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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. Age of Reason

    ...stop invoking this "jesus christ" character!
    Thomas' Jefferson and Paine, Bertrand Russell, Sir Eddy Gibbon, Voltaire, Freud, Nietzche, Napoleon et al., all stated that JESUS did NOT exist, therefore, he did NOT NOT NOT repeat NOT NOT exist, and do NOT beleive in him!

    June 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Angie

      Even historians state that there is more than enough physical evidence to prove that a 'historical' Jesus of Nazareth existed. Whether he was the son of God is a bit more left to faith and interpretation of religious texts. However... He existed...

      June 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • NESTLE FOUNDATION OF OVALT INE

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

      June 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Actually, most historians contend that there is NO evidence for Jesus's existence. Even if He DID exist, that still doesn't prove that He was the son of God or that He resurrected on the third day.

      If Jesus lived, then I'm sure that He was crucified for His defiance against the Roman empire; He was a threat to them. Either way, the council that determined which books to include into and exclude from the Bible left out the Gospel of Tomas, possibly the most important of them all, which spoke of what Jesus did during His forty days on Earth.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  2. smartnmale

    10% of the Boy Scouts are gay and have been since the 1950's..my era. In my scout troop we had "mama boys" that we knew were different (gay). We just didn't care and was never an issue. The religious right in this country wants to make it an issue because they are one big racist hate group.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Marty

      Well and let's not forget that all-important message of the SBC from their Article XVIII: The Family:

      "A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. "

      What a load of BS.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Actually

      Not sure it is racist not to let gay minor males join the boyscouts. That makes no sense. not supporting the inclusion of gay minor males in the boyscouts in not an indicator of hate at all.Hate would involve some sort of aggressive behavior to harm gay boyscouts

      June 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Free Wi-Fi @ 1075 Austin Bluffs Prkway!

      I don't suppose you know what "discrimination" means, do you Actually?

      June 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  3. adibese

    Why the hate, religious folk? Wasn't Jesus sent here to tell everyone that God loves them? Shouldn't you mind your own business and let the god character judge everyone?

    June 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Madtown

      That's pretty much it. That's not good enough for them, though, I guess they can't feel better about themselves if they're not putting someone down.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  4. Ian

    There just aren't that many big Baptists to matter.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • mary

      Funnnnyyy 🙂 🙂

      June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  5. Desiree

    “We teach our children that God is in everyone and everything. We don't discriminate." Now that is a genuine Christian statement. Too bad the fundamentalist conservatives just don't get it...

    June 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Ned

      There are No True Scotsmen.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  6. dfgrayb

    The Southern Baptists are merely doing what Jesus commanded in the bible.

    ........oh wait. He didn't say anything about the Southern Baptists, about Boy Scouts, about judging other people.

    My bad. Sorry. It wasn't Jesus. Must have been the devil.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Julian

      You exemplify ignorance.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • dfgrayb

      Sorry, Julien, but no.

      Find me the passage in the bible where Jesus gave to man the right to judge other men. That is a right only given to God, and yet many so-called Christians have usurped that right. And they will be judged by their creator for acting in God's place.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Mike

      Think ya got a bit of Pascal's Wager creeping in at the end there, dfgrayb. Better look it up. Odin might whup your ass in the end if you worship that wimp Christian god.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  7. Dave

    Boy Scout execs urge ouster of baptists.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  8. Ted

    So how is that membership number going for you Southern Baptists these days? Not so good I understand. Wonder why?

    June 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  9. STFU

    “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.”

    So these goons think it is okay to preach religion in boys scouts?

    June 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • tony

      Is that another tax exempt activity? Not sure how that works if you are officially in a non-religious club.

      Where are those over zealous IRS guys when you need them?

      June 12, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  10. chris

    Southern Baptists, don't go away mad, just go away.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Landon

      Take your own advice tooty froooty

      June 13, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  11. Gavin Ford

    They certainly like to have their hate and bigotry their way, don't they?

    June 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Ned

      Goes with the religion territory. Matter of degree, compared with others, but same old same otherwise.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  12. toydrum

    They say that the membership was not properly consulted, but there were months of consultation and this is how the executive council voted, based on the feedback the received from the boys, the BSA leadership and the public. That is called democracy.

    So now with 16 million Southern Baptists (not all of whom agree with this policy), this church thinks that their beliefs should be the ones that drive BSA policy? There are almost 332 million people in the US. That makes the Southern Baptists around 5% of the population. Why do they think their voices should speak louder than anyone else's? That kind of arrogance is not really in keeping with the humble service to others that their church supposedly teaches.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  13. tre

    ....I guess there are A TON of Baptists that can..............THROW THE FIRST STONE........

