US: Southern Baptist Convention officially ‘disapproves’ of Boy Scouts inclusivity but doesn’t cut ties
On Wednesday, the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), adopted a resolution to disapprove of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) recent decision to allow gay youth members.
Back in May, the BSA’s final vote on the issue of gay members took place in Dallas-Fort Worth, Grapevine, where over 60% of the 1,400 strong national council of local leaders, voted to lift the national ban. The ban on adult members remains in place.
The resolution, which was approved at the SBC’s annual conference in Houston, denounces of the BSA’s recent decision to allow gay members, but does not sever any ties with the organisation.
Instead, individual congregations are allowed to choose on whether to cut ties with BSA troops, and those that do, are encouraged by this resolution to offer alternative programmes for boys.
Those that choose to continue to work with BSA troops, are encouraged by the resolution to attempt to work towards attempting to have the original ban on openly gay boy scouts reinstated.
The resolution says the new policy “has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts.”
The BSA has strong ties to various churches across the US, with about 70% of the group’s 100,000+ units chartered by faith-based organisations.
The Southern Baptist Convention has more than 45,000 churches and church-type missions, with almost 16 million members across the US, according to its website.
The two largest religious sponsors of the Boy Scouts, the Mormon Church, and the United Methodist Church, have both said they will continue their roles in scouting.
The third-largest sponsor, the Catholic Church, has acknowledged that the change in policy does not take place until January 2014, and has said it will use the ”adequate time to study its effects.”