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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. Lou

    Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth

    June 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      Putting your faith in science (man) makes science your religion and mankind your god.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • sam

      Deepe, you're a bad Poe, and even less coherent than Jack Handy.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Science is that which works when you have zero faith in it, or even if you have faith against its working. Faith is irrelevant to science; god is irrelevant without faith, but that's what happens when you're invisible and undetectable.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      Shallowthought is so freaking lame, what a loser this person is...no reasoning powers at all.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      How then can you explain the beginning of the universe when SCIENCE says nothing happens unless acted upon by an outside force. (Before you call me names know I am a physicist.) How can you explain the very first life when all the mechanisms for life and reproduction must have evolved BEFORE the first life. These questions are unanswerable by today's science. If you believe that science will eventually come up with an answer then that is faith (ie religion).

      Since we know through science that something existed before the universe and that first life could not have evolved, and since the penalty for being wrong about God if you do not believe is so severe and the penalty for being wrong about God being so minor for believing in a nonexistent god, then the most logical approach is one of belief.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • sam

      Terrific. Pascal's Wager masquerading yet again as 'logic'.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      Yes, Pascal had it right! And so am I.
      Can you refute with a coherent argument rather than just laughing it off? Can you deny the other 2 examples gave of why there must be something far beyond what the science of today calls 'fact'? What yesterday's science called 'fact' is wrong by today's science. What is 'fact' according to today's science will be refuted by tomorrow's.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      True of a person's initial religious conviction; but people can "switch", e.g., a Christian can become a Hindu. It's the predisposition to HAVE religious convictions that continues – except of course for those who learn to think for themselves and dump the whole thing.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Bad Boys, Bad Boys

      Deepe,

      Allah, Zeus, Ra, Vishnu
      Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

      June 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  2. God

    Baptists are such intolerant hateful bigots. Don't blame me, I don't exist.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      What an anti-Baptist bigot YOU are.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  3. Lou

    Remember

    If evolution did not exist we would not need so many different types of antibiotics.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      Learn alittle BEFORE you post. Christians believe in micro-evolution, its macro-evolution that is wrong.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jessica

      LOL, When I see all those that are so religious and anti-evolution getting their flu shots every year I kind of chuckle to myself. If it were not for evolution they wouldn't need a new flu shot every year.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • ROO

      @DeepeThought

      the process for macro is the same for micro. The only difference is time-span.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  4. Scott

    The "If It Feels Good Do It" denominations (UCC, PCUSA, etc..) can invite in all of the Troops and Packs that have had their ties severed with their current chartering organization. However, if the parents pull their sons out of the BSA, then there aren't going to be any units to "invite". Remember the boys and their parents make up the units, not the chartering organizations.

    Scott
    Quartermaster Sea Scout & Eagle Scout 1973

    June 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • sam

      If the intolerant don't like it, the door is right there, and the BSA is better off without them.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Scott

      Ya know sam, the "better off without them" and "we're stronger for it" are the usual fall back cliches that come out of groups that have made a decision that did not sit well with a large number of their members ... as the group continues to lose members. Those cliches are do nothing more than give a warm tummy feeling to people that spout them as their organization declines.

      Scott

      June 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • TJ

      Every scout troop thats been ousted is welcome to meet at my public building...big parking lots...big rooms. If people don't want to join the BSA..then they don't have to...if they want to leave...they can leave. BSA will continue.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • sadlyperturbed

      Scott, it is intolerant people who create the problems in the first place. Maybe those who don't like this decision should step into the twenty first century instead of acting like they are in the nineteenth. Perhaps you don't like that this country is finally beginning to recognize what we have said all along.....All men are created equal....but the vast majority of Americans think this is what is best for the country and for humanity in general. The BSA WILL continue, with or without bigots. They are not needed in the organization anyway.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • sam

      Ya know Scott, you don't need to sign your posts. It looks silly.

      For every religious organization that backs out, a secular one – or a kinder, less obnoxious religious one – will take up the slack. That's an improvement.

      Society doesn't need these disingenious, backward lunatics anymore, and things like this will gratefully help them become obsolete.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Scott

      LOL! In all of the years that I've been posting comments only the libs have an issue with me signing my name to my comments. Must be a result of all of the dope the libs have ingested 😉

      And that is the prerogative of the secular groups. If they want to "take up the slack", then go for it. However, if the parents pull their boys from Scouting, then their won't be any slack to take up.

      Regarding religion becoming obsolete: That has been stated, in Christianity's case, for close to 2000 years. Longer for Judaism, and Hinduism. So far all three are still going strong.

      Scott

      June 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • sam

      The passive-aggressive smiley face is cute, too, and really lends an air of authority.

      Scott, religion is going strong...in third world countries. More progressive countries are watching it begin to slip. Over time, its tenets have been losing ground in society, and these idiot notions about 'sin' are slowly waning. Interracial marriage is allowed now, where before it was a 'sin'; women are allowed to do more; people are waking up.

