Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

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Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:03 am

Baptist Press has an article with the actual resolution here just in case some of my mod/lib friends wish to know what it said rather than what is being said about it or than what they think it said.

From the resolution:

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist churches sponsor Boy Scout troops
and many Southern Baptists are involved in Scouting; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message states that "Christians
should oppose . . . all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery,
homosexuality, and pornography," and Southern Baptists consistently
have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual
behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions
over the past thirty years; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention
meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11–12, 2013, express our continued
opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of
America to change its membership policy; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our gratitude for the thousands of individuals
within the Scouting family and the culture at large who expressed
their opposition to the BSA executive leadership's intent to change its
membership and leadership policies in regard to homosexuality, leading
to the compromise recommendation it presented to the BSA National
Council; and be it further


RESOLVED, That we affirm the right of all families and churches
prayerfully to assess their continued relationship with the BSA, expressing
our support for those churches and families that as a matter of conscience
can no longer be part of the Scouting family; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches and families that remain in the Boy Scouts to seek to impact as many boys as possible with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, 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;

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches that choose to sever ties
with the Boy Scouts not to abandon their ministry to boys but consider
expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry, a distinctively Southern
Baptist missions organization to develop godly young men; and be
it finally

RESOLVED, That we declare our love in Christ for all young
people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that
God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ.


Comment from Russ Moore, anathema to mod/libs here and new head of our ERLC:
Moore emphasized that Southern Baptist churches are not saying that the Boy Scouts should exclude boys with same-sex attractions. "That was never the case before. We're not saying that should be the case going forward," Moore said.

"What we're saying is that the Boy Scouts previously had an understanding of sexuality that was geared toward expression in marriage," Moore continued. "That has changed, and that is a momentous change. This isn't an organization like any other community organization. It's an organization that says, 'We're teaching and training boys what it means to be men and what it means to live virtuous lives.'

"Once you take sexuality and the expression of sexuality and politicize it in the way the Boy Scouts have done, you change the nature of that moral education in a way that Southern Baptists, most of us, have grave concerns about."


The SBC action on Boy Scouts was rather moderate and was in keeping with our view of Biblical morality. It was neither harsh nor incendiary, was a proper expression of concern for all boys and their moral formation, was cozignant and respectful of the autonomy of local churches in the matter, and expressed sincere concern for the ministry to and moral formation of boys.

Those who have a more liberal and less Biblical view of the immorality of homosexual behavior may certainly find fault with any SBC action on the subject.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:37 am

My question in all this is, "When did Boy Scouts start checking sexual orientation when boys enroll in scouting?" I worked in scouting in the past, and frankly, a lot of 11-year-olds didn't know what a sexual orientation was. I really don't think the policy changes anything. There has never been anything on the form to enroll about sexual orientation--maybe on the adult leader's form, but not on the boys' forms.

Actually, the resolution really doesn't say a lot. The committee seemed to try to say as little as possible.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:26 am

Dave Roberts wrote:My question in all this is, "When did Boy Scouts start checking sexual orientation when boys enroll in scouting?" I worked in scouting in the past, and frankly, a lot of 11-year-olds didn't know what a sexual orientation was. I really don't think the policy changes anything. There has never been anything on the form to enroll about sexual orientation--maybe on the adult leader's form, but not on the boys' forms.

Actually, the resolution really doesn't say a lot. The committee seemed to try to say as little as possible.


...which is why the BSA actions are confusing.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Haruo » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:55 am

Russ Moore's statement that "... the Boy Scouts previously had an understanding of sexuality that was geared toward expression in marriage" seems to me to muddy the waters further, and especially so in a culture where the genders of marriage partners is undergoing redefinition. To the extent that his statement is true, it seems the new policy may help as much as hinder that understanding. (But not in a way he would approve of.) But I don't think "marriage" has been any more part of Scouting for Boys' Weltanschauung than "gender identity or perceived sexual orientation" has been.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Sandy » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:49 pm

The genders of marriage partners in the culture may be undergoing revision, but the Biblical, Christian perspective of it is not. And that does have an effect on Southern Baptist churches that sponsor Boy Scout troops, when the parent organization endorses a position that isn't consistent with that of the church.

I think this resolution goes a long way toward recognizing that some churches will decide they can no longer support having a Boy Scout troop, while others will continue and take a position of opposition to the policy based on the Biblical text.

It's not quite what the SBC's critics and bashers were expecting.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Haruo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:44 am

But the Boy Scouts are not a "Biblical, Christian" outfit. Even when I was a scout (mid-1960s) you could get a God & Country badge in a number of non-Christian religions (even at least one, Buddhism, that is non- if not necessarily exactly anti- theistic). And even among "Christian" sponsoring groups the largest is the not exactly Biblical LDS, whose position on the definition of marriage is most notoriously subject to change.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:07 am

Haruo wrote:Russ Moore's statement that "... the Boy Scouts previously had an understanding of sexuality that was geared toward expression in marriage" seems to me to muddy the waters further, and especially so in a culture where the genders of marriage partners is undergoing redefinition. To the extent that his statement is true, it seems the new policy may help as much as hinder that understanding. (But not in a way he would approve of.) But I don't think "marriage" has been any more part of Scouting for Boys' Weltanschauung than "gender identity or perceived sexual orientation" has been.


