The Southern Baptist Convention officially condemns the Boy Scouts of America for admitting gay scouts. It also urges the removal of board members that allowed the change. Why is this on the agenda?
"I would argue that we didn't put this on the agenda, the Boy Scouts put this on the agenda. This was something to which we had to respond as a convention. Many were expecting a caustic response to the BSA but that didn't happen." said Dr. Russell Moore, the President of the SBC committee on ethics and religious liberty.
Dr. Moore says what happened was a more measured response. The SBC didn't demand churches stop sponsoring or families stop belonging to scout troops. It said it would support those who did and support those who stayed in and worked for change from within.
This is all because three weeks ago the BSA board voted 61% in favor of revoking it's 22 year old ban on gay scouts. Gay adults are still banned, but gay children are not. The new policy goes into effect January first.
In a written statement the boys scouts said in part. quote "We believe the BSA policy is fully consistent with how Southern Baptists Churches respond to young people in their congregations and allows them to maintain their beliefs about homosexuality and minister to children who are still learning and developing."
Conservative groups have warned of a mass exodus from the scouts but that hasn't happened yet. The Catholic, Mormon and Methodist Churches have all urged their churches to continue to sponsor troops..
Baptist leaders are quick to point out what's NOT in the resolution. There are no orders to anybody anywhere. that's not how the Southern Baptists operate..
"It has no force. It doesn't change any structure or the rules than anyone has to follow. It's just the expression of the people who are at this two day convention so don't understand it to be anything more than that." said Dr. Steve Lemke.
Some critics say it is a not too subtle message to the churches. They say that some churches will probably drop sponsorship of troops, but other organizations like public schools that had stopped sponsoring troops because of the BSA's policy on gay scouts would start sponsoring them.