      There will always be religion, but the day is coming when it's not going to keep any kind of hold on our laws, or have free rein to threaten us with eternal punishment or whatever backwards tripe it comes with.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  5. Lou

    Remember every child ever born on this planet was born an atheist. The particular version of religion that someone is taught is determined by their geographical location.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lou, actually a very valid point. the supposed personal "choice" of religion is almost universally determined by the time and location of your life. it is no coincidence that the u.s. is overwhelmingly christian and iran is overwhelmingly muslim.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      But EVERY successful society developed (evolved) a religion. Religion fills a need in all of us. And societies with a religion are/were stronger than those without one.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • sadlyperturbed

      So developing religions makes countries "stronger"? It makes them more prone to violent conflicts, wars with differing religions, crimes due to religious fallacies, etc. If you think religion is a good thing, you should look at history and how many of the major wars and violence were in the name of one god or another and then ask yourself, "Is this the world I want to live in?"

      June 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      Religion unites the believers and unity creates a stronger peoples, as history has proven. Atheists have killed more than any religion and maybe all religions together. Why not kill if there is no one who can punish you in this life nor the next.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • ROO

      @DeepeThought
      "But EVERY successful society developed (evolved) a religion. Religion fills a need in all of us."

      – that doesn't mean it's correct. We have a need to tell stories, especially ancient civilizations. Doesn't mean all the stories we tell are true.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • ROO

      DeepeThought
      "Atheists have killed more than any religion and maybe all religions together. Why not kill if there is no one who can punish you in this life nor the next."

      -then your religion has no true morality if you are only moral because of punishment or reward. Some people don't kill simply because they don't want to harm others. They don't do that expecting some prize. And humans have established systems of punishing crimes or harmful behavior. That's part of being a social species. We see the same in other social species within the animal kingdom. That's how groups learn to survive and flourish. There is no evidence a deity exist to punish anyone at all, that's an unsupported assertion.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  6. Lou

    FAITH

    is believing in a God that you know for a fact is not real.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Believers are convinced that atheists secretly believe; atheists are convinced that believers secretly DIS-believe. I don't believe either is true.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  7. jan

    I think the Baptists should align themselves with the Westboro Baptist Group in Kansas.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  8. Al

    As much as the Baptists like to talk about Jesus, one would think that they would try to emulate him. Guess not.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nah, they have more fun this way, hate people and then cry persecution. Old tactic, really.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • DeepeThought

      Jesus spoke out against the evils of his day, the Baptists are just doing the same.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • sam

      Deepe, these 'evils' are crap. No one is buying it anymore.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • snowboarder

      #deep, assuming you fall for the outdated and ignorant stereotype that hom ose xuality is evil. very few people fall for that nonsense anymore.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  9. jay

    I have a better idea. Lets kick out all the baptists!!!
    I love my dad dearly, and he is a retired baptist minister for 40yrs in very large churches. What has been very disturbing to me my entire life, is that baptist do not understand that they are sinners also. Somewhere along the way, they begin to believe they are the cream of the crop and above all others and free of sin. It is very hazardous and damaging to Christianity as a whole. Baptists have damaged the intentions and the gift of God and the Bible more so than any other religion. The most perplexing point is that they have absolutely no clue the damage they have done and continue to do, all in the "name" of Christ. If everyone was Baptist, Jesus would not have needed to die for us, because we would have no sin. Baptists need more forgiveness than any other religion and sinner, and lucky for them, my God is forgiving to all humanity including gays and Baptists. I am gay (i was born gay) PLUS I was raised by a strict baptist therefore the fact that I am sane and I STILL love God (and I KNOW He loves me), speaks volumes of my determination to overcome human ignorance and stupidity. Can't wait to see my name in His book. Right above all these Baptists.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • scieng1

      Maybe you should attend a Southern Baptist church and see what they believe. Your report indicates you would be surprised.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • be honest

      they believe in witchcraft and voodoo.. old primitive stuff.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • sam

      scieng, you can trot your pseudo-apologist BS in here all day if you have the time, but the baptists have already made their views very clear. What do you feel we're missing?

      June 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Bob Smith

      If you or your father does not turn away from sin, neither of you are saved. I suggest you pick up his bible and start reading it.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  10. Ron

    "Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God". I Corinthians 6:9 God's Word is clear on this subject. Look it up. But, we all need to be sure that we ourselves are right before God, and unless we all likewise repent and receive Jesus Christ as Savior we will also perish. All need to turn to Jesus for forgiveness of sins and do whats right before Him. God Bless

    June 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • be honest

      but, jesus was gay. Very gay.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • .

      God can keep his judgmental, crapass kingdom and all his idiot followers in it.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @ron, if you believe in that sort of thing.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Lou

      Please do not pick and choose what you want to believe from the bible.

