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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. Kodak

    Anybody that does not believe in what I know to be true and correct or does not practice lifestyles that makes me happy should be shunned and boycotted ! !

    June 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • William House

      go burn a book, moron.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  2. Hal

    All the churches must be feeling like big tobacco these days, looking to Asia and Africa for new markets while more and more people here quit the habit.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • God

      That is an astute analogy

      June 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @hal, that statement rings true.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • JMEF

      Right on, brilliant analogy, smoke if you've got them as my sergeant used to say.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Robert

    I would rather my child be gay than be a Southern Baptist!

    June 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • William House

      Amen!

      June 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  4. William House

    Bigots have NO Credibility.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Jethro

    Maybe they should focus first on keeping pedophiles out of the clergy before throwing stones at gay people.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  6. t3chn0ph0b3

    Urge all you want. The scouts are a dying organization, and one of the reasons they're dying is that they're increasingly seen as a hate group. The only way to shed that negative is to get rid of the discriminatory policies.

    The Boy Scouts aren't going to shoot themselves in the foot just because the Baptists tell them to. What a frickin' waste of time.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • snowboarder

      as we have seen, ridding themselves of discriminatory policies really ticks off some of the religious groups.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • The Dude

      The XBOX is killing scouting more than anything else. man

      June 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Tom

    As a Christan I too gave had trouble earlier in my life accepting gays and other faultts humanity has. I tried to be perfect but Southern Baptists need to realize that one needs to hate the sin, not the sinner othwise we would all hate each other as well as ourselves. I am sure te SBC has its share of members who are drunks, adulterers, pedophiles, thieves, liars, etc... just like every other group in our society.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • sam

      Then why is it they're so very focused on this one sin?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Madtown

      gays and other faultts humanity has
      ---–
      Failure. It's a "fault" the same way a hetero orientation is.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      So being gay is a "faultt (sic)" and a "sin"? Is being left-handed? After all, the Latin word for "left" is "sinister". Or how about having red hair? Or being blind? Deaf? Dumb?

      I'm sure there are very few gay people on earth who need your kind of understanding or want your god's forgiveness. So f off you moralistic holier-than-thou bigoted fool.

      June 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  8. topcat

    lets discriminate against fat people. dont let them marry or hold public offices.
    keep them out of all congregations and social clubs. also lets do the same to gays, oh wait, we all ready do. nevermind.
    ok. back to fat people.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      We don't need a law to keep fat people from getting married. It's a self restricting category.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • LOL!

      "lets discriminate against fat people. dont let them marry or hold public offices."

      Yup all that gluttony is a sin but you still see fat people in church, including the preachers. What a bunch of hypocrites.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Fake Billy

      BD....Ah! doggy style! Lots of priests know how to do that even it is a no no. Fat people can get the deed done, where their is a will there is a way.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  9. Paul N Mavini

    Why not just let the bigoted parents choose to keep their kid out of scouts?

    June 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  10. JMEF

    The more ugly and bigoted some Christian religious groups get, the sooner they will be gone forever. Praise George Carlin.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  11. Gort

    The SBC (well really, Baptists in general) are the first to oust the "unrighteous", and last to accept change (integration, interracial marriage, etc.). Why it is news for the SBC to now turn their laser eyes on the boy scouts? SBC's exclusion policies should surprise us for what reason exactly? Status quo for the SBC in my opinion.

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

      Baptists will NEVER accept interracial marriage!

      June 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Jenny

      Some do, Pol...

      June 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Gort

      I agree, Jenny. Some will, and do, embrace change. Unfortunately the hierarchy seems to have its collective head stuck in their collective rear end. The leaders are the voice and direction for SBC members and lay people.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @gort, just the reason so many of us wouldn't allow our life decisions to be made by some theologic elite.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You prefer the tyranny of the self eh snow?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @bill, simply the application of reason. I find it very difficult to be tyrannical to myself.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Sh!t Bill just because you cannot live with yourself without the dictates of the dogma and catechism of the RCC, does not mean everyone has to kowtow to religious crutches and BS. Walk away Bill, put down the rituals and grow a pair so you can live without the delusion. Just kidding I find you amusing as a papist troll, thanks for playing.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  12. Imma Annoid

    Baptists are a joke and their beliefs are laughable. It's sad that in this day and age people can be that ignorant.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Madtown

      Consider them comedians! They are pretty funny.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  13. JustAnotherBigotFullaChristianHate

    when you're just so absolutely angry with hatred that you feel somewhere, somehow, someone must suffer the consequences of all this 'inclusion' .. how DARE these Boy Scout troops act like decent human beings when we have a VERY SEVERE Ideaolgical agenda that must be Satiated ..

    June 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Just, yes God loves everybody – example when Jesus protected the woman caught in adultry after he forgave her , he said go and sin no more. We would have to tear out to many pages of our bible to accomodate the change in belief. If the boy scouts drop the spiritual part and just become a training center for outdoor stuff they will be fine. We don't go out protest vegans when they tell people not to eat meat and it is wrong – they have that right.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  14. John

    Lets not forget that one of the principles of this country's founders was the right to freedom of religion. You are free to disagree with their beliefs, however you are not free to deny them the right to believe and practice them nor are you free to force your beliefs on them. The Scouts had better come with a game plan for maintaining membership, as religious organizations across the USA are unit sponsors. Many like the Baptists will remove that support.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Too bad. Blackmail. Don't quote the "founder sh1t".
      They came here to be FREE from religion.