    June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  14. PostNeoconWorld

    Start your own Baptist Scouts if you don't like what the Boy Scouts have become...gee that sounds like a BLAST! Little kids don't give a damn about religion.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Kathy

      BAPTISTS (Southern, or otherwise) = Narrow minded (so called) loser azzzzzzzzzzzz "Christians"

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

      They actually have such an organization called Ambassadors or something like that. The boys get badges for memorizing bible verses. Wow. I'm sure every 10 year old boy would far rather show off their ability to memorize a book than go camping or play sports other exciting activities.

      No wonder they want the BSA to do things their way - the few kids they can get in their own youth group are probably dragged unwillingly by their parents.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Dan

      "The boys get badges for memorizing bible verses."

      I was in my Churches bible club when I was young and would memorize bible verses. There is nothing like forcing children to memorize the bible that can turn a young Christian into an adult atheist, so in a way, I thank them.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Dan, look what you have coming to you for being unruly, rebellious, not to mention uncaring to comprehend His truth that you were studying.

      Revelation 21:8

      But the fearful, and u.nbelieving, and the a.bominable, and m.urderers, and w.horemongers, and s.orcerers, and i.dolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

      Amen

      June 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Bob

      Since we've still got HeavenStench dumping foul bible bile on us, let's have a look at what's really in her Christian book of nasty. From both foul testaments, and note the comment about context:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  15. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

    Even some of the most tolerant posters here keep referring to being gay as a "lifestyle".

    Get up to date people. Being gay is not a lifestyle.

    Read about psychology and biology. Read about epigenetics. It's not new although there was a very interesting recently article relating to homosexuality in last December's Quarterly Review of Biology. But we've known about epigenetics for quite some time.

    Read about this recent post:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130509123647.htm

    Read about epigenetics and aphids:
    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/gri/2012/431531/

    Read something! Don't just stay ignorant!

    June 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      recent article

      June 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      In other words, in the time of Galileo, people like the SBC, were likely to be the types that took the longest to coming around that the earth was not flat, that the earth was not the center of the universe.

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

      Just another dummy handle of Tommy Tom's that I bumped in to. LOL

      June 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  16. Will

    Can you Southerners FHUCK OFF already? Secede!

    We won't slaughter you like we did last time! Nobody wants to go to the hague and be tried with war crimes. Now's your golden opportunity! GET THE FHUCK OUT!

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

      ----------AMEN TO THAT.------------

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

      When we do, we take your food and your energy with us.. Alot of your factories have come down here too.. It would be nice to be rid of YOU actually.

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

      if the south secedes and the extremely obese religious swine move further from the borders with the north, they might just break off along the bible belt and fall into the gulf...

      top 10 fattest States are ALL from the south.

      June 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Will, you weren't born during the Civil War. Hence, you did nothing.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  17. Lew

    Southern Baptists need to open their eyes. I'm tired of arguing with them. They are some of the stupidest people on the planet, bless their hearts.

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

      LOL you said "stupidest"

      June 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • older_american_dreamer_too

      Have the 'Christians' forgotten Christs admonishing the spiritual leaders of his day for judging people by worldly values in John 8. Then stating that he didn't come unto the earth to judge man.
      Perhaps there are spiritual values that Christians should try to use. Maybe judging others means that the church people are better than Christ. Maybe basing judgment on the Old Testament and the laws of Abraham makes more sense than the Good News better known as New Testament to real Christians. The followers of Mohamed base their views on the laws of Abraham.

      June 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  18. Canderson

    So the Boy Scouts have been really been about indoctrinating our youth into becoming intolerant and angry bigots? Really? I thought the scouts were supposed to foster emotional maturity, teamwork, and intellectual development. While the military, police departments, government, the medical community and thousands of other employers are without prejudice and have gay people openly working like the rest of us in regular jobs, this church wants the Boy Scouts to remain intolerant, bigoted and prejudiced against gay Americans who are of no threat to anyone. Disgusting!

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

      Not exactly, but an intolerant bigot would think so. You see, we have different beliefs than you do, and because we do you refuse to accept that we are allowed to have differing perspectives.. We believe the results of living the way we do exceeds the quality of life that you live because we are faithful to our God and His teachings.. Your position doesnt really matter when it is contrary to our beliefs. Have a nice day..

      June 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  19. Kathy

    Better yet - OUST THE BAPTISTS --- A bunch of narrow-minded, pseudo "Christian" BIGOTS.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  20. svann

    I think churches that involve themselves with politics should start paying taxes.

    June 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • tony

      Amen!

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

      Maybe you should pay a gay tax.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:11 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.