The Southern Baptist Church has approved a resolution of their "continued opposition to and disappointment" in the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) decision this past May to open membership policies for openly gay youth.
The proposition states that allowing gay youth to join "has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts." The Church also wishes to "declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The resolution requests that the Boy Scouts remove executive and board leaders who supported the change in policy and who have expressed support for gay leadership within the organization. The resolution does not request that all Southern Baptists immediately drop Scout sponsorship or involvement, and because each Sourth Baptist church operates independently it could not do so, but states that it would support any Southern Baptists who do leave the BSA. Rather, it encourages members "to work toward the reversal of this new membership policy and to advocate against any future change in leadership and membership policy that normalizes sexual conduct opposed to the biblical standard."
"Religious groups that kicked out Boy Scout troops, just because they have allowed gay boys to participate in the program, have demonstrated that they do not care about the Boy Scouts of America and the majority of Americans who supported this decision, but rather advancing their own anti-gay agenda. The Boy Scouts have never required anyone to follow specific religious guidelines outside their requirement in the belief of God," said GLAAD's Director of News and Faith Initiatives, Ross Murray. "Fortunately, more and more congregations and denominations are helping and supporting those troops who are being exiled."
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s original Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts.