June 12th, 2013
02:32 PM ET

Big Baptist group urges ouster of Boy Scout execs

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - The Southern Baptist Convention, the country's second largest church, said Boy Scout executives who pushed to allow openly gay Scouts without properly consulting members should be ousted from office.

In a resolution approved Wednesday at their annual meeting, Southern Baptist leaders stopped short of urging churches to cut ties with local troops in protest of the Scouting change, but didn't encourage them to stay, either.

Either way, the historic decision to allow gay Scouts could "complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts,” the Baptist resolution says.

The Boy Scouts of America initially planned to lift its longtime ban on openly gay youth without canvassing members, Southern Baptists charged in a resolution that passed overwhelmingly.

The executives behind that plan should be removed, the Baptists said.

With 16 million members in some 45,000 congregations, the Southern Baptist Convention is the country’s largest Protestant denomination.

Baptists as a whole, including several smaller denominations, sponsor about 4,000 Scouting units representing 100,000 youths.

“We have a deep respect for the Southern Baptist Convention and its churches that use Scouting in their youth ministries,” said Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America.

“Scouting’s youth member policy is not about the BSA condoning homosexuality, or forcing its chartered organizations to do the same.”

After BSA leaders floated the idea of allowing gay youths in January, more than 60% of the BSA's 1,400-member national council approved the change in May. It takes effect Jan. 1.

The BSA will continue to prohibit any sexual conduct - heterosexual or homosexual - among its youth. The ban on openly gay leaders continues as well.

Membership in Boy Scouts has declined nearly 20% since 1999. About 2.7 million young people now participate nationwide.

Boy Scouts to allow gay youths to join

Smith said opening membership to gay youth “allows Scouting to be more compassionate in its response to a young person who expresses a same-sex attraction.”

Faith-based organizations charter more than 70% of Scout chapters, providing meeting space and leadership, according to the BSA.

Several of the largest religious sponsors, including the Mormon church, the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church, have indicated that they do not plan to disaffiliate from the BSA.

Still, many conservative congregations, particularly Southern Baptists, have pledged to cut ties with local troops, and some pastors on Wednesday called on the entire denomination to do likewise.

“We should stand firmly and keep ourselves from having to revisit this issue in future years,” Pastor Mike Janz of First Baptist Church of Rosamond, California, said Wednesday at the Baptist meeting.

Janz’s proposal to urge all Southern Baptists to disaffiliate from the Scouts was handily defeated Wednesday.

Still,  some top Southern Baptist leaders predict that congregations will leave the Scouts "en masse."

Baptists plan exodus from Boy Scouts

Pastor Charlie Dale of Indian Springs First Baptist Church in Alabama said churches and Scouts should help, not bar, boys who believe they are gay.

“Such a boy needs love,” Dale said. “So let’s bring him in and show him what biblical manhood and real love is about.”

Affiliating with Scout troops  also provides an avenue for evangelism, said Pastor David Uth of Orlando.

“We are very happy to partner (with Scouts) because it gives us access to more families and more boys to share the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Russell Moore, the new head of the SBC’s powerful Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called Uth’s approach “wise and gospel-focused.”

“This isn’t Disney redux, as some media predicted,” Moore tweeted.

The Southern Baptists' resolution encourages churches to consider the denomination's homegrown Scouting alternative, the Royal Ambassadors, a Christian group dedicated to developing "godly young men."

Meanwhile, liberal churches pledged to sponsor troops disowned by conservative congregations.

For every host organization that has decided to sever ties with their troop, eight to 10 new ones have invited the Boy Scouts into their community, according to Jeff Fulcher, spokesman for the Atlanta Area Council of the BSA.

"This membership issue is a sensitive issue with a lot of people in our community,” Fulcher said. “Some can't continue supporting the scouting programs. But the vast majority of the Scouts in our organization still want to continue scouting, and we've had a wide variety of churches, places of worship and civic organizations reaching out to us because they want scouting programs in their neighborhoods.”

One such church is the One World Spiritual Center in Marietta, Georgia, where the community extended an invitation to Boys Scout troops soon to lose their meeting place.

The Rev. Stephanie Seigh, head of the One World, said the church decided invite the Scouts after learning that Southern Baptists nearby refused to continue hosting their troops.

“We teach our children that God is in everyone and everything. We don't discriminate," Seigh told CNN.

CNN's Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,409 Responses)
  1. boocat

    More "christian" hypocrisy....whatever....

    June 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • faith


      June 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  2. cc423

    When did the Baptist Church own the Boy Scouts? They don't. So they just need to shut up and mind their own business. Which is hard for a bunch of hypocritical, bigoted, hate-filled moralizers who think they know what is best for everyone adn how everyone should live their lives. Bout sick of some Baptists.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bob Smith

      Well we are sick of you, butt licker.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • jesus

      EXACTLY..... hypocrites and spreading the word of hate from this 'god'
      religion is a virus. time to stomp it out

      June 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  3. DarthWoo

    That's right, just keep wallowing in your bigotry. Soon enough, you'll be as marginalized as the WBC.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  4. God

    It must suk being the Sothern Baptist Convention or the Roamn Catholic Church, knowing that, with every passing day, you become less and less relevant.

