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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. tony

    Let me understand this – US "Christians" want "freedom of religion". Sounds more they want to be religious police, judge, jury and executioners.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam

      They want freedom of religion...as long it's just theirs.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ecclesiastes 1:1-2

      1   The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
      2   Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all [is] vanity.

      Amen.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  2. oceanica

    Wiki says the boy scouts (secular organization rather than religious) currently has 2.7 million youth members that focus on developing citizenship, character, and self-reliance. The Baptists claim 100,000 of those members – that's a .1 million of that 2.7 million. It sounds to me like those jealous, greedy Baptist leaders would love to ruin Scouting for everyone unless they can cull those they deem "unacceptable" and the select "acceptable" boy scout members to themselves in religious madrasah. Freakishly Hitleresque

    June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  3. Jim

    As for the molesting issue, I know a disturbing number of people who were molested as kids, and all but one were molested by a *straight* person of the opposite gender, most of those being family friends (ick) or family members themselves (double ick!) Don't try to pretend it's a gay thing.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Now, Jim, don't confuse them with facts. Facts make their heads hurt.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jim, if it's double ick! why are you supporting it?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • just me.

      @heaven sent Maybe you should be Heaven sent to get some comprehension skills.He said ic to child molestation.You weren't in line when the big guy passed out the brains were you ?Oldy but a goody!

      June 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  4. Mancy Grace

    The fires of hades burn especially hot for these intolerant religious groups.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • devin

      Tell that little mantra to Jesus, he would have sided with the SBC.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • fred

      devin is quite the "mind-reader of God"

      we were warned of such types

      June 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Larry L

      Devin – The mythology says Jesus was a gentle man, who never married, had a creative profession, and spent all of his time hanging around with a bunch of men. Nothing gay about that...

      June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  5. J-Pap

    Just cause you are gay doesn't mean you're a pedo. Another strike against religion being oppressive. In less than one generation, religion could take a big hit in numbers. Seems like a close minded bunch of old greys now. You know any 20 year olds into religion? I don't.

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

      Then you must live in a cave.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Brian

      Quite a few young people that I know are into religion.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • dwamikayla

      And just because one is a pedo doesn't mean they're a child molester. Get some education!

      June 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  6. Michael

    These people are so nasty and mean-spirited. Things like this are all the proof you need that if we didn't have the First Amendment protecting us, these people would try to have us living in a society that would be like a Christianized Iran.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  7. qqqqqjim

    Keep praying to the 'sky monkey' you prejudiced biased Baptist freaks. Get real! You are the ones who should be in the closet!!

    June 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • trek

      jumb o d u m b oo

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • trek

      j

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  8. Jim

    There have been gays in scouts for as long as there have been scouts, same with every other organization. What difference does it make? It's not contagious, and gays generally don't breed so it's not likely for the percentages to change much going forward.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  9. Science

    The truth................no god(s) needed.

    Chalking Up a Marine Blooming Alga: Genome Fills a Gap in the Tree of Life

    June 12, 2013 — To World War II soldiers, "The White Cliffs of Dover" was a morale-boosting song that lifted spirits in dark times. To geographers,

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612133050.htm

    June 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Lynn

      Tax the church. They like to tell people how to vote, they are like a private club telling people you can not be a part of us. So they not church anymore. Tax them. Tax them like any other club.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Science

      OR yank their faith !

      Imagine No Religion 3: Peter Boghossian

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orW1AstN7AI

      June 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  10. Melanie

    Hey guess what, Southern Baptists? There have been gay scouts and leaders in the Boy Scouts since its creation. Sorry to break that to you!

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

      Yeah...they don't seem to get that. They think this means gays will come flocking in from all over and fondle their kids, the same way they think that if marriage equality occurs, everyone will suddenly start marrying the same sex like crazy.

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

      Melanie,

      Could you bring about and show us the data backing up your scripted stance?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam

      STFU, lionly.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      sam,

      A we bit testy are we? Asking for data is a reasonableness for digging up the true facts instead of believing by shear ignorance.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      No data is necessary lionlylamb. If you've been alive long enough, and have been paying attention, then you'd know that we're talking about identifying a trend here that lies somewhere between the obvious, and common sense.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • KyleDasan

      Lion – Proof of gay scouts in the past? Does the name George Takei ring any bells? That's just the one that I know of as fact.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  11. David Crowder MD

    The Boy Scouts of America can do without the Southern Baptist Convention FAR better than the SBC can do without the BSA. God only knows what lunacy advises the SBC leadership to reject the Scouts; WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!

    June 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • devin

      My guess is they were thinking they didn't like the idea of boys who are s e x u a l l y attracted to other boys, sleeping and bathing together. What is it about this concept that makes it so outrageous that you can't comprehend it?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • fred

      "THINKING"? You, sir, give the SBC too much credit.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Time will tell won't it? Your hopefulness is revealing,,,

      June 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      But Devin these boys you fear, sleeping and bathing with other boys, have been there since the inception of scouting.

      How's it going so far?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Dan

      "sleeping and bathing together"

      I was unaware there was a nude group bathing policy at the Boy Scouts. I was also unaware that the sleeping arangements on cmaping trips were such that you slept in other boys sleeping bags. Since this must be the case as you seem to indicate I will be sure and not send my son to the Boy Scouts either.

      Now if this is not the case and no one is forced to get naked with each other or sleep in the same bag, then what is the big deal? Are you so insecure that you think having your children in the same room with a gay person might make them gay? Or is it that you just don't want your children to think of gays as regular normal people just like everyone else?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  12. Jeebusss

    Oooh look at the crazy Christians scream and holler because people are starting to ignore their pretend sky friends.

