May 31st, 2013
04:19 PM ET
Baptists plan exodus from Boy Scouts
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - For Southern Baptist pastor Tim Reed, it was Scripture versus the Scouts.
“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin,” said Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas.
So when the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its ban on openly gay youths on May 24, Reed said the church had no choice but to cut its charter with Troop 542.
“It’s not a hate thing here,” Reed told CNN affiliate Fox 16. “It’s a moral stance we must take as a Southern Baptist church.”
Southern Baptist leaders say Reed is not alone.
Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
That number could drop precipitously.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.
The denomination will vote on nonbinding but influential resolutions during a convention June 11-12 in Houston.
“There’s a 100% chance that there will be a resolution about disaffiliation at the convention,” said Richard Land, the outgoing head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “and a 100% chance that 99% of people will vote for it.”
“Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts en masse,” Land continued.
Roger “Sing” Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, emphasized that local congregations make their own decision on the Scouts.
But he, too, said he expects Baptist delegates, which the church calls “messengers,” to voice their disagreement with the BSA's decision to allow gay youths.
“With this policy change, the Boy Scouts’ values are contradictory to the basic values of our local churches,” Oldham said.
Several religious groups with strong Scouting ties support the new policy.
“We have heard from both those who support the amended policy and those who would have preferred it would not have changed,” said BSA spokesman Deron Smith.
Faith-based organizations charter more than 70% of Scout chapters, providing meeting space and leadership, according to the BSA.
“There have been some organizations that have decided not to renew their charters with Scouting," said Smith, "but we can’t quantify the impact of the amended policy."
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors more Scout units than any other faith, all endorsed the change.
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which is run with oversight from a bishop, said Thursday that allowing gay youths in the Scouts does not conflict with church teaching. Each bishop will decide whether or not to allow churches in his diocese to charter Scout units, the committee added.
“We ask that Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment,” said Edward Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.
But the Rev. Derek Lappe, pastor of the Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton, Washington, has already made up his mind.
“I do not feel that it is possible for us to live out, and to teach, the authentic truth about human sexuality within the confines of the Boy Scout’s new policy,” said Lappe.
The priest told CNN affiliate FOX16 that his parish will part ways with the Scouts and develop its own programs.
There may soon be an alternative to the Scouts for social conservatives like Lappe.
John Stemberger, founder of On My Honor, a group that opposed the Scouts’ change in policy, plans to convene conservatives in Louisville, Kentucky, in June to consider forming a new Scout-like group, which could be up and running by the end of 2013.
“Churches and Scoutmasters are looking for leadership and direction,” said Stemberg, an attorney in Orlando, Florida.
A number of conservative religious denominations already sponsor their own groups.
For instance, the Southern Baptists have the Royal Ambassadors, an explicitly Christian program founded in 1908 for boys in first through sixth grade. (A similar group called Challengers equips older boys in “mission education.”)
The name comes from the New Testament, in which the Apostle Paul tells Christians to be “ambassadors for Christ.”
The estimated 31,000 Royal Ambassadors pledge “ to become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ; to have a Christlike concern for all people; to learn how to carry the message of Christ around the world; to work with others in sharing Christ; and to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body."
While not as outdoorsy as the Boy Scouts, Ambassadors do camp and play sports, said Land, who was a member of the group during the 1950s. But instead of merit badges for archery and bird study, young Ambassadors earn patches for memorizing Bible verses and mission work.
Southern Baptists said they are preparing for a surge of interest in the Royal Ambassadors at their upcoming convention in Houston.
“We really have an opportunity here to strengthen our RA programs,” the Rev. Ernest Easley, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, said in a sermon last Sunday, “and to get the boys in a program where they’re going to be protected, where there’s a high moral standard and where they will have an opportunity to learn about camping, missions, evangelism in the local church.”
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About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
I hadn't thought before of the benefit of the scouts taking their progress in two parts. By only changing the status for children, it made it clear those leaving are leaving for reasons other than their perceived (PERCEIVED) safety of the children. They would have hid behind this perception if the scouts had opened up completely. This clarifies that.