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

      "The Scouts had better come with a game plan for maintaining membership, as religious organizations across the USA are unit sponsors. Many like the Baptists will remove that support."

      Then the thousands of churches that support gays and gay marriage will have to step in to show them what true morality is all about.

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

      No one is trying to make them change. The baptists, however, are trying to force another organization to change to suit their views. They need to back the hell off.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Pete

      "Many like the Baptists will remove that support."

      Not all Baptists agree with this Southern one because they do support gay rights.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • snowboarder

      we certainly have the right to ridicule them for their backward beliefs.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      Nor are they free to force their beliefs on anyone else.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @rodent, free from someone else's. imposing their own is fine.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Rodent, that is not correct – you can see the stuff at Jamestown and Plymouth – quite religious and want to be free to worship as theywanted.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • regenesis0

      >The Scouts had better come with a game plan for maintaining
      >membership, as religious organizations across the USA are unit sponsors.
      BSA never used to have such a high ratio of religious/non-religious unit sponsors. Starting in the late 90's they began to slide out of 'public' sponsorships and more and more into religious sponsor-organizations... largely because many non-religious organizations were turned off by the BSA's anti-gay stance and didn't want to be associated with them. Overall membership has been declining since the late 90's too.

      tldr; "Maintaining ties with religious organizations" has been a PROBLEM for the BSA, not a solution. And now groups like the SBC - who claim to cherish and value scouring - are threatening to kill the movement via sponsor-location boycott just because they want to admit members the SBC doesn't like.
      The SBC doesn't like the BSA, they simply like owning it. If they can't have it they want it dead.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  15. ug

    I agree with them on this...

    June 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  16. DavidinVancouverWA

    I look at this from another point of view: time for the BSA to cut ties with the SBC. I doubt either side would have an problem with this solution. Good for both organizations, I think.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Kevin

      I agree David- cut ties. The SBC can maintain their beliefs because we are a country that fosters religious freedom, even if there beliefs seem to be out of step with the vast majority of Americans. And kudos to the BSA for changing this policy. As this debate was raging, I couldn't understand why the Scouts were taking so long to make what seemed like an obvious decision. I had no idea they were probably being "held hostage" by the SBC who host so many troops. And kudos to the open minded churches of America who will step in and support these scout troops so boys can continue to enjoy what the BSA organization provides.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  17. no

    Better idea: Oust The Southern Baptist Convention.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Howard

      Religion preaching hatred and intolerance. So godly of them.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  18. rinsac

    You're free to leave the Scouts but not free to enforce your bigoted fanatical beliefs on others. Form your own group and leave everyone else alone.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  19. snowboarder

    those southern baptists are not a very inclusive group. whatever, who needs them.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  20. Mike

    "I have fought the Good fight, I have finished the Race, I have KEPT THE FAITH." 2Timothy 4:7 Unfortunately, the BSA does NOT meet the Standards of Christ. Anyone who Celebrates, Accepts or Applauds the "Abomination" that Christ calls sin is NOT worthy of Him.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • .

      ". Anyone who Celebrates, Accepts or Applauds the "Abomination" that Christ calls sin is NOT worthy of Him."

      Janet

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime (Leviticus 20:13), it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Jebus never said a word about this subject. Paul. (the founder of your cult) said you were freed from the law.
      Oh wait...unless it's convenient ... than you're not.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Unfortunately neither do you.
      "Judge not lest ye be judged".

      June 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Matt

      How about eating shellfish?

      How about wearing mixed fabric clothes?

      How about working on Sunday's?

      All apparently forbidden by your so called magical sky daddy....Do you do these? If so you should kill yourself because your God says so.

      Loser....

      June 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • rinsac

      Christ made no comment on this subject.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • chris

      Why should it be a BSA requirement to adhere to any religious doctrine?

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

      The Scouts allow troop leaders who are divorced. I don't see the baptists crying about that.

      How very specific about 'sin' some folks are, huh?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Anyone who Celebrates, accepts or Applauds the "Abomination" that Christ calls sin is NOT worthy of Him.'

      show me where christ calls it a sin.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Poor Baby.

      Mike, I am willing to bet that you do not begin to obey the Bible, let alone actually read it.

      1st, Christ said nothing about Gays. Check you Bible. To claim that he did is one of the reasons the Bible has lost authority. People such as you lying about its contents.

      2nd, Read Leviticus.

      Do you watch FOOTBALL on the SABBATH? Then you are neither keeping it holy nor any other restriction clearly spelled out in the Bible.

      3rd, SLAVES. That’s the part of Leviticus I really like. THE PROPER WAY TO BUY AND SELL SLAVES.

      4th, Then there are the dietary laws. Eaten PORK – say bacon? Eaten SHELLFISH? LOBSTER, SHRIMP CLAMS, OYSTERS? Naughty boy!

      5th, There are also restrictions on the TYPE OF FABRICS you may wear.

      6th, AND if you try to use the Crucifixion as an easy out from the old laws, remember St. Paul’s comments on Divorce. He does not tolerate any excuses. None.

      With half the marriages in America going south, are you going to lecture priests, pastors and Bishops about violations of the New Testament? Many married clergy have divorced their spouses.

      Step away from your fear and hatred, and grow up…unless you are one of those closeted men who attack Gays to keep themselves on the straight and narrow?

      G Hubbard

      June 12, 2013 at 5:32 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.