Southern Baptists condemn Boy Scouts policy on gays

Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:05pm EDT
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By Amanda Orr

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday voted to voice opposition to the Boy Scouts of America decision to admit gay members, saying that homosexual conduct is contrary to a scout's oath to do his duty to God.

The Southern Baptists, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, approved a non-binding resolution opposing the policy at its annual convention in Houston. The resolution requires no action by member churches but leaves them to decide individually whether to stop sponsoring scout troops.

"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 during the debate at the annual convention. "It is an environment just fertile for young boys to be exposed to something that is ungodly and unacceptable."

Some other U.S. religious leaders are severing their relationships with the Boy Scouts of America, saying they will no longer permit scout troops to meet at their churches.

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.

The Boy Scouts of America decided on May 23 that no youth may be denied membership based on sexual orientation alone. The organization still prohibits openly gay adult leaders.

Leaders at the convention said the resolution was not aimed at the boys, but at the organization they said was opening the door for homosexual scout leaders and creating an unhealthy environment.   Continued...

A statue titled "Trail to Manhood" stands outside the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas in this picture taken May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Prengler