Now they have to stick with the one message of their perception of the word of God, which, it appears they do not share with other faiths.
I don't think the scouts were this savvy to make that intentional, but the Southern Baptists, no friend of mine anyhow, don't look any better in this. They really look even worse. Too bad that the embodiment of their "love" ends up hurting children. That's no love I want anyhow.
It's funny, when the BSA decided a few years ago to purge their organization of Gay Scout Leaders, the United Way immediately cut off their financial support as well local school boards woud'nt allow the BSA to use their facilities. So why should you Liberals care if the Baptists withdraw their support? When are you Liberals going to support mixed gender camping trips between the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides?
The United Way did the right thing. The Baptists are doing the wrong thing. That's the difference.
I don't support mixing boy and girl scouts in the same campouts, for practical reasons. We don't want all the straight boys getting all the straight girls pregnant. That's not an issue with gay scouts.
As a liberal, I'm glad the church is getting out of the boy scouts business. It was never about promoting a church or a religion above others.
Bye bye. While you're at it, leave the world.
The Baptists are leaving boy scouts? Bye.......
This isn't going to change the Boy Scouts one iota. I was a Boy Scout, many eons ago, and I never had before, nor have I ever since encountered so many gay boys in one geographical area than I did on those scout campouts.
Just like in the military, there have always been gay scouts, there always will be gay scouts, and if the Christians think scouting will now become an evil organization, then they're more naive then they are discriminatory.
Christians, particularly fundamentalist Christians, believe a lot of things that aren't true.
This is true.
It's absolutely ridiculous. And as if keeping gays out of scouting is going to address the pedophile problem with the scout masters, as gay and pedophilia are two complete and separate things.
Although you will not convince ignorant bigots of that, because, well...they're ignorant.
John Smith... Please list a few of those things. I persuaded that it is you who is believing some things that are not true...
I'm sorry Real Wisdom, but I think you're making that up about the Bible being the "word of god". And I think those that think there is a god, are making that up as well. So I don't see your "Users Manual for discrimination" as being anything other than the word of man.
Yes, gays want you to recognize their lifestyle. But your addition of the word "unholy", is unpersuasive puffery.
Good riddance of those churches and affiliations that continue to inject prejudice as a way of excluding some of God's people all of which are His creation. They evidently don't take into account that God Created Everyone Equal! But the Scouts will be much better off without these narrow-minded groups of that there can be no argument. It's a real shame though that some would withdraw their monetary support for the scouts just in order to please a self-imposed moral standard that in reality does not exist according to Jesus Christ who said nothing about the subject and neither did God's Ten Commandments.
Guess the Baptists conveniently skip over the commandment that says "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife". Church that my parents dragged me to as a kid was Baptist; both pastors there over a six year period both ran off with their secretaries.
Religious organizations have the "Do as I say, not as I do" thing down pat.
were they not keeping with the coveting someone's wife? seems to me maybe it should read 'don't covet your secretary
...............Baptists............my GOD is LOVE.................what is yours?
My God is the one that sat and talked to the Samaritan woman at the well. He is the one that loved the woman, but hated the sin.
He was also the one that ran the corrupt money changers from the temple.
For a Biblically based church to retain their ties to BSA after the May 23 vote, would be hypocritical.
bobwilliams1950 @ hotmail com
It sounds like the Royal Ambassadors were where the evangelicals belonged in the first place. Our Unitarian group didn't go with the Boy Scouts because they denied entrance to LGBT. Maybe this will make everyone happy.
As the song says "Thank god and greyhound their gone!" The bible thumpers' that is.
And I use the word god only for descriptive purposes.
*"they're", not "their"
(and no apostrophe on thumpers)
I'm from Mississippi. I was raised Southern Baptist. It's ignorance and bigotry like this that turned me away from Christianity and gives all Christians a bad name
.......ALWAYS remember that the WORD of GOD is perfect LOVE..................and the word of men,......is NOT........
Jenni, why do you believe the actions of a subset (Baptists) give a bad name to the whole set (Christians)?
For instance, the United Church of Christ fully supports same gender marriage and also performs same gender weddings.
