Two denominations have very different views on a the Boy Scouts of America's vote on dropping the gay Scout ban. While the Southern Baptists may be abandoning the program, the United Methodist Church is ready to step up.
Yesterday, GLAAD reported on the resolution made by the Southern Baptist Convention concerning the lift of the ban on gay scouts. The resolution asks 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." The new resolution also asks that anyone in support of the change in policy, or change in policy concerning gay Scout leadership in the future, be removed from their leadership position within the Scouts. Each Southern Baptist Church is independent, so they have the ability to support the BSA or to detach, but the resolution openly supports any church deciding to leave the BSA.
Despite the anti-gay attitude of the Southern Baptist's new resolution, the United Methodist Church delivers a much different message of acceptance for Scouts. According to the United Methodist Church, as of 2012, the UMC has served 363,876 Scouts through 10,868 Cub Scout pscks, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing troops.
When the Boy Scouts of America dropped their ban on allowing gay Scouts, the United Methodist Church was one of the largest BSA partners encouraging their members to stay within the organization despite the lift on the ban. With the new resolution from the Southern Baptist Church, many troops could be exiled and looking for new support. Church organizations including the United Methodist Church, will be an outlet for the Scouts turned away from denominations now rejecting them.
According to the United Methodist Men, the scouting ministry office openly invited any of the 3,981 Scouts troops dropped by a Southern Baptist Church to join a troop at a United Methodist congregation with open arms.
The General Commission on United Methodist Men has been working to reach out to the community through ministry. For the past three years, they've trained 215 individuals to hold positions within their organization as scouting ministry specialists. The goal of this system is to expand the churches ministry to the community through programs like the Boy Scouts. By welcoming the rejected Scouts with open arms, they are truly living their values as an organization and denomination. Hopefully, the United Methodist Church will set an example for many other congregations to come.
The Scouts have come a long way since beginning the journey of overturning the ban in April 2012. Continue to push for the Boy Scouts of America to extend its lift on the ban of gay Scouts to their leaders as well.