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.
Blown away by all the people posting who are bashing any form of belief in God. One for the moral decay of our country. Religion and belief in God is about the only thing anymore that keeps us from killing each other off.
Wow, just wow. Ever heard of Palestine, 9-11, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Northern Nigeria, Myanmar, or the former Yugoslavia?
That frightens me, angela. Belief in God (imaginary) is what keeps you from going out and killing someone? What if it one day asks you to go out and kill someone?
Just shut up angela, not because you do not have a right to speak, but because you display your ignorance of history.
No, what keeps us from killing each other are our human morals.
You said, "Religion and belief in God is about the only thing anymore that keeps us from killing each other off."
If you and your fellow delusional believers need your imaginary friend to be tolerable human beings, I implore you to never give it up. Society is poorly equipped to deal with millions of murderers, should they free themselves of the mental shackles of religion.
And justhow did the jews make it across the desert if they didn't know killing is wrong?
People kill in the name of God all the time...and they feel good about it
So, Angela, if there were no god you would become a murderer? I guess you'd better keep on believin'.
If you believe the only thing that prevents one human being from harming another is a belief in God, you have some serious morality issues. Religion should augment a preexisting belief that deliberate harming of another living being is wrong; not define that belief. Anyone who believes that morality can only exist within the confines of a religious belief needs more help than 'God' alone can provide.
10% of all birds and mammals are gay. Otherwise the world would have been awash in furs and feathers. The God of the Christian Bible must have forgotten what was created in the first place. Such a God thankfully exists only in print and nowhere else.
Yet they continue to exist? You sir, are a f* uktard!
This Jesus and god thing is so 12 century.You people who beileve in all this garbage are wasting your time and life. You might has well live in the dark ages. Go seek counseling if you are scared of life and cannot deal with what everyone else is doing. I really could care less who is sleeping with who. Keep your nose out of everyone elses business.
Could care less, or couldn't care less? Which is it? You've got me confused.
“It’s not a hate thing here,” and he can stuck a %^@&
I'd be happy to volunteer mine. Cheers!
Trouble is, the Bible is not God's word. Some people just think it is.
By the waystephanurus evolution gave you the brain............OK and se-x was needed back then .
Hey all creationists ...........chadie too....the truth below !
The fairy in the sky DID NOT create US !
Ancient life...............3.5 billion years ago.............NO god(s) or horn-y red devil (666 the beast) never has been
Disappearance of Stromatolites, Earliest Visible Manifestation of Life: Ancient Enigma Solved?
May 28, 2013 — The widespread disappearance of stromatolites, the earliest visible manifestation of life on Earth, may have been driven by single-celled organisms called foraminifera.
Or crickets go splat chad .............E=mc2
exactly as you quoted "may have been"....you have no more claim to being right than they do....and I'm not a bible thumper
science, when God was handing out brains, you thought He said trains, and yours, like most toys, got broken.
HS is where the sun does not shine !
science, did Genesis 1:22 go too high over your head?
Hey HS you too !
Remember chad/faith........... the talking donkey you like so much might of chewed on that BONE.............that created eve...
Ne se-x there faith/lol??
The Baptist Church is showing its true exclusionary colors.
Funny how the gay supporters force and celebrate a private organizations cave to allow gays, but then gets all upset and wants to belittle any of the private organizations supporters that decide to no longer support them.
How arrogant and judgmental can you get, and then call religion something that forces it's agenda on people.
Is HS looking for chad at the end ?
Your ignorance is showing.
The BSA is still free to set their membership policies. That they've decided to slowly enter the 20th century is laudable. They could and should have done it sooner. They could and should have done it more completely. But even baby steps are welcomed.
It is high time that the ignorance that lays at the core of religion, and the hatred that flows from it is exposed for what it is. There is no rational reason to deny gays the same access as everyone else. There are no rational reasons to discriminate against them for anything.
Organizations that continue to do so, while in their right to do so, should expect to see backlash. The Southern Baptists seem bent on remaining ignorant of modern science, and prefer to believe their interpretation of their fairy tale over a rational approach. Not only are they moronically ignorant in doing so, they are also hateful bigots for trying to force others to live according to their fantasy.