Why do you think the actions of the Southern Baptists gives the a "black eye" to the United Church of Christ?
Perhaps you should spend some time with Matthew 7.
Really-O… Matthew 7 does not and will not change what Thessalonians says…
Real Wisdom – "Matthew 7 does not and will not change what Thessalonians says."
Correct, but Matthew 7 makes it clear that bigotry is not god's way.
...and, @Real Wisdom, how do you reconcile 2Thessalonians 3:6 with Matthew 25:31-46. Betcha can't.
Really-O... It's not possible to be a bigot by following what the word of God says. And the word of God clearly tells us to separate ourselves from those who walk disorderly...
@Real Wisdom – "It's not possible to be a bigot by following what the word of God says"
So says the bigot. And I notice you've neither tried to reconcile 2Thessalonians 3:6 with Matthew 25:31-46 nor Matthew 25:31-46 with your bigotry.
...sorry, that should have read –
So says the bigot. And I notice you've neither tried to reconcile 2Thessalonians 3:6 with Matthew 25:31-46 nor Matthew 7 with your bigotry.
You said, "It's not possible to be a bigot by following what the word of God says."
As soon as you have some evidence that that god of yours is real, maybe you have a case. Until then you are simply justifying your hate and cloaking it in your religion.
Expecting anyone else to follow your religion is bigotry. Textbook.
You said, "And the word of God clearly tells us to separate ourselves from those who walk disorderly..."
Rational people are distancing themselves from the Southern Baptists. I guess we are following your god's word.
Really-O… Matthews 25: 32 says the following "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:". That scripture right there illustrates how God always makes a difference between people who are saved and people who are not saved. And the first thing he did was to "separate them". And how he dealt with each of them was completely different. To the sheep, he said, "Come ye blessed of my Father, etc". But the the goats, he said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire…". The scripture in Thessalonians only continues in that tradition by telling the people of God to "separate" yourselves from those who walk disorderly…
Really-O... Your opinion that I'm a bigot means nothing. All that matters is whether God feels I'm one...
@Real Wisdom –
The gist of Matthew 25:31-46 is in Matthew 25:45. You call yourself a Christian and yet miss that?
@Real Wisdom –
There is no evidence that god is anything but imaginary. I, on the other had, am real and you use the bible to justify your bigotry.
Really-O… I didn't miss anything. It is you who do not understand scripture. And your next post after that explains why. Secondly, there always has been evidence that God exists. And Jesus Christ is the only evidence you need. In contrast to that, atheists like yourself haven't a shred of proof that God doesn't exist. All you have is an opinion. And without any evidence to back it up, it is an opinion that don't mean a thing….
@Real Wisdom –
Matthew 25:45 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
...sounds like instruction from god against judgement, discrimination, and bigotry. But, then again, bigots are nearly always deluded about their own bigotry.
...and, together with Matthew 7, it seems pretty clear how your god feels about bigots.
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Really-O... Since you've made it clear you do not believe in God, then you're not qualified to even have an opinion about him. And any opinion you did have doesn't mean a thing. Therefore, I'm wasting my time. And this is my last post to you...
I should have, more clearly, pointed out the conflict in these two passages:
Matthew 25:45 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
2 Thessalonians 3:6 'In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.'
Believers (Real Wisdom) 0
Do you feel unqualified, Really-O? Your opponent sounds almost as if he or she knows things about God ( I bet it's the God of Israel ) that aren't available to most of us. Probably revealed by an insistent voice she or he hears in the wee hours.
@Tom, Tom, the Other One –
Hey, TTtOO, been a while. Hope you and yours are well.
I plead complete ignorance about the god of Israel – and all other gods – as any honest person would. I'm also not very knowledgeable about any sacred texts – and yet, a "true believer" seemed to have even less understanding of a couple of verses from his own tome. Go figure.
THE BOY SCOUTS WILL BE IT IN BETTER PLACE
And therein lies the problem: you have to get away from this literal thinking. He's not talking about an ACTUAL PLACE.
Baptists are one of the most un-Christian denominations in all of Christianity.
