Rev. Fred Luter Jr. points upward after being re-elected as the Southern Baptist Convention's president during the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Houston. Luter was the SBC's first black president. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)
HOUSTON (AP) — The Southern Baptist Convention has approved a resolution opposing the Boy Scouts of America's new policy allowing gay Scouts.
The resolution also calls on the Boy Scouts to remove executive and board leaders who tried to allow gays as both members and leaders without consulting the many religious groups that sponsor Scout troops.
While the resolution does not recommend that Southern Baptists drop ties with the Scouts, it expresses support for those churches and families that decide to do so.
It also encourages churches and families who choose to remain with the Scouts to work toward the reversal of the new membership policy.
Delegates to the annual meeting of the nation's largest Protestant denomination voted on the resolution on Wednesday in Houston.
After the vote Deron Smith, who works in the Boy Scouts Public Relations Dept., released the following statement:
“We have a deep respect for the Southern Baptist Convention and its churches that use Scouting in their youth ministries. Scouting’s youth member policy is not about the BSA condoning homosexuality, or forcing its chartered organizations to do the same. This change allows Scouting to be more compassionate in its response to a young person who expresses a same sex attraction, but is not engaging in sexual activity, by no longer calling for their automatic removal from the program. Scouting’s policy prohibits any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age and requires all members to demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others. We believe the BSA policy is fully consistent with how Southern Baptist 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.“