Don’t Worry, Gay Scouts, Southern Baptists Still ‘Love’ You

At last week’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, messengers from SBC churches around the country voted on and approved a resolution concerning the recent change in membership policy by the Boy Scouts of America, which says that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”*

It is no secret that the SBC has long believed that homosexuality is in violation of God’s intentions for human sexuality and that it is a deplorable sin and affront to God. And as many expected, the SBC messengers voted to express their disapproval of the BSA’s decision, their approval of its member churches that feel the need to “prayerfully . . .  assess their continued relationship with the BSA,” and their “support for those churches and families that as a matter of conscience can no longer be part of the Scouting family.”

The recent decision of the BSA has, overnight apparently, turned Scouting into a new mission field, as if it weren’t already an overtly Christian institution.

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

None of this surprises me, though it does still bother me in many ways and for many reasons. The kicker for me, though, was the final declaration of the resolution.

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.

Sure they think you’re going to hell if you believe you were born gay and that it’s just who you are. Sure they think your very existence is an affront to God and a grave example of the power of sin in this world. Sure they will tell you that you can never act on the “urges” you have, but have to remain celibate because the person you happen to love has the same genitalia as you. Sure they think their ‘sexual orientation’ is true and real and pure while yours is merely ‘perceived’ and is the result of a choice you made.

But it’s really all okay, because they ‘love’ you.

It seems to me that they sure do have a funny way of showing it.

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*Having spent the majority of my life thus far in Baptist (and mostly Southern Baptist) churches, I recognize that the SBC does not speak for all members of Southern Baptist churches, nor does it speak for all who identify as Baptist or as Christian. This is, though, the governing body, and they do hope (intend) that all member churches follow their stances on issues like this. Churches don’t have to adopt every position approved at the annual meetings, but my experience has been that hot-button topics like this (and women as pastors, for example) often lead to churches being kicked out of the SBC, usually at the local (association) level.

Thomas Whitley

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About the Author
Thomas Whitley holds a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Divinity from Gardner-Webb University. He is currently working on a PhD in Religions of Western Antiquity at Florida State University. He regularly writes on religion, technology, and politics at thomaswhitley.com.

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  • The Mule

    Kind of sad a guy with so much schooling on Religion and Divinity still hasn’t read the bible.

    • TimTripod

      My thoughts exactly. I’m sure he’s cracked it open a few times but it does not appear to figure into his view of life. This is just a throw-away piece based on silly stereotypes.

      • chris aho

        To the above commenters.

        You may disagree with the post or the author, but I find your comments to be a needless attack on the author. Sure, he can stand up for himself, I am sure, but your comments have added nothing to the conversation.

        • Jack

          Chris, I agree with you. There is no reason to attack any one personally because of their beliefs. That includes Whitley. On the other hand there is no need for him to make the kind of remarks that he does in his blog either. He acts as if it is hate that motivates people to be against homosexuality. The bottom line is he is not any better than the two you take issue with.

        • TimTripod

          Chris, I’ll concede your point; my comment was more of an attack on the author’s character than on his words. I was just quite disappointed that someone with educational credentials as impressive as this fellow would waste such time perpetuating misleading caricatures. But I suppose one fallacious argument doesn’t refute another, and your point is acknowledged.

  • John

    Thomas, this raises an important question. Just what does/should “love” look like? How should it be expressed? I think it goes to the very nature of love.

    Because I “love” my kids I point out when they are headed down a wrong path. Because I “love” them I will even (gasp) correct them. To shrug my shoulders and turn a blind eye would be a most un-loving and un-caring act. I am grateful that the love our Heavenly Father has is willing to point out my errors and correct me.

    “At the deepest root of the idea of God’s wrath (which fills the scripture for beginning to end) is the reality that it is fundamentally an expression of passion from a wounded husband and a ferociously protective father. His wrath is about His love.” -Timothy Stoner, The God Who Smokes

    • Digger

      Amen, John. I fully concur. We ought to be defining what love is and what love is not. Telling averyone standing at the broad gate of Hell that they are fine just where they’re at is not love. In fact, it is the most vile form of hatred.