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Diatribe: When Baptists Leave The Scouts Will Scouts Leave The Baptists?

06/03/2013

Publication1Looking back, I realize that when I was a child my hometown was rather segregated.  Not by race, but by religion.  The lines were drawn rather clearly and the Catholic children went to the Catholic schools and the Methodist kids were often only allowed to play with other Methodist kids.  Of course, as youngsters we didn’t really know that this was happening.  We played in the playgrounds where our parents took us and with the kids that our parents allowed.  My friends were, generally, children from my church.

Churches are still very influential today and, understandably, many parents prefer that their offspring socialize and interact with children from families that have similar beliefs.  According to church leaders, the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America in response to their recent vote to lift a ban on openly gay youth participants.  Reportedly, Baptist churches currently sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 boys.

“God’s word explicitly says homosexuality is a choice, a sin.  It’s not a hate thing here, it’s a moral stance we must take as a Southern Baptist church.” – Pastor Tim Reed, First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas

Unfortunately, because of misinformed “church leaders” like Reed, many Baptist parents will remove their sons from Scouting.

“With this policy change, the Boy Scouts’ values are contradictory to the basic values of our local churches.” Roger “Sing” Oldham speaking for the Southern Baptist Convention.

And who will suffer?  My guess is the boys who enjoy scouting.

Frankly, I don’t understand the thought process behind the decision to remove one’s son from a program that he enjoys, and that has a proven history of beneficial results, simply because the parent organization made last week’s decision.  Surely, the boys in his troop after the parent organization’s vote for inclusion are the same boys that he scouted with last month.  Unless there’s a line of gay kids at the next den meeting, I can’t see the harm in continuing.

Unlike in times past, when a frightening amount of people did exactly what their church leaders told them to do, many parents today are more willing to listen to their children and include their thoughts in the decisions that they make as a family.  It seems to me that the Southern Baptist Convention is a lot more frightening and potentially harmful than any potential number of gay scouts.

Do you think the families of many scouts will leave the Baptist church to worship with more inclusive congregations?

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9 Comments
  1. D&O, I think the church has been driving people away with stances of intolerance for several years now. This will be one more slice of bigotry that does more damage to the church than good. Well done, BTG

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  2. You’re right about it being the boys who suffer. Boys don’t know homophobia and hate and bigotry, they learn it at their parent’s feet and in their churches.
    These kids will just wonder why they can’t be a scout any longer.

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    • And, sadly, scouting might be the only opportunity for these boys to interact and learn from peers outside the social bubble that their parents create for them.

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  3. Barneysday permalink

    Isn’t it interesting how “my Jesus” has different values, and is more than happy to exclude those who believe in “their Jesus” or a Jesus who has different beliefs and values. BTG is right, churches are doing more today to drive away members than at any time in the past.

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    • As times have changed I feel that, unfortunately, it’s become necessary for churches to be managed and operated like other businesses. And, because there are so many churches, organized religion has morphed to an industry no longer focused on “saving souls” but on “paying bills”. At the end of the day, and I’m certainly not saying this is always the case, it seems the focus is more about money than about faith. This makes me very sad.

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      • Barneysday permalink

        I’ve felt for quite some time that organized religion has become a divisive force in this county, running counter to the higher goals of religion. Interesting that I actually left catholicism many decades ago over their focus on money of spiritualism. Recent forays back into churches have proved futile. If not for a focus on money, then for narrow minded issues, such as LGBT or political positions.

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  4. If God’s premise is love, why can’t the church teach love instead of hate & bigotry?

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