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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. Chris

    Again the church shows hatred (regardless of what they say, their actions speak louder) and intolerance. If this is what the church teaches and what Jesus died for (supposidly as I am an atheist so I am going by what I learned long ago) then I am glad I am no longer part of that cult.

    Over time members are going to see the church for what it is and the farce that it is becoming and realize they are wasting their time as the teaching and how the church deals with things don't match.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • mags

      Never could understand why there had to be an association between church and Boy Scouts. Scouts are not a prayer group. As for a place to hold den meetings, schools in my area do that already. Conclusion: the rejecting churches will never be missed.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • scieng1

      What hatred? What that church showed is a preference to follow its established authority instead of abandoning it for something new. It is like having a flat tire. You don't abandon it and buy a new car, you just change the flat and get on with life.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Chris

      scieng1; My kids are wondering why the church now hates the scouts. The thing about kids is they do not over complicate things and see it for what it is. This action taken by the church is hateful. Their reaction is to turn their backs on the scouts. Which one only does when one does not like something and if you don't like something then the only other thing is to hate it. In the case of the flat tire, the church abandoned the scouts. So your story does not fit.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  2. Matthew

    I don't understand everyones desire to defend gays, whatever. I am also quote, "a young person." However, I think it is silly that Baptists are leaving BSA because this ruling won't change much of anything. Gay people are rare outside of Hollywood and cities and it is better to have them involved in your group to convert them then to run and hide.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Casey

      How do you "convert" a gay?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Billy

      Wow, that was a big bowl of stupidity.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • BOB

      Dude you need to get out more. Gay people are everywhere. They make up about 7% of the US pop.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Ol' Yeller

      "Gay people are rare outside of Hollywood and cities and it is better to have them involved in your group to convert them then to run and hide."
      Matthew, you say you are 'young', so I'm going to take you at your word and not lambast you for thewhat may possibly be the dumbest sentence written on this post (outside Sparks, but that goes w/o saying). Get an eucation away from whereever it is you are... open your mind, your ears, your eyes (and you might want to close your mouth). Gay people are 10% of the population and they are not just confined to Hollywood and 'the cities'. Learn something before you have a child and he/she turns out to be gay and you ruin their life (as well as maybe your own) trying to convert them.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      You definitely are a "young person".

      1) Gay people are distributed evenly through out the population.

      2) Conversion tactics have been shown to be harmful.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Oh wow, that was a load of ignorance young one. I have lived in big cities and small towns and I know gays exist in each of those places. I have lesbian friends in the Bible Belt of Texas and one of my closest gay friends lives in our hometown with a population of 12000 and yet I have friends in the larger cities who are also gay. Defending gays to ensure they get equal rights and are no longer shunned is what this comes down to, to treating my fellow human with the same respect I wish regardless of who they fall in love with.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Billy – I concur

      June 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  3. Bishop Hairy Palms

    When I was young, my Baptist pastor would preach hatred of gays every Sunday.

    Until he was caught in a hotel room with a male escort.

    Brings to mind the old, "judge not lest ye be judged" doesn't it?

    June 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • rkres

      How the heck do you expect anyone to take you seriously with a name like "Bishop Hairy Palms"? Somewhere there is a rock with your name on it, please crawl under it.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • John the Baptist

      My pastor used to preach against adultery every Sunday.

      Until he was caught banging his secretary.

      Ooops!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • WASP

      my pastor use to preach against a lot of things.......................until the congregation changed then he was fired and we highered a new one.
      isn't the power of the people grand?; however it does beg the question which of those preachers was correct?
      which one was leading the "flock" to heaven, if either?
      answer: you will not know until you are dead, so please all you theists continue to place your bets on whatever horse is in your stable. i'll keep my money and go on vacation. XD

      June 4, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  4. babooph

    The US also admits gays ,are the Baptists leaving ?