Moore is simply offering a fabrication to suit his own purposes. Scouting, when I worked in it, had nothing in any of its materials about expressing sexuality in marriage. OK, maybe there was an abstinence lecture in some troops, but there was nothing in the national materials to support this. I think Moore spoke off the cuff and offered a "pants on fire" statement.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Sandy » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:54 am

Haruo wrote:But the Boy Scouts are not a "Biblical, Christian" outfit. Even when I was a scout (mid-1960s) you could get a God & Country badge in a number of non-Christian religions (even at least one, Buddhism, that is non- if not necessarily exactly anti- theistic). And even among "Christian" sponsoring groups the largest is the not exactly Biblical LDS, whose position on the definition of marriage is most notoriously subject to change.


They most definitely are, when the troop is sponsored by a church, and their governing documents allow for this. I think it is important to point out that the SBC did not advise its churches to disassociate with the Boy Scouts. It simply recognized that some were going to, and affirmed their reason for doing so. It recognized that some would not, and it affirmed their commitment to be salt and light, particularly in the way they handle the issue of homosexuality.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Haruo » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:23 am

Dave Roberts wrote:
Haruo wrote:Russ Moore's statement that "... the Boy Scouts previously had an understanding of sexuality that was geared toward expression in marriage" seems to me to muddy the waters further, and especially so in a culture where the genders of marriage partners is undergoing redefinition. To the extent that his statement is true, it seems the new policy may help as much as hinder that understanding. (But not in a way he would approve of.) But I don't think "marriage" has been any more part of Scouting for Boys' Weltanschauung than "gender identity or perceived sexual orientation" has been.


Moore is simply offering a fabrication to suit his own purposes. Scouting, when I worked in it, had nothing in any of its materials about expressing sexuality in marriage. OK, maybe there was an abstinence lecture in some troops, but there was nothing in the national materials to support this. I think Moore spoke off the cuff and offered a "pants on fire" statement.

I agree. Troops, leaders, and scouts may have had such notions or taken such positions, but BSA per se never did. And I've never heard any serious concerns about divorced Scoutmasters, though I think female Scoutmasters were a no-no, regardless of their perceived sexual orientation.

Is there a novel anyone can recommend about Baden-Powell's love life? And GSA has been lesbian-friendly for decades now. (Which may be why LDS has used Boy Scouts as its boys' aŭiliary, but has eschewed a similar relationship with the Girl Scouts.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:10 pm

I think there is a big misunderstanding on what possession of a BSA charter by a church means. It does not mean that the church gets to decide the rules for BSA. BSA is a separate organization which has its own rules that you agree to follow when you accept one of their charters.

I know many churches help get leadership for BSA, that many troops that meet in churches get a lot of their leadership from the sponsoring church. But that does not mean that the Troop or the BSA live under the rules of that local church or that the Boy Scout program is synonymous with a program of the church.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:06 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:I think there is a big misunderstanding on what possession of a BSA charter by a church means. It does not mean that the church gets to decide the rules for BSA. BSA is a separate organization which has its own rules that you agree to follow when you accept one of their charters.

I know many churches help get leadership for BSA, that many troops that meet in churches get a lot of their leadership from the sponsoring church. But that does not mean that the Troop or the BSA live under the rules of that local church or that the Boy Scout program is synonymous with a program of the church.


You are quite accurate, Timothy. The troop is never just a part of the church's program if they follow their charter documents.
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby William Thornton » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:26 am

Dave Roberts wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:I think there is a big misunderstanding on what possession of a BSA charter by a church means. It does not mean that the church gets to decide the rules for BSA. BSA is a separate organization which has its own rules that you agree to follow when you accept one of their charters.

I know many churches help get leadership for BSA, that many troops that meet in churches get a lot of their leadership from the sponsoring church. But that does not mean that the Troop or the BSA live under the rules of that local church or that the Boy Scout program is synonymous with a program of the church.


You are quite accurate, Timothy. The troop is never just a part of the church's program if they follow their charter documents.


This is precisely why the matter is an issue in the SBC. If a church agrees to the charter of the BSA or any other organization (AWANA is another independent organization commonly found in SBC churches where the pastor has to sign onto AWANA's rules) and that charter diverges from the church's beliefs and practice, then it would be irresponsible for the church not to sever the relationship.

Question for my mod/lib friends, especially Timothy: If the BSA changes their rules to allow homosexual BSA leaders, then would that be sufficient for you to sever the relationship?
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Re: Resolution of SBC on Boy Scouts

Postby Sandy » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:46 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:I think there is a big misunderstanding on what possession of a BSA charter by a church means. It does not mean that the church gets to decide the rules for BSA. BSA is a separate organization which has its own rules that you agree to follow when you accept one of their charters.

I know many churches help get leadership for BSA, that many troops that meet in churches get a lot of their leadership from the sponsoring church. But that does not mean that the Troop or the BSA live under the rules of that local church or that the Boy Scout program is synonymous with a program of the church.


The BSA is not governed by rules which separate religious or church influence from membership. The rules provide for quite a lot of latitude with regard to the way sponsors provide leadership and support for troops. Mormon sponsored troops generally limit their membership to those who belong to the LDS. They can do that, under the rules. There's a lot of flexibility. I know our church in Houston never had any objection from the local BSA leadership over things involved with our boy scout troop that connected it closely to the church's ministry, and outreach.

Though it isn't directly mentioned, because this is a new thing, I would guess that there is enough latitude for church sponsors to avoid having to implement policies that are contradictory to Christian teaching and practice with regard to homosexuality. I don't think the BSA will put churches in the position of complying or severing the relationship.
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