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. ron

    It's obvious that the Baptists who are disowning BSA only wanted them in the first place in order to evangelize. BSA shouldn't be a vehicle for churches to promote their beliefs.

    June 12, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  2. Theseus

    Baptist beliefs belong in the confines of their churches. They act like they're trying to save the world with their pious hatred. I'd like to hear one defense from Baptists that doesn't quote the Bible.

    June 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • jstevenson37

      Baptists quoting the Bible? Shame on them!

      June 12, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • ADifferentOpinion

      There is a difference between hatred and choosing to live by a standard. We seem to have lost the ability (or desire) to distinguish between the two.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  3. jesus

    good old 'GOD' telling man to hate others again.... man is this 'god' all about peace and love or hate

    June 12, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God. The one who loves you so much, that he created hell in case you don't love him back... LOL

      June 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  4. Mischa869

    Our Troop was told last Monday, at a Court of Honor – a time for recognizing scouts and their achievements – that we were being kicked out of our sponsoring Baptist church in south Jacksonville, FL. I thought they were "fishers of men," but I only see "fishers of ignorance and discrimination." The irony is that they got a lot from us: Free advertising on our shirts and trailer, in newspaper articles and at our fundraisers as well as free labor to host concessions, clean up the gym, set-up and tear down a huge car show, and more! They have essentially cut off their noses to spite their faces...at least we are staying together to find a new home, and we'll be the better for it!

    June 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Casey

      I hope you find a more loving, accepting church which teaches that we are all God's children.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Anom

      Does anyone understand sin anymore or the understanding of hate the sin not the sinner. God did not make us as we currently are but allowed all of us to be shut up under sin that we may know His love and His salvation. So we are all damaged and we are NOT to remain as damaged beings but need to have a change of mind from our current manner of life and receive His life which can change anyone to become one who truly express the One who made us.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:46 am |
  5. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    In other news:

    Russia's parliment unamiously votes to make it illegal to tell children gays exist.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  6. Mitt Romney

    Oust these ass clowns ind put in less bigoted leaders that will allow gay scout leaders while kicking the "straight" pedophiles out.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  7. MashaSobaka

    Children screaming for attention. Nothing more.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Greg

    the southern Baptist another cancer of society, right up their with the tea party and kkk,

    June 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Buzz

      Fistful of pills Greggy .. A lot faster than hiv and less painful

      June 13, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Off

      Throwing a fistfull of pills at Souther Baptists, the Tea Baggers or the KKK won't cure their cancer or make them any smarter.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  9. Small 'c'

    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.”

    That is perhaps the single most terrifying statement in the entire article. If religions are using the BSA as a recruiting network, then I have a better solution: get the BSA out of the churches- period! Get them in to community halls, recreation centres, school gyms, get them to meet in parking lots even. Don't let these churches with their big welcoming smiles and their open arms use this once-revered organization as a tool to further their own ends! Run, while you can!

    June 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Sidewinder

      @Small 'c'

      If this is news to you, you are either blind or completely unfamiliar with the scouting program. BSA has always been a religious organization that advocates religious participation. Units are sponsored by local groups which are usually associated with a particular religion. If you don't want to be preached to by religion X then don't join a unit sponsored by religion X. There are enough units without religious ties that you don't need to join one that is controlled by a particular church.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Just a girl

      Sidewinder makes a valid point. Remaining true to God even if organizations may set you apart. Excellent point. God is still within you and not the organization. Take what you want away and God remains. There are so many different people who love God. I know the BSA will find people who accept them without judgment and support them as individuals.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • BSA is a TOOL

      for indoctrinating vulnerable youth into the Christian faith. You will never see me or my family participate or donate to them in any way. I don't think the benefits outweigh the damage that will be done to any child.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • fintastic

      "My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can."

      - Frank Zappa

      June 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  10. Jesus H Christ

    I was in the Boy Scouts way back when they first let black people join. You should have heard the Baptist then. We don't want those sons of Ham in our sacred building blau blau bigots. So this is nothing new, just a different type of hate.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • gsdfg

      So mr smarty pants you would let your kid talk with or sit next to a gay? You know you wouldn't, that's just nasty and sick. I would tell the freak to get out of my sight. Little pervert.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      When I was in Boy Scouts, my family was atheist. Half the boys were Jewish. And our scoutmaster was a lesbian. I don't recall god ever being mentioned outside the creedo.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • David

      " I would tell the freak to get out of my sight. Little pervert."

      Thank you for summing up how I feel about Christians. As they gnash their teeth and whine and moan like little squealing pigs heading off to the slaughter, they should be happy to know their disgusting bigotry is on full display for all to see.