    June 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Pastor Dan

      Let us pray that they will.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  5. CMMM

    Last time I checked, this BSA is a private organization with rules... regardless if you like the rules or not, is not the point. They have a right to limit, exclude, etc. all they want. The bowed under pressure instead of standing up for their own rules.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • kenny

      you are absolutely right... back in the 60s they had some simple rules... like "WHITES ONLY"... whatever happened to those...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  6. Science

    Hey creationists chadie too...............splat goes the crickets !

    New Species of Marine Fish from 408 Million Years Ago Discovered in Teruel

    June 3, 2013 — Researchers from the University of Valencia and the Natural History Museum of Berlin have studied the fossilised remains of scales and bones found in Teruel and the south of Zaragoza, ascertaining that they belong to a new fish species called Machaeracanthus goujeti that lived in that area of the peninsula during the Devonian period. The fossils are part of the collection housed in the Palaeontology Museum of Zaragoza.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603133432.htm

    June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      Science – Are you one of those atheists who think Christians believe the earth is 7,000 years old? Everyone knows it's FAR older than that. We have fossils! You silly! 😉

      June 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • faith

      lol

      June 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ JustAGuy

      No, I've seen enough of his posts to know that. He is addressing Young Earth Creationists, one in particular.

      There are posters here who believe that fossils were planted by satan as a preemptive strike as science progressed. Those are the folks this is primarily aimed at, but Science can correct me if I'm making an assumption.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      Doobs – Who are those posters? BTW, I'm an advocate of intelligent design. The logic is sound. I believe those who reject intelligent design do it out of an emotional response.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @justaguy, the intelligent design founder admitted that it was simply a method to attempt to get theology back into public schools. it, just like young earth creationism, is based on nothing.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      you must be new here Guy, there are plenty of young earthers on these boards, maybe even a few flat earthers by the brainless comments some make.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      snowboarder – I don't accept that dismissive response at all. Provide a link. As I stated before, the logic is sound. It is illogical, once considering all the relevant facts to dismiss the probability of intelligent design.

      We speculate with good reason of the likelihood of other planetary systems in the universe based on what we can observe. This is reasonable, yet some of the same methods can be used to consider the probability of an intelligent designer, yet so many shut down with that consideration. It's illogical!

      June 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @JustAGuy
      I'm afraid that ID has been decimated more than once. It's primary proponent, Professor Behe, was quite publically debunked and humiliated in open court. There has never been a single example of "irreducible complexity" that evolutionary biology hasn't been able to explain.
      As a matter of fact, the leading rabble rousers in the Creationist world – The Center for Science and Culture (sponsored by the Discovery Inst.itute) openly admit that their goal isn't to teach what they think is fact. An internal doc.ument leaked in 1999 described the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies". They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to "atheistic naturalism".
      In other words, they fear that teaching FACTS to children will drive them away from religion.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      Doc Vestibule – Merely saying ID was decimated does not substantiate whether what you claim actually did happen or not. What say you? Please, attempt to decimate ID for us all to witness.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Huebert

      JustAGuy

      The problem with Intelligent design is it is basically the theory of evolution+God. Unfortunately the +God is unnecessary, the theory of evolution is an adequate explanation for the diversification of life on earth. Additionally the +God doesn't provide any extra explanation. You might as well say theory of evolution+magic, or +unicorns.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @justaguy, try ncse.com/creationism/general/wedge-docu ment and you can read the docu ment yourself on the page of the national center for science education. it is very enlightening of the actual motives of those creating the intelligent design hoax.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      A fine starting point is reading the transcripts of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District court case.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Science

      Chomp on that bone...................creationists. chadie too.......ID believers too............evolution at its best the old croc.

      Time for the horn-y beast to get the hell out of the bedVrooooom !!!