    June 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  5. Hal

    It's like everything else, if these Christians can't own something, or at least take it over and rebrand it like Disney does, if they can't do that they will try to break it. If they can't control something they will make it so that nobody can enjoy it. Disgusting!

    June 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Power corrupts. The behavior of some atheist groups at their current size (relatively small) show an inclination for such behavior, too.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      obvious, Such as? I don't see any atheist groups in a position of power, but I imagine it is a human condition.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Hal

      No, I meant that they want to get rid of funding for social programs so that people will have no choice but to go to their churches for help, and if they can't get the BSA to follow their rules, then they will do their worse to destroy it. It's a selfish, self-cerntered way to be.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  6. Our Southern Cousins

    Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
    Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
    Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
    You’re an idiot, babe
    It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

    Bob Dylan

    June 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • boocat

      Well done!!!! Dylan nailed it with that song....

      June 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  7. Alias

    I really hope the next BSA conventoin is held at a Disney resort.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I might just donate toward the room bill to see that happen.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • friendly

      Look at my new mouse ears, you Baptist swine!

      June 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  8. What Jesus Christ had to say about h0m0s*xuals:

    " ."


    June 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  9. Orange County

    – The Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday called for the ouster of Boy Scouts executives who pushed to allow openly gay youth without consulting members, but stopped short of urging all churches to disaffiliate from local troops.

    So, the resolution was not as originally reported?
    Why are gays advocating acceptance of their lifestyle from churches??

    June 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Since when is 'gay' a lifestyle?

      June 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Because, for most people, neither their faith nor their s3xuality is their own choice. Indoctrination versus genetic predisposition.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Robin

      “Such a boy needs love,” Dale said. “So let’s bring him in and show him what biblical manhood and real love is about.”

      –If you are not careful enough, he might show you what 'love' is otherwise.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • .

      "Why are gays advocating acceptance of their lifestyle from churches??"


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

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

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

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

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

      June 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • cc423

      What an ignorant comment. Seriously. Just google what you said and show any of us proof that gays are"advocating acceptance of their lifestyle from churches." They are NOT. But tax-exempt organizations like the Baptist Church seem very eager to tell us all how to live our lives. No wonder they are dying on the vine adn their membership is fleeing.

      June 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  10. Alias

    All I hear the baptist saying is, "Well, that didn't work. Let's try something else"

    I think they had some considerable backlash from their last attempt to descriminate.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  11. Cpt. Obvious

    Thank you, One World Spiritual Center in Marietta Georgia!

    June 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Rodents for Romney

    LOL. Bunch of fools.
    The dinosaurs are on the way to irrelevance.
    Either the Jebus people get with the times, or there will be no more sheeple in the pews, to give their money.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  13. Chuck Gudgel

    If you support equality in scouting, we invite you to visit the following sites:






    June 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  14. Cecil Nixxon

    Who the HELL does Southern Baptist Convention think they are – Scout board of directors? They're just another bigoted religious group who believes their support for the organization means their say-so and ownership. It ain't so. Baden-Powell would be rolling in his grave. To think... the audacity of some unrelated organized religion would bully and co-opt the Scouting movement! If I wanted constant proselytizing, moralizing and preaching, I would have joined the Royal Rangers.

    It's a real drag when your worldview that was supposedly sacred and immutable slowly disappears and one day you awake to find small mammals gnawing at the bones of your extinct body.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  15. Saraswati

    Too funny...these guys really don't know when to give up. If they get their way the scouts are going to disappear even faster than the rapid rate of disintegration in the last 20 years predicts.

    June 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Science

      sara what is really funny the meeting was in Huston TX..................and TX is home to that dino foot print ?

      Now that is dense !

      June 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  16. AverageJoe76

    These jackaloons still don't understand. This is AMERICA. Discrimination of any kind doesn't stand up.

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

      try telling that to the GOP

      June 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  17. sam

    “Such a boy needs love,” Dale said. “So let’s bring him in and show him what biblical manhood and real love is about.”


    June 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      biblical manhood?

      like ted (completely hetero) showed his escort?

      jeebus rose from the dead and, with a little purple pill, so did haggard?

      June 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  18. Uncouth Swain

    If the Baptists don't like it then I suggest they form their own Scout orgainzation.
    They won't have to have anyone there they don't want and do it on their own money and resources. because they won't get a dime from Uncle Sam.

    June 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  19. sam

    Do they actually mean 'ousting'?

    June 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      or "outing"?

      June 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • sam

      Ok, I have to admit that was a good one.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      "Ouster" is used correctly in this case because it is the noun counterpart. "Ouster" is typically used more in the political arena.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • sam

      Huh. Learn something new every day. Thanks Cap'n!

      June 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • jesus

      being tools stuck in mid-evil times they prolly meant jousting

      June 12, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  20. Science

    Popcorn time mama k ?

    June 12, 2013 at 2:41 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.