Actually what's going on here is that HeavenSent is notorious for often avoiding conversation, and resorting only to quoting scripture. A well-deserved jab.
science, are you going to stay perverted until the end?
Maslow's hierarchy lead you all with cheese.
No HS NOT perverted..............but you really looked like you where looking for something that had an end !
Religion is the primary source of hatred in the world – The bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.
chiz, the bigotry and hatred lies with the backward ones. For which you are.
Do Boy Scouts nowadays pray and have religious events? That would be too boring for kids.
I thought Boy Scouts was an independent non-religious organization.
It is, but it's supported by various religious communities, including Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims, to name a few.
Its a moral stance, there might still be hope for us yet.
Really Jim? So, IF we believe being gay is a sin...are they abandoning the most successful character building organization because they have "sinner" among their ranks? Are we to believe there are no sinners in Baptist churches? ridiculous.
Damn right! And after this, maybe the Baptists can push to re-segregate schools. Being against mixes of races is a moral stance. And slavery? Bring it back! The bible says it's okay, so it would be immoral to Not have slaves!
Isn't it GREAT that you can justify anything on the grounds that it's a moral stance?
Why stop there with our "moral stance"? Why don't we simply arrest those sinners and brand their foreheads with the letter "Q"? We could also arrest those who cheat on their taxes, committ adultry, worship any God but Jesus, use profanity, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or believe in evolution. Let's brand them all! For Jesus!
Ana, what part of Genesis 1:22 do you not comprehend?
My Dear Southern Baptists:
I have no problem with gays in the Boy Scouts. I fact, I don’t have a problem with anything, because, you see, I do not exist.
The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the actions and thoughts of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is utterly ludicrous.
Scondly, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.
Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.
Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.
Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?
Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).
Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.
Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.
Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?
Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.
Move on – get over me. I did.
But I'm a Deacon. If I leave all this where else will I have to go to influence young people and play power games? It's never been about God, Colin.
Colin, how do you know God doesn't exist? and also, why do you exist?
Colin, what part of Genesis 1:22 went over your head?
This shouldn't be a surprise. Going back to the civil rights era and the church's support for bigots like George Wallace, to the here and now of Westboro Baptist church, the Baptist's and particularly the Southern Baptist Convention are nothing but an American version of the Taliban. The will continue to sink into the backwater of fundamentalist religious groups and hopefully disappear from the earth.
Yes, we will and will be better off.
I stand with the church; no gays. What a sad day I am living in. I never thought I would live to see America fall, but she is. It isn't just gays and lessons, it is simply the satanic path we now glorify as Amercans. How sad. Good luck to all of you who support these new world life styles, but it will not work, you all are living a Hollywood fantasy, and you will not make it. I pray for all of you.
Truly, what a sad day when you let your religion dictate such hatred from you.
Thanks OldschoolUSA, you pray for us and we'll think for you.
Maybe you should just move to Afghanistan where religious idiots like you keep kids out of school and women subjugated. Or there is another path you could take, maybe just off yourself and be done with us. We won't miss you.
Here is what is sad. How much of a bigot you are. Or how about how many issues you have and how much counseling you need in order to deal with all your issues. Go directly to counseling you need help.
You are so right. The good old USA is controlled by the Devil, and we do his deeds. First it started with the blacks, then we fought against the Germans when they could have wiped out those Jews, then we let the women have rights! It is not bigotry, it is morals. Your like me man and have excellent morals!
oldschool, Jesus has the last word since he wins.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the a.bominable, and m.urderers, and w.h.oremongers, and s.orcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Finally some good news....I mean I'm not so much into the "God says so" thing....I'm just sick of the LGBT agenda to the point where I think hate is going to find it's way back in, and in a big way. People will only be pushed so far and the negative side of this WILL surface.....always has, always will....oh, before I forget, making it real only makes me a narrow minded bigot...hahahaha....so be it......at least I'm not gay thank God....oops....that slipped...hahahahhahah
No, but God won't forget that bit of hatred you just dished out. Shame on you.
Here is what is sad. How much of a bigot you are. Or how about how many issues you have and how much counseling you need in order to deal with all your issues. Go directly to counseling you need help.
I'm sick of religion
And I'm sick of the "racial equality" agenda being pushed by blacks. And the gender equality agenda being pushed by women??? Next thing they'll want the vote!!!!
