Southern Baptists Vote to Cut Ties Over Boy Scouts’ New Policy Allowing in Gay Scouts

Ever since the Boy Scouts of America voted to partially rescind its discriminatory policy and allow gay youth into the organization, things have been rocky between scouting troops and the churches that often sponsor them.

In the latest turn of events, the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution Wednesday “expressing its disappointment” in the BSA’s new policy — and throwing their support behind churches that decide to drop their ties to the Boy Scouts as a result:

The resolution was voted on by members at the denomination’s annual meeting in Houston. It also calls on the Boy Scouts to remove executive and board leaders who tried to allow gays as both members and leaders without consulting the many religious groups that sponsor Scout troops.

While the resolution does not recommend that Southern Baptists drop ties with the Scouts, it expresses support for those churches and families that decide to do so. It also encourages churches and families who choose to remain with the Scouts to work toward reversing the new membership policy.

As CBS points out, because Southern Baptist churches are independent, the denomination can’t force churches to drop connections to the Scouts — but they’re certainly trying. The SBC has previously asked members to boycott The Walt Disney Company for providing benefits to employees’ same-sex partners, but that didn’t last long.

Not to worry, though, as Southern Baptists seem to be fading fast into obscurity:

Although the Nashville-based denomination claims 16 million members, it has seen membership decline for six years in a row.

At the same meeting, by the way, church leaders also passed a resolution “calling on all Southern Baptists to report allegations of child abuse to authorities,” because apparently that wasn’t already required. The church has resisted suggestions that it keep a database of ministers accused of abuse because it doesn’t have the authority to require local churches to divulge that information.

Members amended the resolution to urge denominational leaders to use caution affiliating with groups or individuals with questionable practices for protecting children.

It is unclear whether the amendment was aimed at any specific person or practice, but it comes after some Southern Baptist leaders expressed support for Sovereign Grace Ministries. That group faces accusations that church officials covered up child sexual abuse.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Southern Baptists have way bigger things to worry about than hating on Boy Scouts?

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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