Southern Baptists have come out against the Boy Scouts of America decision to allow gay scouts, saying that a scout’s oath to serve God stands in opposition to homosexuality and urging its members to fight the change.
The opposition came from the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual convention. The group represents the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
“I am very sad to say that it seems as though (Boy Scouts) are moving away from the principles they were founded upon,” Wes Taylor, pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, said at the Southern Baptist annual convention. “It is an environment just fertile for young boys to be exposed to something that is ungodly and unacceptable.”
Southern Baptists are not alone in opposing the gay Scout ban being lifted. Several churches have severed ties with the Boy Scouts of America, which has close to 70 percent of its 100,000 units chartered by faith-based organizations.
Though the Boy Scouts of America approved in May a resolution to allow gay scouts, there is still a ban on homosexuals serving in Scout leadership.
“This (BSA) decision politicizes the membership, and it also brings a sexual dimension that wasn’t there before,” said Steve Lemke, provost of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and chairman of Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee.
Southern Baptists have stood in the way of gay rights in the past. Last year, Southern Baptists passed a resolution saying that gay rights don’t qualify as a civil rights issue. The group voted on a measure to affirm marriage as “the exclusive union of one man and one woman,” approving nearly unanimously a resolution that “all sexual behavior outside marriage is sinful.”
“It’s important to sound the alarm again, because the culture is changing,” said Reverend Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, and contributor to the resolution. McKissic, who is black, added, “They’re equating their sin with my skin.”
Though the Southern Baptist Convention at the same time condemned “any form or gay-bashing, whether disrespectful attitudes, hateful rhetoric, or hate-incited actions,” according to MSNBC.
The Southern Baptist resolution this year urged churches that continued ties with Boy Scouts to work toward restoring the gay ban and speak out against any policy that “normalizes sexual conduct outside of the Biblical standards.”