      Fourteen Closely Related Crocodiles Existed Around 5 Million Years Ago

      May 21, 2013 — Today, the most diverse species of crocodile are found in northern South America and Southeast Asia: As many as six species of alligator and four true crocodiles exist, although no more than two or three ever live alongside one another at the same time. It was a different story nine to about five million years ago, however, when a total of 14 different crocodile species existed and at least seven of them occupied the same area at the same time, as an international team headed by paleontologists Marcelo Sánchez and Torsten Scheyer from the University of Zurich is now able to reveal.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521121323.htm

      June 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  7. JustAGuy

    As a one-time scout myself, I was procrastinating about getting my son into scouting. Now the decision has been made for me. He won't be joining.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Best decision you ever made.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Pastor Dan

      And the scouts will be a less hateful organization without him.

      He's unfortunate to have you as a father.

      Hopefully he will one day rise above the hatred that you teach him.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Colin

      Is that becuase your name represents all you would need to make you happy?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      If they hadn't made this decision, your son would have been surrounded by exactly the same number of gay scouts as he would have after their decision. This changes nothing.

      Just send him along to school, surrounded by the same number of gay students as he would have anyway, and to youth activities, church activities, and so forth, and be surrounded by the same number of gay youths as he would have anyway.

      What exactly do you think you can do to rid the world of this scourge you're so afraid of? Good luck.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Wow, "Pastor Dan", you have a little sarcasm in your reply. Must be heard living a life judging people for their beliefs.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      Pastor Dan – That was a hateful post. You don't know anything about me but you're quick to judge me.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      correction....not heard living, hard living.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @JustAGuy -– You're not going to let him join because openly gay people are allowed? Would you rather they remain in the closet? Your son may have a gay friend oneday, if not, one exsists already. World's evolving, buddy. Try not to pass your limited reasoning to the child.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      The odds are good that your son won't be anything like you fortunately. The new generation is discarding their bigoted parents like so much useless chaff. They realize that the era of instltutionalized bigotry is over and the kids under age 30 are taking off the shackles of hate and letting their parents cinder block bigotry sink to the bottom without them. And there's nothing you can do about it thankfully.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Enjay Sea/Average Joe.....you are missing the point. As a parent he has the awesome privilege to choose what his kids are a part of. If he chooses to not expose his kids to another organization pushing this chosen lifestyle, then so be it. Why is it your business? Let him speak his opinion and not be offended yourself.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Teaching a child hate those that are different is child abuse.

      One day he will likely grow to hate you too.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      good for you. teach your son about bigotry

      June 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Pastor Dan… You stated "And the scouts will be less hateful organization without him."

      Answer: If as a pastor you can make a statement like that then you're a "worker of Iniquity" and you're working for Lucifer. Your reward is in hell…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • rkres

      Just because he is not allowing his son to join the scouts does not equal "teaching hate". Good grief some of you are ridiculous.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Bishop....what are you talking about? Hating a lifestyle is different than a person. I dislike murderers (who also made a choice to do something). Is that child abuse if I teach my kids that they are not to associate with them?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Hairy Palms… So what is teaching your child to hate Christians called? He will also hate you if he ends up in hell…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • John the Baptist

      Speed

      Since gays are born gay, it's not a lifestyle. So you just hate them for being who "God" made them to be.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • JustAGuy

      Happy Atheist – Settle down there atheist. Before you go off accusing people of bigotry, you should consult a dictionary first!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • John the Baptist

      Nice Try

      The only hell that exists is the one between your ears.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Nice Try

      rkres… The gay and atheist viewpoint is not based on logic or reason. It's based on nothing more than trying to get people to agree with their immoral lifestyle…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

      I think that about sums up those who discriminate against another person just because they were born attracted to a specific gender. By your comments you have counted yourself among those discriminating and thus you have proclaimed your bigotry for all of us here to see. I'm just glad that the trends show that your son will likely not grow up like you and that is a good thing because the less bigotry and discrimination in this country the better.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Nice Try

      John the Baptist... Gays are not born. Someone lied to you. And only a weak mind would fall for such nonsense...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      SpeedRacer says: you are missing the point. As a parent he has the awesome privilege to choose what his kids are a part of. If he chooses to not expose his kids to another organization