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

      Kind of reminds me of the idiots in a Gay Pride parade, except with clothes on. Awful lot of screaming and hollering going on at that event too. Keep your perversions at home and no one would care or take issue.

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

      @MeThinks

      You're totally right, how dare people have parades, lets just get rid of all parades huh? That way no one will get offended right? Screw the Thanksgiving Parade, how does that make the Native Americans feel?

      here's the difference The Gay Pride parade is a celebration of love and fun. If you don't like, you need not participate. The same goes here with BSA and the Baptists, except they're taking it a step further by using their hate to try and destroy and organization because the organization won't share their hate.

      See the difference? One group promotes love, the other promotes hate. Which side do you want to be on?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Gregg

      MeThinks....... you doth protest too much.
      There have been Gay boy scouts and scoutmasters since the BSA was formed, just because they are now going to be acknowledged you protest, perhaps your protestation (Protestants) are to hide your own phobias and fears

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

      Exactly, MeThinks! Keep your perverted bible nonsense out of the public eye.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Thanda

      Baloney. You people have been condemning people who don't goose step to your religious fantasies since time immortal. Get real, MeThinks.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • dwamikayla

      @MeThinks: Or you could just NOT ATTEND a pride celebration or turn off your TV. No one's forcing anything down your throat (as the regressives as so fond of - Freudianly - saying.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  13. brsln

    Wow, again, way to "practice what you preach" Southern Baptists...discriminating against gay children. Hope you are able to hold your head up, when you meet your lord and have to explain your hatred and discrimination in his name.

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

      The problem is they do not care what the rest of the planet thinks. They are completely and totally brainwashed.

      June 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I think the saddest part is that these people will never really face true justice. I would love to believe that if an afterlife existed, they would have to go before their god and try to explain why they used so much of their time on earth to make other peoples lives so miserable, but in reality they'll die and that'll be it and they'll go out believing what they did was completely right.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Gregg

      I believe God teaches us to condemn the sin not the sinner.
      So, I understand you do not support the lifestyle, but God teaches us all to accept all, even those who sin.
      I am very live and let live and believe the LGBT group should have all the rights others enjoy.

      Most of Jesus' inner crcle were sinners and the downtrodden and he loved them all

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  14. Dick Delson

    F... the church, They are such creeps.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ty

      Go swallow a fistful of pills

      June 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • .

      Ty, you're such a good Christian.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  15. Lou

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

    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 6:55 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      From book of hindu Mithra ism,, pagan savior ism, inducted by hindu Magi s, crook fortune tellers to hind fool humanity in to hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism with new labeled, Christianity, savior ism.

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

      F your bible and the pack of demented rules that are no longer valid except for when you need to sacrafice a virgin.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • tominscotts

      @ Lou, What Matthew is referring to there is the Ten Commandments and the revelations of the Prophets (The Dispora and the Apocalypse for instance), not the sins that society were committing. In other words, Jesus is going to make sure the Ten Commandments are followed, not ignored, so people will stop their sinning ways. Get yourself a good Bible Commentary like Matthew Henry and you will be able to find out what the Bible verses are actually saying.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • STFU

      @ Islam
      Shut up Mohammad you're posts are like ear wax candies from Harry potter.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  16. Ltran

    Good decision. 999 straight scouts on one side and maybe maybe one gay scout on the other side.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  17. Nate

    No doubt about it. They'll be sorry when someone elses kid gets molested. That's the problem w/ pc administrator tools.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  18. us_1776

    The Baptists should just disband.

    Pathetic religion.

    .

    June 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  19. pauleky

    Hate is as hate does (stupid, too). Let the haters form their own group. The Boy Scouts will be much better without them.

    June 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  20. Lou

    Issues in the Garden

    Genesis 1:31 God was pleased with his creation.
    Genesis 6:5-6 God was not pleased with his creation.
    Which raises the question, how can an omnipotent, omniscient God create something he’s not pleased with?

    Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
    An omnipotent being required…rest?

    Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
    God placed temptation in the direct path of his two naïve children and allowed them to be tempted by the serpent (Genesis 3: 1-7), resulting in a single mistake that would contaminate hundreds of billions with a sin nature worthy of eternal torture?

    Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?"
    A talking snake. Enough said.

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

      The Bible, like most religious texts, is written in an allegorical and poetic style. You can disagree all you like, but try actually understanding what you are criticizing.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      From hindu Greek Torah, known as old testament to hind fool humanity, reject of son of blessed Mary, propagated on his name to hind fool humanity in to hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism, Christianity, religion of hindu Vatican, before new label.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Rod

      I think you are missing the point here.

      If you really believe it's allegorical, fine the talking snake can become allegory, but where in the Genesis story does it say that it's allegorical and not literal?

      Next, do you believe in god? If so, (and like Lou pointed out) how can an omnipotent god get tired? How can a perfect god create something imperfect? If man didn't know the difference between good and bad before eating the fruit, why would a god expect them to act "good"? Finally, why would god punish generation after generation for a single wrong act done by our great great (etc....) grandparents?

      What Lou is clearly disagreeing with is not just the allegory or poetry, but the dogma itself. You can attempt to apologize for various parts the bible, brush aside some dogma and then try the ad hominem attack of accusing the questioner of ignorance of the text but you still need to actually address these questions.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • paul allen

      you have no idea what you are talking about ,
      idiot!!!

      June 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lou, God loves all His creation but He's not pleased with unbelievers that have no eyes to see or ears to hear His truth, are too lazy to read His letter (the Bible) He wrote to ALL.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The Bible was written by men, not an invisible creature who loves us, yet burns us alive if we don't believe in him.

      After all, which one sounds more plausible?

      June 13, 2013 at 12:57 am |
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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.