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. Jer_is_me

    "If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
    That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned" – Same love

    Maybe some of you should learn from the artist Macklemore...

    June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  2. Mike

    Teen boys who are gay are gonna go through a pretty tough time in school and society in general. Scouting teaches boys the self-confidence and self-reliance they will need to get through it. All in all, these boys will be better off in Scouts than not.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  3. empathy4us

    I'm an Assistant Scout Master in the Boy Scouts and am really proud that the organization made this change. They next need to allow gay adults to serve in leadership roles. As scouting is all about leadership, making this additional change would really show that characteristic. As for the Southern Baptists, well, bye bye...

    June 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Mike

      Exactly. On behalf of the Mormons, Catholics, Presbyterians, and anybody who lives north of the Mason-Dixon line, I say good riddance to the Baptists and don't let the door hit your a$5 on the way out.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      I bet you are hoping for that change...Need to add another Woodbadge patrol animal for you..the Chicken-hawk Patrol!

      June 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • sam

      Eagle, you've already done your job in proving what a creepy, gay-obsessed asshole you are. You don't need to keep proving the point. You obviously think about gay sex more than gay people do. We get it.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  4. Alabama GUy

    Was a member of a Southern Baptist church in Montgomery AL.....sent my transfer of membership papers in yesterday, and not for transfer to another SBA church. I have a feeling I am not the only one either......not even here in Alabama

    June 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @bama, that is the voice that should be the loudest.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  5. Darw1n

    I don't think the footwashers will ever get their shlt together.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Chuck

    Baptist hypocrites go burn in your hell!
    You losers lost a democratically held vote so sit down and SHUT UP!

    June 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  7. Martin

    I was raised a Southern Baptist and I know that they have always pushed hatred.

    They were founded by slave owners who felt victimized by the abolitionist movement.

    As a boy growing up the 1960s, I listened to church leaders at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly launch into racist tirades.

    I regret ever having to deal with these hate-saturated phonies.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  8. T Diemer

    Besides being tolerant and standing up for what is right, the Boy Scouts are wise not to let themselves be held hostage bythe Southern Baptists, or any other Church. And as for Sceamineagle – it is about time Boy Scouts let in athieists – it is not supposed to be a eligious organization

    June 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • HM8432

      The BSA is very much a religious organization. You obviously don't remember the last and most important of the Scout Laws– REVERANT.

      June 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  9. Regnad Kcin

    More bigoted crap from the SBC.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  10. Rob Killian

    Boy I just love hearing these Christian organizations un-ashameably working to add to the bullying that young gay men face on a day to day basis. Any person claiming faith in Jesus Christ who is working to add to the pain of another (remember the Lord's admonition to "love one another"?) is working for the devil and not the Savior. By their fruits you shall know them. Either preach love and tolerance or hatred. Your choice. As an Eagle Scout and one who loves my relationship with my Savior I am very proud to also hopefully work to stop hatred and to spread love and tolerance.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Dippy

      "un-ashameably"? Try using a dictionary next time.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  11. Snopes.com

    Claim: You can wave all the text books in the world in front of the faces of Southern Baptists, but you just can't make them think.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    :mrgreen:        true

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


      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 5:43 pm |
  12. Mick

    Ahh, Guys? Little problem with your proposal. The paid Scouter professionals didn't make the decision you're so horked off about; it was done by the National Council – a group of unpaid, volunteer, Scout leaders, from all across the country. And by the way, if you really think that the decision was so bad, where the heck were you beforehand, offering to replace all of the funding and resources which were being lost as a result of the previous policy. I keep pretty close track of who gives money to the Scouts – I don't recall that the Baptists made any effort to increase their funding to the Scouts to try to make up for those missing funds and resources. Yet, here they come, whining like a bunch of typical freeloaders about a system to which they neither contribute or sustain. And by the way, if you really think that taking Scouting away from boys – just because you don't agree with a decision made by a bunch of adults thousands of miles away, over which they had no influence – amounts to a "Christian" value, then you're obviously reading about a different "Christ" than the one found in the new Testament. You know, you're not a Christian just because you BELIEVE in Christ; heck, Satan BELIEVES in Christ – it's FOLLOWING him that's the real test!

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

      So, you are saying you are a follower of Christ?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Mac

      The "real test" is if you have placed your faith and trust and recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Many have claims of going to church, doing good things, but to be a Christian, you must admit your sin, believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and confess your sins. Now, as far as the issue about the SBC, I am torn between this. First, each church must decide what they will do. I would feel like this is just a great opportunity to witness and keep the affiliation with the BSA. None of us should be too quick to judge either the BSA or the SBC. this is a touchy subject and my prayer is that those who need to make decisions will not make a hasty decision and seek guidance from many.....mostly God.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  13. Akira

    Keep spreading the love, Southern Baptists.

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

      All organizations have members who spread hate, not all Southern Baptists agree with a disassociating with the BSA.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  14. Dyan S

    That anyone group of people would be filled with so much hate as to go this far is disgusting. What happened to all the love you're suppose to preach and practice as a Christian? Simply disgusting.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Madtown

      They seem to be the exact opposite of what a christian should be.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      Love doesn't mean enabling immoral behavior..that would be hate. You don't give an alcoholic a rum runner to help him.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      Who's not preaching or practicing love to all? Certain lifestyles are not accepted by all. What's wrong with that?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @scream, there is nothing immoral about hom ose xuality. that is an outdated stereotype based on ignorance.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Madtown

      enabling immoral behavior
      Failed analogy. Just because you don't like something, and don't understand it, doesn't mean that it's immoral and God is on your side and in agreement. Remember.......if God disapproved of gays, he simply wouldn't continue to make them.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Screamin Eagle – Love doesn't mean enabling immoral behavior..that would be hate. You don't give an alcoholic a rum runner to help him.'