I think you'd be surprised about that, Bill.
You said, "At least they're not gay."
That is probably not true.
Did you know that there is a strong correlation between homophobia and arousal by homosexual imagery. Could it be that Tim Reed and most, if not all, of these homophobes are actually gay and just trying to hide that fact?
Smart money says they are. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014
No, Bill.....but I've know more than a few in my time that had mistresses on the side and were sinners to the core.
One would think that some would be a little more compassionate at funerals but...here we go.
Oral Roberts’ gay grandson speaks out | Dallas Voice - http://www.dallasvoice.com/oral-roberts%E2%80%99-gay-grandson-speaks-out-1032465.html
After reading a lot of these threads, let’s lean toward a logical settlement.
For the Christian and bible believers – separate your kids from the group. And in a minute I will elaborate.
For you atheists and acceptance believers – get rid of the straight Christian kids from among the group.
Both sides will be winners.
For the Bible thumpers, if there are no straight kids there, then when they grow up and teach your grandkids the same as they are taught, then the BSA will be nothing but nan.cy-boys. After a few years, the nan.cy-boys grow up and have….
… wait a minute. Nan.cy-boys won’t have kids so there will be no more need for the BSA. It will be defunct. So the Bible thumpers win out as to ‘there should be no ‘gay’ kids in there. There won’t be anymore of anything they can belong to.
For the accepter group, you will be rid of the criticism and can raise a bunch nan.cy-boys up and eventually will have to find something else to infiltrate and cause a stink about.
Think about it. both sides win. Ain’t it good. Peace and serenity can abound.
Somehow logic might be a solution to consider after all… for both sides of the issue.
You're missing the fact that reasoned people have no problem with gay or straight people. It's only those who discriminate and hate, who want to see people separated.
The best solution would be bigoted people like you to stop having gay children.
Now go get an education.
JustTheFacts – many years ago, the indoctrination of our children started to take place in the schools, then moved into the homes, then into our courts and public administration. all the way to the top of this nation. the compromising will never be stopped until someone (multiples) stand up and get rid of the jelly out of their backbones. but you and I both know that won't happen but with a few. so that is why i suggest the parting of the ways... let them have it... in a few years it will be safe again for normal kids. just got to let them 'breed to extinction' 🙂
The scripueres were written by men who had no idea of the complexities of the human mind. It was easy to write their built-in bigotryand pass it off as the "Word of God".
Just as it is easy to hide behind the Bible to support their bigotry.
It is neither loving nor Christ-like to use this as a reason to hate. Grow up.
JustTheFacts – "Actually, the best solution (if gays want to continue their gay lifestyle) is for gays to start up their own Gay Boy Scouts of America"
Ah, the old "separate but equal" doctrine. Welcome to the racist south of the early 1900s, JustTheFacts. Well done.
"Facts"-about 1 in 10 people are gay, so if you know 10 people, then you probably know someone who is gay, even if they aren't "out." One can only hope that all the LGBT come out and force people to acknowledge and deal with their predjuices.
Some of them are your best friends and when you trash them, you are trashing your friends.
one thing i have learned to do over my years – is to ignore the ignorance of others... so @nancy – how are your grandkids... anyone left there to carry on your family name?
Hey, asshat, stop having gay kids. It's the "normal" parents that keep having them, bigot. And gay peole will adopt all the unwanted children you "normal" people won't touch with a ten foot pole, because you "normal" people do not care about babies once they are born.
You need to be sequestered far away from decent people. You are the abomination, not gay people.
Asshole. I pray to the Lord that every child you have is gay.
WillLogicPrevail – "just got to let them 'breed to extinction'
Can you see the flaw in that logic? Can you?
JustTheFacts....the bible also says eating shellfish and wearing two different types of cloth together are an "abomination", but I'd bet $10 you do both.
You can't cherry pick.
Admit it: you're just using a book to justify and rationalize your bigotry.
Oy... Strange, but my bible doesn't say that...