"oh, before I forget, making it real only makes me a narrow minded bigot…hahahaha….so be it……at least I’m not gay thank God….oops….that slipped…hahahahhahah"
At least you're honest about yourself; you realize you're a hateful bigot.
Oh, before I forget, your kind is dying out. Please do all you can to make that happen sooner by doing so yourself.
My oh my....if one doesn't cater to your beliefs how terrible they are....hahahahah.....dying out....hardly....you guys represent less than 3% of the population (once again, thank God), and you think tolerance equals acceptance....poor poor souls....
Perhaps they are affiliated with Landover Baptist, where the unsaved are unwelcome. How "christian" of them.
Interesting how it's NOT hateful and bigoted when gay / lesbian groups don't support something that goes against their beliefs, however, it IS hateful and bigoted when others do the same. No matter how you cut it, hypocrisy is wrong no matter the preference of the hypocrite.
Are you really that fvcking dumb that you can't see the distinction. Gay groups do not consider Baptists as "sinners" nor do they want to deny Christians the right to marry, serve in the millitary or generally be respected as human beings.
Your comment is as breathtakingly stupid as the chief of police of a Mississippi town in the 1960s complaining that "blacks aren't seen as raciest when they compalin that my men hit them with battons."
Away you American Taliban devil! Away I say! Cast off your religion and all that hate, and you feel so much better.
Wow, Dee. Come on. You're not really that stupid, are you?
completely agree with colin...... your argument is invalid
Standing up for equality is not hypocrisy. And some of these arguments remind me of the same arguments used against civil rights. There is no god given right to discriminate.
Dee...you are spot on.......
Colin...whether one agrees with you or not...there is not a soul in all of intelligent America that would follow you or anything you say. Are you the spokesperson for Gay America?? If so, take your filth and go somewhere else.
Dee you are really quite devoid of rational thought, best to be quiet.
@Kodak – look three responses up.
Standing up for equality is not hypocrisy. And some of these arguments remind me of the same arguments used against civil rights. E.G allowing African-Americans to vote is against our moral beliefs. There is no god given right to discriminate.
So hating a hater is just as wrong? When you are told that your existence is a sin what should your response be?
I never said it was a sin or a choice.....simply a rare malformation in the womb....even nature makes mistakes
Dee and Secular Humanist from Ohio, what part of Genesis 1:22 went over your heads?
There will always be problems like this in the world as long as religion is alive. To move forward, human beings need to let go of the fairytales and use their brain to make sound judgements.
The fairy tale is to believe that you know better than God.
Given the apparent low IQ of most who post on CNN, I'm wondering why someone hasn't yet posted that this whole issue is the total fault of the Mormons.
We left the up to you, thanks for playing.
Your bigotry reads loud and clear. Anyone a blessed with superior IQ such as you?
Why are you posting, genius?
You do realize that the "IQ" is not a universally accept or 21st century enlightened standard for evaluating the intelligence of an individual or the talents inherent thereto? Abilities in the arts, for instance, cannot be evaluated through a verbal/math "select the best answer' quiz, nor can spatial intelligence and higher level reasoning be measured accurately. Thew "IQ" test was a quick and available test that grew out of a need to classify US draftees in WWI, unfortunately it lacked the ability to test the military skills of loyalty, obedience, courage and imagination. I suggest that you take a higher and different view of intelligence, which is more than mere rote memorization of obscure words not used in everyday language (using incorrect words in an given situation is a true test of ignorance and arrogance) and having the ability to differentiate an equation for everyday use is quite irreverent. Meanwhile most people cannot reason c erectly and make sound judgments as witnessed by their immature driving abilities and undisciplined life decisions.
Sounds like these bigots taking their balls and going home because they didn't get their way. Now if the BSA can just stop discriminating against gay adults and atheists, it'll actually be a worthwhile organization.
Amen; bon voyage, and don't let the door of the church hit you in the rear on your way to the bully pulpit.
I hope those of you who wanted this in the first place will empty your wallets to support the BSA. They're going to need it now. I'm sure you don't give a rip about it - you just want to impose your beliefs on others. Oops, that's what you accused us of doing. Oh, well. Happy funding.