I was disappointed, although not entirely surprised, when the Southern Baptist Convention resolved to withdraw its support of the Boy Scouts because of their recent affirmation of the inclusion of children regardless of their sexual orientation. Although the resolution is nonbinding for congregations, as is the policy of Baptist governance, 108,000 Boy Scouts currently sponsored or supported in some way by Baptist churches run the risk of losing the opportunities to participate in Boy Scouts.
The decision was not universally embraced, even by those in attendance at the convention, although the strongest argument against the resolution was that the Baptist churches should stay actively involved in the Boy Scouts to help show gay children the error of their ways and to offer them an alternative, “Biblical manhood.”
It is worth noting at this point that not all Christian denominations have responded this way. In fact it might surprise some to find out that the Mormon church has come out in support of the Boy Scouts’ resolution, as has the Methodist church (quite a bit less surprising). But the sentiment behind the SBC decision was encapsulated by a comment from Wes Taylor, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia. “It is an environment just fertile for young boys to be exposed to something that is ungodly and unacceptable,” says Taylor.
I might point out at this time that Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, is at its heart a Southern Baptist institution. And despite the command from Jesus to respond to injustice, aggression and violence with something radically different, the University recently has announced a shift in their curriculum specifically to train students in the use of military drones in the context of war.
This continues to propagate the misconception within the broader culture that the only kind of sin Christians are interested in are those that have to do with body parts below the belt line. It points to a subjective and myopic judgmentalism that picks and chooses its victims based on the convenience of institutional policy. So apparently while it is good and fitting to train our children to be more efficient and effective killing machines, it is ungodly and unacceptable them to be in a Scout troop with someone who – God forbid – might cause them to “catch the gay.”
But ironically, such intolerance implicitly creates a fertile environment for gender-based and orientation based bullying and violence. Though it may not be intended, it is an inevitable byproduct of such policies. So I have decided that if we can’t overcome the bigotry with dialogue, time-tested science or an emphasis on the Greatest Commandment as the linchpin of all other mandates, within the gospel or the whole of the Bible, we may just have to overwhelm them with fabulousness.
If all it takes to be seduced over to the gay “dark side” is to earn a merit badge together, certainly we are all susceptible to the gay mojo. Many of the people who teach our children, prepare our food, protect our streets, fight our wars and – yes – preach in our pulpits are gay. If being around that much gayness won’t turn me gay but I don’t know what will.
So I guess it’s time for me to face the facts. I must be gay. And so are you.
The fact is that, in these sorts of situations where members of the LGBT community are just a marginalized there is almost never a nuanced discussion of what exactly we mean by “gay.” doesn’t include someone who is only attracted to the opposite sex, but who says they are gay? Does it include people who are attracted to the same sex, but who have never acted on it? Does it include people who have participated in sexual contact with someone of their gender, but who may or may not know the complete inner workings of their own physical attraction?
What about that one time in college when he was really drunk or she was dared to kiss her friend? What about if I admit that, even if I don’t have any particular desire to sleep with them, the guys on the HBO show, “True Blood,” are a remarkably handsome lot? So just to be safe, I think it makes sense if anyone who cannot entirely define or proscribe what it means to be gay and precisely where on this broad spectrum of sexual identity and attraction they land (hint: this is not a true or false test), it is out of deference to our less tolerant brothers and sisters that we should just be out front with it, just in case, and all be gay.