Southern Baptists are in the news this week following the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas.
About 5,000 Southern Baptists attended this week’s annual meeting, discussing several issues of faith and policy including human trafficking, America’s prison industrial complex, and gay Boy Scouts.
And while a confirmation of a strong stance against open homosexuality within the Boy Scouts of America was expected after gay scouts were deemed finally welcome within the organization, the Southern Baptists convention softened their position against the new policy.
While Southern Baptists at the meeting overwhelmingly condemned the decision to allow gay scouts, the organization also showed signs of, if not accepting that some people are gay, at least advocating equal acceptance of people who happen to be homosexual.
Charlie Dale of Indian Springs First Baptist Church in Alabama opposed the resolution against gay scouts, and said of the decision to condemn the Boy Scouts of America for allowing all boys:
“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, show him what real Biblical manhood is about. And love him.”
NPR quotes Reuters, noting that the Boy Scouts of America stand to see a large effect from withdrawal of Southern Baptists’ support.
The news site explains:
“The Boy Scouts has deep ties to churches all over the country, with about 70 percent of the group’s more than 100,000 units chartered by faith-based organizations … Some 108,000 Boy Scouts in nearly 4,000 units are sponsored by Baptist churches, according to the Boy Scouts website.”
Some in the Southern Baptists’ caucus say doing away with scouting altogether is preferable to tolerating gay scouts, and Rev. Harold Philips of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Maryland said the Boy Scouts had “lost their way and lost their moral compass, the Bible.”
“I can’t imagine a parent wanting to send their children on a campout or a jamboree with older boys who say they like boys. It makes no sense at all … It’s a whole lot easier to just do away with the Scouting program.”
The resolution voted upon by Southern Baptists at the convention “encourages churches and families who choose to remain with the Scouts to work toward reversing the new membership policy.”