It's just ridiculous to try spinning that to mean something else.

      TTFN Gotta go for now. Been a nice, non-threatening discussion, and I appreciate that.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  12. Greg

    I support the Baptists' right to make their decision, but I think they're wrong. They're making a judgement based upon text within Leviticus...which also states women can't wear men's clothes and that if they don't cover their heads they'll go to hell. (I've seen LOTS of baptist women in jeans and without hats). The flaw in their rationale is denying that that the bible was written and edited MANY times by people. Thinking every word of it represents good, is a bad idea.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • snowboarder

      the great thing about freedom of association is that they can make that decision and they can deal with the repercussions of that decision.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  13. The real Tom

    I love it that you muttonheads think your say about gays and gay marriage really matter.

    "We have the right to oppose it."

    Might as well oppose people being left-handed, idiots. It isn't something a person chooses or can change just because you don't like it.

    What really is funny is how much time you all seem to spend imagining scenarios that involve penises and anuses.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Akira

      Completely ignoring the fact that there are gay women, and that they find it "hot" to watch two women engage in gay sex.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • LinCA

      @Akira

      You said, "Completely ignoring the fact that there are gay women, and that they find it "hot" to watch two women engage in gay sex."
      It's not just gay women that find that hot. It's the ultimate heterosexual male fantasy to have sex with multiple women that also have sex with each other.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  14. Colin

    Another small step in the isolation and marginalization of the Christian sects. The gay issue is a godsend for we atheists. It pushes so many young people who would not otherwise question the existence of the Christian Sky-Fairy (a/k/a God) to now do so.

    Thank you gay folks and a big THANK YOU to all the small-minded god nuts and Bible cuddlers who, by opposing the legitimate rights of gay folk, have made we atheists' job so much easier.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  15. 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 evenutally.

    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 (from God) moral truth on this issue in light of the ignorance of current scientific knowledge, inter-Christian conflict, and hypocrisy. Quite simply, Christians no longer have a leg to stand on in their judgment of gays.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  16. Hilikus

    "Southern Baptists said they are preparing for a surge of interest in the Royal Ambassadors at their upcoming convention in Houston."

    LOL!!!

    June 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Smarter than U

      How much you wanna bet there are sword fights among the Royal Ambassadores membership.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  17. 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 11:14 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 11:15 am |
    • Further Support!

      This further supports what you've said, mama k!

      Gay gene, deconstructed

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

      June 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  18. M

    Interesting how many of them did the same thing when school integration came along in the '50s and '60s. I bet they thought they were doing the moral thing when they all pulled their kids out of public schools and set up all-white "academies". And now, 50 years later, they just look like the racists they were.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  19. Bill Deacon

    Effects of marriage on gaay men:

    In 2009, a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-seex marriage in the US to an increase in the rates of HIV infection.[153][154] The study linked the passage of same-seex marriage ban in a state to an increase in the annual HIV rate within that state of roughly 4 cases per 100,000 population.

    A study by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that gaay men in Massachusetts visited health clinics significantly less often following the legalization of same-seex marriage in that state.[155]

    So in addition to the concerns traditional marriage supporters have, it appears that in the short term, gaay marriage may not be all that good for the participants.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • .

      "Effects of marriage on gaay men:"

      2012

      YeahRight

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      Like their heterosexual counterparts, many gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting, committed relationships. Indeed, many of them do and that large proportions are currently involved in such a relationship and that a substantial number of those couples have been together 10 or more years.

      Research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Research examining the quality of intimate relationships also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

      A large number of gay and lesbian couples raise children. Children and teenagers whose parents provide loving guidance in the context of secure home environments are more likely to flourish – and this is just as true for children of same-sex parents as it is for children of opposite-sex parents. Based on research findings, mental health professionals have also reached a consensus that the quality of relationships among significant adults in a child’s or adolescent’s life is associated with adjustment. When relationships between parents are characterized by love, warmth, cooperation, security, and mutual support, children and adolescents are more likely to show positive adjustment. In contrast, when relationships between parents are conflict-ridden and acrimonious, the adjustment of children and adolescents is likely to be less favorable. These correlations are just as true for children of same-sex parents as for children of opposite-sex parents.

      Assertions that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same sex couples, or that the children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children of heterosexual parents, have no support in the scientific research literature. On the contrary, the scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has consistently shown that the former are as fit and capable as the latter and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents.

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

      Bill, you're such a joke. Let's talk about you breeders and your STD's. Really.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • The real Tom

      I do not think you quite grasp how to interpret those statements you quoted, Dill.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Alias

      Bill, you never cease to amuse me.
      Could it be that when the first states legalized gay marriage, that gay people moved there? Wouldn't that explain the numbers you are citing?

      And just for the record – HIV/Aids is relatively difficult to catch from a woman. That is why it is not spreading as fast throught the straight community, and why it is very rare in lesbians.
      Drug use can spread it too.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Dave

      You are reading this wrong. Banning it made it go up. Legalizing it made it go down. Because they married and were faithful to their spouse.

      "A study by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that gay men in Massachusetts visited health clinics significantly less often following the legalization of same-seex marriage in that state.[155]"

      June 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • How much money was spent on this study?

      What I find funniest is that they went looking for some connection and all they could find was an increase of 4 cases per 100,000 with a margin of error of +/- 2 and at 6.5 million living in Massachusetts that means a total possible increase of 130 to 260 cases.

      June 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  20. Pastor Dan

    If you can look around at all the hatred, suffering, death, and destruction in this world and still believe that an all-powerful, benevolent, loving God created this and allows this, you are clearly suffering from a very serious mental illness called RELIGION.

    June 3, 2013 at 11:09 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.