      But alas, you missed my point! I was only saying that there already were gay scouts, and there will be gay boys in the school he chooses to send him to, and so forth. All he's doing by "boycotting" the scouts is making a personal statement. He isn't even remotely protecting his child from gay boys. That he'll have to do on his own.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      John the Baptist: Being gay is a lifestyle choice. I may not agree with the lifestyle choice but the person is still equal. What about that is not getting through? Are you okay with someone, who in your eyes, is "born" a murderer or a pedophile, perhaps? Your reasoning is only to serve your interests.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      @Nice Cry – I take it you weren't born het ero but you made that choice in your teens then? Could have gone either way until you made that educated choice based on your bible reading? Right?

      June 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      wow speedracer, you are dumb aren't you. Try reading actual peer reviewed science to find out whether people are born gay or not instead of just trying to feel an answer. Being gay is no more a choice than being left handed is. Can some people struggle the rest of their lives trying to fit in by using their right hands? Yes, they can, but there is no reason to other than to avoid the hate and discrimination of simple minded fools like yourself. The only negative to being gay is the discrimination forced on many for so long for just being themselves.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Atheist: Name calling again, huh? I'll type slower so you can read this closer. Peer reviewed science is (and always will be) tainted by agendas. Using actual common sense tells us two men (or women) CANNOT breed. We are humans and breeding is what sustains us. Don't patronize humanity by saying otherwise. I have never said I hate gay's. I dislike their lifestyle. BIG difference. Quit fooling yourself into thinking you believe in nothing.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "Are you okay with someone, who in your eyes, is "born" a murderer or a pedophile, perhaps?"

      Let's see if you can see the difference:

      1. Woman falls in love with another consenting adult who happens to be female, they move in together and spend many happy years being devoted to one another.

      2. Woman gets angry at another adult and attempts to kill them, definitely without the other adults consent.

      3. Woman seduces a child under the age of consent and has her way with the child.

      Okay Speedracer, this one is just for you. Which of the above scenarios has the consent of both parties? I know it's a tough one, but i'll give you a hint, it's not the pedophile and not the murderer... give up?

      That's right you moron, it's number 1. Try racing your way to the nearest library, you might actually learn something there.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      " I have never said I hate gay's. I dislike their lifestyle."

      By claiming it's a "lifestyle" you betray your hate and ignorance.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @JustAGuy
      Would you deny the right to marry to someone who is infertile?
      I'm friends with a lesbian couple who have an infant daughter. Both of them are biologically capable of reproduction, just not with each other.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Atheist: "By claiming it's a "lifestyle" you betray your hate and ignorance"

      Are you even reading what you type or putting any thought into this? Go ahead,I'Il wait, while you read all of what I wrote and actually think about it. You just like saying the words hate, ignorant, bigot, etc......I hope it makes you feel better, though.

      June 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      @speedracer – "Are you even reading what you type or putting any thought into this?"

      Yes, I have more than half a brain, and as I said, when you marginalize someone saying "I don't hate them, but I don't like their lifestyle" you are being hateful. Here's an example:

      Jenny is left handed. Jenny was born left handed. Many of Jenny's friends are right handed. Most of the sports equipment at school is made for right handers. One day as Jenny struggled to use a right handed golf club during class the teacher came over and said "Hey Jenny, why don't you try using your right hand? It's easy, everybody does it, you don't have to choose to be different and make this difficult." which made Jenny run home crying. Why? Was the coach meaning to be mean? No, he was just extremely insensative and hurtful by ignoring her struggle and claiming it to be nothing. How often had Jenny cried herself to sleep wishing she was like everyone else but knowing deep down inside that no matter what she did she could not hide her tendancy to favor her left hand, and she would be discriminated against for the rest of her life because of it.

      If you are not being hateful then you are at best being ignorant and insensative.

      No hiding behind your outdated bronze age myth book either, it does not excuse your bad behavior towards your fellow humans.

      June 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • .

      "Gays are not born."

