The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may have included gay scouts in the organization, but it appears the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) is not pleased with their decision. At their annual meeting this week, the SBC supported any families who decided to leave the BSA. As an alternative, the Baptist Church recommended that the families join their youth groups.
“Homosexuality is directly opposed to everything that Scouting stands for. I am disappointed in Scouting,” said the Reverend Wes Taylor at the convention. “They are moving away from the principles that it was founded upon. This is an attempt to open the door to broaden the acceptance of homosexuality in that organization. It is an environment that would prove just fertile for young boys to be exposed to something that is ungodly and unacceptable.”
Many other pastors agreed with Taylor, with a few demanding that the Baptist Church cut ties with the BSA. One faith leader recommended that the gay gene should be referred to as a “preference” instead of a “perceived sexual orientation.”
“Say it now, say it clearly, and say it in love. The SBC in no way should ever shake or bend our biblical convictions,” said the Rev. Mike Janz of First Baptist Church at the conference. “We should always say as we always have that homosexuality is wrong or sinful.”
His suggestions were denied.
The Baptist Church may be divisive, as a few pastors have a borderline opinion on the BSA policy.
“The Boy Scouts have said they are against sexual activity of any boy. I don’t think they are condoning homosexuality,” said the Rev. Charlie Dale of Indian Springs First Baptist Church. “I don’t think we should hold the Boy Scouts to a standard we would not put on our own churches. Such a boy needs our love so let’s bring him in and show him what real biblical love is all about.”
Dale added that the anti-LGBT vote doesn’t “help the cause of Christ,” and that Baptist youth groups do not exclude gay Boy Scouts.
The final decisions were based on ballots at a convention center in Houston. They referred to the members as “messengers.”
“Overwhelmingly in support of this resolution — thank you, thank you very much,” said the convention’s new president Rev. Fred Luter at the conference.
Though not yet finalized, a proposal for an investigation on the BSA’s decision to revoke the ban on gay youth was made, alongside plans to return with alternatives for families in the fall.
Unlike the Southern Baptist Church, other faith groups have approved the new inclusive policy. Four of the BSA’s largest sponsors—the Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The United Methodist Board of Church and Society and the United Church of Christ—support the new policy on including gay scouts.