Thursday, 13 June 2013

Southern Baptist Resolution Condemns Boy Scouts' Acceptance of Gays

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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the nation's largest Protestant denomination, has passed a resolution at its annual meeting condemning the decision by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to allow teens who identify as homosexual to participate in Scouting. The SBC is the first denomination to come out officially against the controversial move of the 103-year-old boys' leadership organization, which continues to be pressured by gay activist groups to drop its ban on homosexual Scout leaders. While the resolution, passed by SBC delegates at the denomination's annual meeting in Houston, stopped short of calling for Southern Baptist congregations to drop their Boy Scout programs, it “voiced strong opposition to acceptance of gay scouts — with a top church leader predicting a 'mass exodus' of youths from the program that has been a rite of passage for more than a century,” reported Fox News.

With religious organizations sponsoring two-thirds of the nation's Boy Scout troops, and SBC congregations among the strongest hosts among evangelical churches, a departure from Scouting by such churches could have a devastating impact on the BSA organization. “There will be a mass exodus over time,” predicted Frank Page, president of the SBC's Executive Committee. “Churches are finally going to have to come to realize there is a point when you say, ‘sorry, no more.’”

Passage of the resolution was no surprise, given the failed efforts of SBC leaders to convince BSA officials to hold the line on the traditional values that have defined the Boy Scouts since the organization's U.S. founding in 1910. The resolution noted that the SBC's own statement of faith declares that “Christians should oppose ... all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” and pointed out that Southern Baptists have consistently “expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years.”

The resolution said that the decision by the Boy Scouts to accept “gay" participants is “viewed by many homosexual activists as merely the first step in a process that will fundamentally change the BSA,” placing the Boy Scouts “at odds with a consistent biblical worldview on matters of human sexuality.” The resolution declared that the move by the BSA “has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts.”

Baptist Press News, published by the SBC, noted that the resolution “expressed continued opposition to the policy change and gratitude for the thousands within the Scouting family and the broader culture who voiced opposition to the BSA executive leadership's intent to change its membership and leadership policies.”

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The SBC also used the resolution to thank “each voting member of the National Council [of the BSA] who voted in opposition to the policy change for membership” as well as to voice the denomination's “well-founded concern that the current executive leadership of the BSA, along with certain board members, may utilize this membership policy change as merely the first step toward future approval of homosexual leaders in the Scouts.”

The resolution concluded with SBC members declaring “our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation,” along with a prayer “that God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The SBC is not the only prominent Protestant denomination to condemn the BSA's policy change concerning homosexual Scouts. The Assemblies of God, the nation's largest Pentecostal denomination, also expressed its opposition to the move, predicting it would lead to “a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program, as Assemblies of God and many other churches can no longer support groups that are part of an organization allowing members who are openly homosexual.”

Within its own ranks the BSA has witnessed a significant opposition to its slipping moral positions. The Christian Post reported that in the BSA's “Voice of the Scout” survey, which polls active members of the scouting community, “61 percent of respondents agreed that it's acceptable for an openly gay teenager to be denied membership into the Boy Scouts. Likewise, 58 percent of the Scouting community supports the current policy that 'prohibits open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders,' and agrees that the policy 'is a core value of scouting found in the Scout Oath of Law.'”

Photo of close-up of Boy Scout uniform: AP Images