      June 13, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, how the abominations hate righteousness.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • The real Tom

      What "abomination"? Oh, you meant your hairstyle. Yes, it is abominable.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • fintastic

      " righteousness." what a joke.

      June 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Jeffrey Cox

    All of this because ... in their eyes ... someone simply sins differently from the way THEY do!

    Can you say "hypocrisy"?

    June 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  12. Don Pablo

    The American reformed Nazi Party USA, a.k.a. the Southern Baptist Convention, makes these edicts now and then to let you know they run the show and call the shots. You have a group of hypocritical, arrogant, self righteous, glad handing, back slapping zealots meet once a year as a nation and then at each state conventions and they come up with these commands for the target of their choice. Sometimes they send edicts up to the president, sometimes its to a company. Now they send an edict to the scouts wanting to change something that really isn't broke. But the whole thing is their own fault. You see they had a scouting organization that was older than Boy Scouts. Royal Ambassadors was a fine organization where boys learned camping and life skills. They also learned about missions and stewardship. But the SBC killed the program when they killed Brotherhood. But the SBC wanted to replace it with AWANAS. Kids learn memory verses and can regurgitate them on demand,well, at least for the day they learn it. Ask an AWANA kid what a verse means and they will tell you, "I have no idea, but if I can recite it, I get a sticker." Awanas was also adopted in SBC churches because its very easy to operate. A sponsor needs only give an hour on Wednesday. R.A.'s required a longer investment of time and knowledge because you had trips and projects. Today's parents don't have time for mission projects or trips. Awanas was the answer ad why they want to kick scouts out of churches.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
  13. Farquhar

    These "Christians" are motivated by the same hatred and willful ignorance that brought Islamic governments to power in the Middle East.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  14. ruth

    New youth group: Bigot Scouts of America.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  15. Lisa

    "...complicate basic understandings of male friendships..."? So, they don't think two gay males, or two gay boys can be just friends? They don't get it at all, do they?

    June 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      No. They don't. Heterose.xual bigots and closeted hom.ose.xual bigots – which are often the same thing – obsess about gay s.ex way more than actual gay people even think about it. It's as if in their twisted minds that's ALL it's about....s.ex, s.ex and more s.ex.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  16. EastCoastMike

    I've got a better idea.....Let the angry Baptists start their own little hateful, exclusive group.
    Jesus would be so proud of them.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  17. Jacobh1125


    Thou shall not judge thy neighbor??? Thats mentioned a lot in the Bible.

    Come on Christians, demonstrate your beliefs by actually following them....

    June 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  18. Just a guy

    Felix – one day you will also know the Truth – He won't be imaginary then

    June 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      And one Easter morning you'll wake up to see a six foot rabbit named Harvey sneaking a basket of goodies into your room. THEN you'll know the truth!

      June 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  19. veep

    How about we just oust the ignorant Baptists instead?

    June 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  20. Mummy

    They are simply voicing the commands of our God. They have the right to do so. It's obvious some don't agree and you have the right to say so too.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Which god? The bible mentions over 60 of them.
      El? the god who created Eden?
      Baal? the god of Jeremiah?
      Yahweh? the god of Moses?
      Amun? the god of Isaiah?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Jacobh1125

      While they are violating the commands of their god by judging others. Why are Christians the biggest self rightous hypocrites?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • james

      seyed.....,where did you get your info? you are as misleading as these people who want you to think the "gays?" are harmless. they will either recruit you or force themselves on you,(personal history) johnnie are you here?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      It's from an anthology called The Old Testament. Most christians are already familiar with it, even if most don't actually read it.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      BTW... El, the creator of the garden of Eden is dead. He died of a boar attack according to ancient Canaanite ugaritic texts.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Your God has no voice of its own, so of course it needs someone to speak for it. It is unfortunate that the people who do speak for it can't know what it wants – notwithstanding the bible, since it's only a fossil record of what people have thought their God thinks and wants.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • james

      seyed..., sorry about the comment that you are misleading since I see you are just misled.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Of course, James. Why would I expect someone who bases their dogma on Canaanite mythology to believe in Canaanite mythology?

      June 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • james

      seyed...., I wish I had more time since you really need some help with your scriptural history and knowledge but I really think it would be dismissed. I believe you are just parroting someone who fed you all that. let me know when you want to have a serious discussion on the scriptures. never mind I see you have wasted too much of my time already.

      June 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Oh yeah, he can get really mad, can't he? I mean look at all those ancient Egyptian chariots they found at the bottom of.....oh, wait......

      June 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 5:6

      Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.


      June 14, 2013 at 5:04 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.