      MATTHEW 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Jesus endorses the ma-ss mur-der, ra-pe, slav-ery, tort-ure and inc-est written about in the Old Testament.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Rod

      Jesus welcomed everyone with open arms, even those considered sinners. Do not forget the greatest commandments – love God and love one another. That is all you need to remember to be a good Christian. The problem with quoting scripture without understanding it can be easily shown. You must also believe that women should be silent when in church. 1 Corinthians 4: 34-35. "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." 1 Corinthians 11: 6 clearly states women should keep their heads covered or shave their heads. There are other rules I will not quote here. Do you require all women to follow those rules? The Bible is very clear on how women should behave. If you enforce one passage and do not enforce all of them you have no credibility.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      "All need to turn to Jesus..."

      Kindly take your one-true-and-only-way-ism and shove it where the sun don't shine.

      June 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  11. thedoctor

    I applaud the Boy Scouts for their decision! But, I also understand where the Baptist Convention is coming from. The Boy Scouts can do what they want; so can the Baptists. That's what America is about. It will all work out in the end.

    The problem is that we've become a country of breathless outrage hurling the "hate" word every time something doesn't quite match our personal sensibilities.

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

      Calling gay people evil and immoral pretty much sounds like hate.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • be honest

      wonder how many baptist fight their gay thoughts every day.. Likely most.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  12. rc roeder

    Southern Baptist Convention is a bunch of narrow minded individuals. They appears to be so caught up in their version of Christianity that they lose sight of the rest of the world. The Scouts I believe are a 501(c)3 organization which is a public benefit corporation. I do not believe that the BSA was formed under the religious subcategory. I was a member when I was young of the BSA, though there was a religious overtones it was still in the background.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • be honest

      baptist practice voodoo and witchcraft

      June 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  13. Charlie828

    This so called religious organization did nothing to stop jim crow laws for decades, now they want to stop gays from having rights. They are a religious group, what do you expect.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  14. SixDegrees

    I can hear the rustling of the leathery wings of the baptist god.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  15. MS

    Yet they wonder why so many laugh at religion.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Two thumbs

    "Without properly consulting members"...you have got to be kidding. The BSA held off on this decision for months and everyone in America knew. I am sorry that the Southern Baptist want to end their relationship with the single best organization for your men. That is their choice...in the meantime the BSA will continue to instill values and morals in the youth of this country. I was not for lifting the ban on gays in the BSA but if that is the decision of this organization, I will embrace it and continue to support that amazing things this organization does. Southern Baptists are being short sighted and need to seriously consider their next steps. Sincerely, a proud Eagle Scout...who applaudes ALL young men who strive to achieve that goals.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  17. Texas Anne

    I didn't realize Boy Scouts had to check "straight" or "gay" on their Scout application. (sarcasm off)
    Southern Baptists– where is your "Christianity" now???? Hypocrites.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • scieng1

      There is no hypocracy in following beliefs established for thousands of years in a written moral code. In the U.S., all groups are allowed their opinions and are free to support those who support those opinions.That is called tolerance and used to be accepted by liberals before they believed that their religion is superior to anyone else's.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • .

      scieng, keep your moral code to yourself and let other people live their lives.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  18. donna rochester

    Because that is what Christ would do? I have no words to describe my feelings for these hyprocritical hate mongers who hide under the banner of "Christianity". There is nothing "Christian" about them. Like Ghandi said, "I love Christianity but hate Christians" or something like that. Why do these people even matter anymore?

    June 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      Donna, Ghandi said "I love Christ, all of India would be Christian, if only Christians acted more Christ-like."

      June 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  19. jay howard

    It must be hard to be a Baptist and hold so much hatred for so many people all the time.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • scieng1

      The only hatred shown here is from those who hate Baptists because they take a stand for Biblical teachings. It is kind of like demanding that all liberals show love for Wall Street executives and calling them bigots because they don't. If the BSA does not wish to adhere to Biblical teachings anymore, that is their business. If the Baptists do not support their choices, that is their business.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @scieng1

      That was a nice try. Really, inspired stuff there. Trying to call the people who hate hate the ones that are bigots. I guess it helps you sleep at night pretending like you are the oppressed because you aren't allowed to force everyone to become christian. It must be such a hard life being so persecuted here in America whenever someone says "Happy Holidays" huh?

      June 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • sam

      The baptists are trying to do more than disassociate themselves, scieng. DId you miss that part?

      June 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  20. ChristopherM

    I just can't imagine why the Baptists are shrinking as a church what with their warm and accepting Christian love.

    June 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • be honest

      how old were you, speed, when you choose to be heterose-xual ?

      June 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Brad

      Speed – you say it's not "hate" but how are they supposed to take it? You are telling someone that the way they feel in their heart (that they can't change) is a lifestyle choice and is wrong. On top of that, if you are in our organization, we are going to go so far as to kick you out! Is that love? Is that what God wants? If it's not hate, it certainly leans more toward that side than the love side.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • SpeedRacer

      @be-honest......No, I will not make out with you.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:35 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.