      Erik

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      June 4, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  8. Colin

    Doc Vestibule – you may have this at your fingertips. What is that joke where two Christians are talking and one says what religion are you, the other replies Christian, he then asks Catholic or Protestant" and it continues down in increasing specificity until they realize they are from two similar but different sub-sub sects and then scream heretic at each other?

    June 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      As featured on "One Click Away" website:

      The Wisdom Of Emo Phillips
      I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me too! Are you epi.scopalian or baptist?" He said, "Baptist!" I said,"Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?" He said, "Baptist church of god!" I said, "Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?" He said,"Reformed Baptist church of god!" I said, "Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heret.ic sc.um", and pushed him off. - Emo Phillips

      June 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Yeah, I heard that one on one of the Prarie Home Companion joke shows. Maybe there's a transcript somewhere...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Captain

      June 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  9. kdmiller45

    I support the Southern Baptist postion 100%, how can the bible teach one thing and a church that follows the words allow an association with an organization that turns it back on the Lords teachings to conform to society today, WRONG we conform to the morals of the Bible not the other way around

    June 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Pastor Dan

      If the Church follows Jesus's teachings, it would practice love, not hate, judgement and bigotry.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      It's not the lord's teachings. It's man's teachings. The Bible was written by, and inspired by man. Stop hiding behind your holy book, and be a man. Admit that it's your owln revulsion, and your own disgust that causes you to hate gays, along with the similarly minded man that wrote Leviticus.

      Who exactly do you think your fooling?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      ... or be a woman, as the case may be ...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Nice Try

      kdmiller45… Amen, KD. Keep up the good work and don't be dismayed by the naysayers and haters of God...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Steve_Denver

      How can you ignore "Judge not, lest ye be judged?"

      June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Nice Try

      EnjaySea… You should stop lying on God. And your reward is waiting. It's called Hell…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I can't lie to a god that doesn't exist.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Pastor Dan… Apparently you don't even know what love is. The scriptures also stated the following: That whosoever is a friend of God's enemies is an enemy of God. Meaning, if you're a friend of gays, then you're an enemy of God. So tell me, are you a friend of gays?…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Nice Try

      EnjaySea… And neither can you have an opinion about one that doesn't exist. And even if you did have an opinion, it wouldn't mean a thing…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Because nothing makes an atheist ponder more, than a verse from the Bible.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      "And neither can you have an opinion about one that doesn't exist. And even if you did have an opinion, it wouldn't mean a thing…"

      You're completely correct. I don't have an opinion about a god that doesn't exist. I have plenty of opinions however about people who pretend that their own internal hatred is "god talking", when it's really you talking.

      Again, you're not fooling anyone but yourself.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Pastor Dan... The word "bigotry" is nothing more than a term used by Lucifer to give people an excuse to disobey the word of God. It is the commandment of God that you should "separate yourselves" from people who walk disorderly. The devil uses the term "bigotry" to say it is not so. And he does it to send your soul to hell…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • faith

      typical god-hating Nazi fascist, dodo, lying thru her teeth

      "EnjaySea
      It's not the lord's teachings. It's man's teachings. The Bible was written by, and inspired by man."

      June 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nice Try

      EnjaySea… Just like an atheist. Apparently you overlooked the part where I stated "Even if you did have an opinion, it wouldn't mean a thing." So who cares…

      June 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "if you're a friend of gays, then you're an enemy of God. So tell me, are you a friend of gays?" I'm a friend to gays, because there is absolutely no reason not to be... so you and your useless god can phuck off...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Roger

      Earlier, "Nice try": "biology is wrong"

      There's not convincing someone like "poor try" – stupidity in full bloom.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Nice Try informed me: Just like an atheist. Apparently you overlooked the part where I stated "Even if you did have an opinion, it wouldn't mean a thing." So who cares…

      I didn't realize that atheists, as a group, missed things in posts. Anyway, I didn't miss your quip. I saw it, and didn't respond to it because, frankly, it doesn't matter to the argument at hand whether or not you discount my opinions. It's pretty typical in debates that one side will discount the opinion of the other, so I didn't think it required a rebuttal.

