Southern Baptists approved a resolution at its annual meeting on Wednesday condemning the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay boys to become Scouts. During the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas, about 5,000 Southern Baptists reaffirmed the denomination’s belief that homosexuality is immoral, reported NPR on June 12, 2013.
Before the Southern Baptists voted, Wes Taylor, a pastor from Palatka in Florida, and an Eagle Scout himself, spoke on the convention floor.
“Homosexuality obviously is clearly unacceptable in God’s sight. It is directly opposed to everything that Scouting stands for and I am disappointed in Scouting.”
While the Southern Baptist resolution passed overwhelmingly but not unanimously, Pastor Charlie Dale of the Indian Springs First Baptist Church in Alabama was one of the Southern Baptist members who opposed the resolution.
Pastor Charlie Dale opposed the resolution arguing that boys who think they are gay are probably confused and maybe even victims of abuse. Those boys would still be welcome in a Baptist church, he says, so why not the Scouts?
“I don’t think we should hold the Boy Scouts to a standard we would not put on our own churches. Such a boy needs our love. So let’s bring him in, show him what real Biblical manhood is about. And love him.”
While the majority of Southern Baptist members sided with Wes Taylor’s point of view that homosexuality is “clearly unacceptable in God’s sight, “ Pastor Charlie Dale did receive some applause from Southern Baptist members who agreed that a gay boy needs support, not rejection.
However, after the vote to denounce the Boy Scouts of America for allowing openly gay youth passed with an overwhelming majority, it will be left to the individual congregations on whether they sever their ties with the Boy Scouts of America or not.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s membership includes 45,000 churches and each individual congregation has its own significant autonomy.
According to a Reuters report, Boy Scouts of America 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. According to the Boy Scouts website, some 108,000 Boy Scouts in nearly 4,000 units are sponsored by Baptist churches.
“The resolution calls on churches that decide to sever ties with the Boy Scouts not to abandon their ministry to young boys and to consider expanding a ‘Royal Ambassadors’ ministry, a Southern Baptist missionary organization to develop ‘godly young men’.”