The Boy Scouts Executive Committee’s approval of gay and bisexual adult leaders disappointed but did not shock Southern Baptist spokesmen — and prompted one to predict an even greater exodus by Baptist churches from the organization.
The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday (July 13) the unanimous vote by its Executive Committee to rescind the across-the-board ban on gay and bisexual employees and unit leaders. The resolution approved July 10 by the committee protects the rights of religious organizations, however, to bar gays from serving as adult leaders.
If the BSA’s National Executive Board of about 70 members ratifies the resolution July 27, the change will become effective immediately.
The Executive Committee’s vote followed by two years the Boy Scouts’ approval of lifting its prohibition on gay scouts.
Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, described the latest decision as “a huge disappointment.”
“I am saddened that their decision will sacrifice the current and future influence of this organization,” he told Baptist Press in written comments.
Roger S. Oldham, the SBC Executive Committee’s vice president for Convention Communications and Relations, said the BSA Executive Board “telegraphed its goal of changing the standards for membership and leadership 30 months ago, exchanging principled courage for cultural accommodation. While disappointed, we are not surprised by this next step toward that goal.”
Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, expressed skepticism the Boy Scouts will hold the line on protecting the rights of churches and other religious institutions.
“At every point, the Scout leadership tells us that they will go this far and no farther, but here we are again — so it’s hard for me to believe, in the long term, that the Boy Scouts will allow religious groups to have the freedom to choose their own leaders,” Moore said in comments for BP. “In recent years I have seen a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts. This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.
“It’s important for our churches to be clear on this issue, even when our most cherished social institutions are not,” he said. “Tragically, the Boy Scouts seem to be pursuing an ongoing evolution toward the moral priorities of the Sexual Revolution.”
Gay rights advocates welcomed the new resolution but still found fault with it.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press