      Or was that supposed to personally injure me? If it was, then you just weren't vicious enough. Maybe you can give it another try.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      @Nice Cry – I feel the same way about your opinions as they matter not and carry about as much weight as bulimic flea.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  10. sparks2000

    We live in a world that glorifies tolerance. It's ironic that those who often champion this characteristic are quick to abandon it when they encounter people who disagree with their perspectives. Tolerance is a two-way street. Advocates on both sides of contentious issues should avoid extreme rhetoric and name-calling in attempts to marginalize political opponents.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Nice Try

      You are precisely right. And there is only one way out of the impasse: to get on God's side. All else will be cast into the lake...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @sparks, so you suggest we should tolerate irrational intolerance? what kind of lunacy is that. attempting to discriminate against and subjugate a group of people is not a virtue.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Roger

      It was an impasse for a while with Galileo as well. And then humanity moved past it, the church accepting that the earth was not really the center of the universe and was not flat. even the SBC, stuck in the stone age, will probably eventually grab onto some reason and knowledge to stay afloat.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Darwin was right

      Your logic is flawed. Gays and gay boys trying to join the scouts are NOT discriminating or practicing any intolerance. By your requirement that "tolerance is a two way street", then the victims of bigotry are obligated to respect the perpetrators of bigotry. Doesn't make much sense does it? Especially since 12 year old boys no more CHOOSE to be gay than they choose to be short or tall or brown or black hair. It's genetic, and I believe the scientists will, in the next 10 to 15 years, unravel the bases for it. Of course, no one has ever accused Southern Baptists of accepting science and the scientific method!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      Ah yes, the intolerant preaching against intolerance.

      Sorry, that isn't logical The truly intolerant do not get to complain that someone is intolerant of their intolerance!

      It just goes to show you the illogical twists the ultra right wingers will make when someone points out their faults.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Pastor Dan

      Sparky

      Why is the world so intolerant of your intolerance? Perhaps because, unlike being gay, your bigotry is a willfully ignorant choice.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The moral imperative for tolerance is the same that not to murder. In almost all societies we condemn killing of another, but if you kill to prevent killing that is acceptable. Likewise we promote tolerance. But when others are threatened by intolerance, an exception is made. Intolerance, like self defense killing, is a tool necessary in the face of attacks by those like the Southern Baptists. To ask people to do otherwise is to ask them to restrain from defending the innocent. It is the same as criticizing a woman for shooting her would-be murderer or rapist.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      So should we stand down, shut up and watch as those who are trying to deny others equal rights get their way? If our species has any hope for survival we need to grow up, drop the fighting over who has the bigger imaginary friend and treat people equally...living in peace, as much of a pipe dream as that may be, should be our goal.
      Putting the shoe on the other foot is easier said than done but if some-one like Nice Try was being denied equal rights based solely on sexual orientation, they too would fight.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @sparks2000 –

      Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerance.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad-bash underway here –

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/31/southern-baptists-to-urge-churches-and-members-to-cut-boy-scout-ties/comment-page-137

      June 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  11. Frank Eggers

    Carlos,

    That's going slightly too far. It's not a kid's fault if his parents are Southern Baptists. Perhaps if you and your kids interacted with the kids of Southern Baptists, you could help the Southern Baptist kids rise above their bigoted thinking.

    June 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      77 Million Catholics are next

      June 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Nate

      Land of the Free. They had to see this coming. I think many Americans are tired of other's beliefs being forced on them. That goes for both the left and the right.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • mama k

      I'm with you, Dusty, and I have quite a few bones to pick with that group.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  12. Mister Cool Ice

    Next headline: America Plans Exodus from Baptist Church

    June 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Nice Try

      And the next headline after that will be: God leaves America.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Roger

      Southern Baptist Convention and similar. Many other kinds of Baptists are quite different. There are even Baptist churches that protest against Westboro.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • whatever

      there is no GOD you fools

      June 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "And the next headline after that will be: God leaves America." We can only hope... unfortunately, there will always be a percentage of sheeple who would rather not think for themselves...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Nice Try

      whatever… Spoken like a true moron. Big words, and not a shred of proof to back it up...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • See Cap'n

      Nice Try
      "And the next headline after that will be: God leaves America."