WillLogicPrevail...so should we assume, then, that you ignore your own posts? Because they are some of the most ignorant things I've ever seen. You talk about "extinction" of a group of people and add a smilie face? Disgusting, morally reprehensible, and just plain rude. Wonder what your god thinks of that. Actually, he probably loves it. I've read the Old Testament...he's kind of a jerk.
Just the Facts....ummmmm...it's in the same set of verses. Nice selective reading. I can assure you, it's there. I, too, was once a Bible Thumper.
@nancy – i thot u spoke with doubt towards the good Lord... so how did the Lord get into this, and ... i thot doubters didn't pray, just prey
Oy – if a group of people wish to move toward extinction, then that is their choice. I have no say in the matter. I am proud to say a raised my kids with morals in mind. they may not adhere to my personal beliefs, but you can bet they are a benefit to society, not a detriment or determent. and my family name continues on... thru blood-relatives, and one adoption also...
as for my 'god' not liking it or liking it... there is an extreme amount said thruout the Book i adhere to, both in the Old and the NEW covenant agreements. but again, without studying it, or the Koran, or the Book of Buda, etc, how do you know what the author of the Book likes or dislikes?
Good. Then the Boy Scouts will be safe for decent people.
There is no evidence that the Bible is the "word of God", and there is no evidence that there is a god at all. The little gems of hatred that Christians love to pull out of this book, are nothing more than the "word of Man".
You're not fooling anyone but yourself.
ya there is evidence. I have it as data in a file. I have experienced the revealing of the Holy Spirit.
No, Justthefacts, we aren't talking about the will of God in this instance. People who believe in God are not haters. This isn't the will of God; its the will of a bunch of Baptists who think they represent God. They don't.
You said, "you will find out if there a GOD when you die!!"
Make sure to tell Odin I said "Hi" when you meet him.
Allah, Zeus, Ra, Vishnu
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Sorry, Austin, but subjective experience is not proof of an objective claim.
yes, an objective claim it is. I have a file with evidence of what a supernatural God did, an what spiritual givings I have received.
austin: if you had evidence, you would come forth with it. the fact that you don't indicates that either there is no evidence, or that it is so flimsy thayt it would be refuted immediately. come on, boy, take your place among the most famous prophets of all time. otherwise, you are just another old drunk who has an elevated image of himself. which is it, boy? prophet or drunk?
I just lost some of the respect I had for the Southen Baptists.
They need to learn to value ALL members of their congregations.
Including the gay ones.
They've gone from racial bigotry to anti-gay bigotry.
But both kinds of bigotry are ugly.
How many gay Cub Scouts do you know, . ?
Truth is, you are severely lacking in education if you think being gay is a choice. I suggest you get your nose out of a book of bigotry and into a book of biology. I also suggest you grow up. The truth is, you are a bigot, and that is wrong; I guess you don't know the difference between right and wrong, either.
It's easy to label the Bible as "truth". Not so easy to convince the rest of us, who see it as nothing but a repository of man's opinions, here on Earth.
The Baptists are simply reading their own privately held opinions out of their own book, and then declaring it to be truth, in order to impose their opinions on others, claiming that those opinions somehow come from "on high."
They fool each other, but they don't fool the rest of us.
The Southern Baptists are mostly black
"And if the bible is indeed truth, and if indeed it is the word of God, then your own personal opinions don't mean a thing…"
That's some kind of effed up logic you have there.
That's what we call a Strawman argument. You're basing your "facts" on something that's not proven to be true. i.e. – "The Bible is indeed truth". You would have to prove that first or it nullifies your entire argument.
"The Southern Baptists are mostly black"
It's the Southern Baptist Convention we're talking about here. 7% black, 80% white.
Some Churches Say They'll Cut Ties to Boy Scouts Following Its Lifting Ban on Gay Scouts
I hear the KKK is accepting new recruits
Well the Westboro Baptist are taking over the rest of the Baptist it looks like. But perhaps not. Wasn't it the Baptist that fought freedom for Blacks, fought interracial marriage, believe that women belong at home (barefoot and pregnant?) and gay marriage?
More proof that the teachings of Christ has nothing to do with these so-called Christians.
Oh, the Baptists have been like this for a long time, trust me.