      Strange analogy. Using that logic I would say the scouts are not supplying gays scouts with gays.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • 404notfound

      This was the church the Southern Slaveholders belonged to.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • HM8432

      The Slaveholders Washington and Jefferson were atheist or deist...

      June 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  15. Screamin Eagle

    The Pro-Gays should see this as a victory..I mean they(Baptists) didn't kick out the scouting units. I bet if the Pro-gays just settle down a bit...they could get the gay leaders in 3 years tops. I quit as as a scout leader last Friday as I'm totally against the BSA decision to lift the ban, so let BSA burn. Honestly, the Pro-gays are fighting for what they think is right. BSA should not have caved, but did so because of money... pure and simple. Five years, I predict Atheists will be let in. The churches are now caving and are backstroking leaving BSA...they said they would leave at first now they are changing their tune.

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

      atheists? oh the humanity!

      June 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • .

      "Honestly, the Pro-gays are fighting for what they think is right."


      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 5:34 pm |
    • Joe

      You sir should be proud of your decision

      June 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • sam

      Atheists and gays have always been a part of this organization; they just didn't wander around shouting about it like the fundies have.

      I'm glad you quit the BSA; they don't need anyone like you corrupting young minds with intolerance.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • .

      Screamin Eagle = Joe

      June 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'I quit as as a scout leader last Friday as I'm totally against the BSA decision to lift the ban, so let BSA burn'

      That you would say that suggests that you were not a good role model for the scouts, and certainly not scout material. I dont think they will miss you.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • B Schmitt

      I think since gays are now okay, atheist is too. BSA has just opened it's doors very wide open; letting a few in the expense of losing mass exodus of conseratives. Not much will be left of BSA, end of a fine organization.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      When something good goes bad like the scouts..why would I want it to flourish. Kinda like a normal cell becoming cancerous..you want the cancerous cell to die and cease proliferation. The BSA has been corrupted. FYI, we never talked about these kinds of issues when I was a scout leader...we focused on real scout stuff..not Political Correctness.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'letting a few in the expense of losing mass exodus of conseratives.'

      so its a win-win then?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'FYI, we never talked about these kinds of issues when I was a scout leader...we focused on real scout stuff..not Political Correctness.'

      So why will it be an issue as to whether a scout is gay then if you are going to concentrate on scout stuff instead?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • ChristopherM

      And suddenly a whole slew of young men are better off now that they won't have your narrow-minded influence on their lives.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • sam

      You're a real peach, Eagle.

      Luckily, dinosaurs like you are on their way out.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      Hey, I did what I thought and still think was right. That's what scouts are taught to do..stand up for what they think is right and not be swayed by money nor popular group think. Too bad the National BSA didn't have the values they teach. That's what we call Corporate BSA. Morals for sale come and get your morals! Watch them sell off all the points of the Scout Law and Oath for a price!

      June 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      The people I knew majoring in Psychology in college should never have been allowed around people..they probably could have used a good shrink themselves. That's what I say about Psychological Studies. When the brains don't match up to the bits and pieces..you gotta problem.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Screamin Eagle

      I'm confused, you're angry that the BSA is now allowing more boys to join the group, learn the values you believed to be good and are taught to stand up for what they believe in and yet because now that the BSA, which obvisously didn't make this decision lightly, you have decided based on a singular issue to leave?

      Honestly, I think you need to reevaluate what it is you have a problem with exactly and why you would throw such a hissy fit over something so small and inconsequential.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      LameEagle, you are a great example of ignorance and bigotry.....glad your kind is on their way out of civilized society.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      @Chuckles. You had me at" I'm confused". Bazinga!

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  16. Janet Tremaine

    That's why I' glad I'm Presbyterian. SBC is not my cup of tea

    June 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  17. noteasilyswayed

    Most religions are based on fantasy and imaginary, powerful beings that dictate how we must behave, in order to achieve life everlasting, Nirvana, etc. They are the opium of the masses and are their leaders usually demand unquestioning adherence to whatever it is that they preach.

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

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Enough with fantasy religions and gods running and ruining our lives. Embrace logic and reason. god is a myth.

      June 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      But apparently they tick you off... so something is going on around in that head of yours to be bothersome could it be that morsel of Truth that acts as the irritant? Just wondering?

      June 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  18. Loathstheright

    Oust the Baptists instead....religious ignorance and intolerance are not needed in an enclusive world.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      What a tolerant statement you've made..you must have graduated at the top of your cell block.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  19. David

    Southern Baptists... drop dead! You hateful, evil, vile phonies!

    June 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Screamin Eagle

      What and evil, vile thing to say...you are no better than the Baptists you criticize!

      June 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      You mad, Bro?

      June 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  20. Minister

    Nobody wants to join my Royal Ambassadors. I know, let's discredit one of the best youth organizations there is.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:28 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.