      That'd be odd, since 'he' couldn't even get here on 'his' own, but had to be carried across the ocean by delusional Europeans...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  13. Darwin was right

    These are the same SOUTHERN BAPTISTS who, in the past, preached that 1) Blacks are little better than monkeys 2) the BIBLE approves slavery 3) Blacks are not intelligent enough to vote 4) Interracial marriage is a sin 5) GOD wants the races to stay separate, etc. etc. Southern Baptists are one of the most EVIL ORGANISATIONS in American history!

    June 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Nice Try

      But apparently, the Baptists got straightened out. But what about you? Why are you still living in sin and thinking it's okay to be gay?...

      June 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @try, because reason tells me that it is okay to be gay.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Darwin was right

      Say Nice Try, I suppose you still believe in witches (described 4 times in the HOLY BIBLE, so they MUST exist) and that disease is caused by DEMONS, as scripture clearly states in numerous places. And that the Earth is the center of the Universe?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      Spot on, DWR! That good old southern baptist preaching was/is suspiciously similar to the creed of the KKK.

      There are no coincidences.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      June 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Robert in Utah

      I grew up in Alabama and in the Babtist church. What Darwin says is absolutely true. The final straw for me and the Southern Babtist was listening to a serman about how it was a sin for men to wear their hair long, with a statue of Jesus right beside the minister. This was after being convinced that 'this' church had a reasonable preacher.. By the way, in my experience, most things in the south that have the word 'Southern' in front of them usually means non-black.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Nice Try

      Robert… So you left the church because you disagreed with something the preacher said? Now you know why the bible says the following:

      2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Nice Try – God gave us these marvelously sinful bodies, which includes, but is not limited to: who're we attracted to. Why's God such a debacle in the laboratory? God seems to hate most of the products coming from his factory, then he blames the product for being 'sub-standard' to his specs. You know any manufactuer on Earth that can get away with that kind of reasoning?

      June 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  14. Imagine No Religion

    "Ain't that America, little hateful baptists for you and me. Oh yeah."
    (with apologies to John Cougar Mellencamp)

    -–
    "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
    Now that I found out, I know I can cry." - John Lennon

    June 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Nice Try

      You forgot to add that he made that statement from Hell...

      June 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Nice Try

      Thank you for proving my point.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      June 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  15. Otis

    Not at all surprising. Southern Baptists religion is born of racism. The Southern split from the Northern during the Civil War over race. the Southern Baptists fought to continue their racist slave driven ways. I was raised in this church. Nothing has changed. MANY of the people in this church are bigots, anti-female, anti-children, and convinced that all are lost that do not ffollow their racist, bigotted ideology. We saw ALL of that during the presidential race re the Republicans candidates spouting this very view. If ever there was an example of why we MUST separate government and religion, that was it!

    June 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • billfitt

      Northerners were/are total bigots themselves. You're totally FOS for thinking otherwise.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sallervo

      My, the billfitt troll really works hard at representing stupidity in bloom.

      June 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  16. Norm

    I'm glad the Southern Baptists will be keeping their midevil hatred away from the Boy Scouts. Good Riddance. My wife was raised as a Southern Baptist, and they are all insane nutjobs. My wife was 13 or 14, and attending a Baptist camp retreat. They had a campfire each night. One night she, being a young girl full of life, decided that she wanted to dance, and started dancing around the campfire. A church official raced over and grabbed her, basically physically assaulted her and started screaming at her, that dancing was the work of the devil, that she was a sinner, and she was engaging in witchcraft. Yes, dancing around a campfire = witchcraft to those freaks.

    Her family left the "church" soon after and never looked back. Southern Baptists are reactionary, judgemental, anti-freedom, anti-science lunatics who should not be trused for anything. They most certainly should not be trusted with anyone's children. I think they're only a few years away from reviving burnings at the stake.

    June 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  17. Joe Rockbottom

    "The estimated 31,000 Royal Ambassadors pledge “ to become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ; to have a Christlike concern for all people;... "

    HAHA. Sounds like they also teach how to be totally disconnected from your stated purpose!!

    June 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  18. A Revelation

    Here's something for ALL to read and understand well!

    Hom.ose. xuality And The Bible

    https://christiangays.com/education.shtml

    June 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  19. Baptists are Hedonistic

    Now the Gay/Boy Scouts will have someone to cook and clean for them. Win-Win

    June 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      HA, I always hated cooking!!

      June 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Joe Rockbottom

    Baptists would LOVE to have it be like Saudi. I lived in Saudi for 5 years – working at a hospital. The society is totally hysterical – women covered in black, walking behind their men. Women cannot go out of the house without an escort -either a group of women or a male of the family. women need their father/husband permission to travel outside the city.

    They have religious police that go around enforcing various laws – go to church at a certain time, don't wear certain clothes, women must be covered, on and on. Unrelated women and men cannot be together at any time. Women cannont eat in the same section of a restaurant as unrelated med (yes, they put screen around every table to women cannot be near other men!!). It is totally ridiculous!!

    There is no doubt what-so-ever in my mind that the southern baptists would enjoy having such a society. They would be all over it and I be they would have all kinds of miscreants signing up to be religious police. It would be their dream come true.

    June 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • sparks2000

      baptists would love to have it like Saudi?find some commonality's,please.

      June 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      Saudi's (wahabi sunni's) and Baptists:

      Both are ultra right wing fanatical fundamentalists
      Both are in a time warp – Saudi's about 1400 years back, Baptists about 500 years back.
      Both reject the modern world, especially in terms of societal changes that they feel threaten them
      Both are ultra-paternalistic societies that demean women and believe they are only for making babies.
      Both are dependent on ultra-rigid dogma to keep their congregants in line
      Both reject alcohol, dancing, generally having a good time
      Both are abject racists

      Etc

      Strangely enough, however, the Saudi's are "liberal" in some interesting ways.
      Saudi's accept the theory of evolution and modern scientific knowledge
      Saudi's encourage forgiveness, even to the point of forgiving a murderer. Once forgiven by the victim or their family, the perpetrator is free.
      Saudi's will punish drug trafficers with death, but will put drug users in treatment – not jail
      Saudis have harsh punishment, but only if the perp keeps doing the same crime over and over. First time crimes are not usually punished harshly (except murder, drug trafficking and child abuse – all capital punishment).

      June 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • sparks2000

      lame....most commonality's you mentioned are generality's and stereotypes.Get real,man

      June 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Joe Rockbottom

      No, not lame at all. perfectly true.

      I also lived in Atlanta for 5 years. The similarities are very obvious once you've lived in both places! Amusing, really!

      Get used to it!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • sparks2000

      lame man--they are true in your perspective,but not in reality.The things you mentioned are opinionated--none of them can be proven for fact.It is an emotional answer for someone who apparently is emotional on the subject

      June 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • cocoloco

      Joe: There's a big difference in real new testament christianity and the other religions, Jesus never killed people for the sake of his religion, but loved them and yes, disciplined them when they did not behave god-like. I am taking the liberty to say Jesus disciplines through the new testament letters and through his church. There are boundaries to not mess with when it comes to new testament christianity, as there are boundaries in any other type of society. You yourself are under laws and abide by them, so the bottom line: Just because the baptists decide to pull out to not compromise their moral stance, that doesn't make them equal to the Muslims who are extremists. Look into world religions, see what they offer, look at your life, and see for yourself if organized religion makes senses when it comes to protecting human rights and gives us benefits no other government or organization on earth can give. Don't judge all religions based on one extreme case. Have a great day!

      June 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.