As expected , the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to open membership to homosexual youth is leading to an exodus of churches as troop sponsors. Over two-thirds of Boy Scout troops are church backed, though admittedly not all of these churches accept the biblical teaching that practicing homosexuals are in rebellion against God and His Word.
In June, the largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists, passed a resolution at its national convention that opposed the Scouts’ policy change, while it declared the denomination’s “love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation.” At the same time, in accordance with the denomination’s longstanding policy of allowing a great deal of autonomy for each SBC congregation, the resolution did not call on each Southern Baptist church with a Boy Scout affiliation to break its ties with the Scouts. The resolution further stated that the Southern Baptists should not abandon their ministry to boys and should expand Royal Ambassadors, their own Scout-type ministry.*
While conservative church groups decry the Boy Scouts’ decision, homosexual activist groups complain that the decision goes only halfway because it opens scouting to homosexual members but denies homosexual leaders. Commentator Al Mohler voices what many on both sides have said—this halfway decision cannot possibly stand. Mohler points to statements by Scout councils in Connecticut and California who have already said they intend to open up leadership to openly homosexual adults regardless of any decision by the national organization.
Some members of the media expect that this more inclusive policy will allow the Boy Scouts to expand. But Canada’s experience belies their optimism. When that country made a similar change to its scouting rules, membership fell by half. As the Boy Scouts of America opens its arms to all sexual orientations—which include more than simple homosexuality—it will continue to drive away those who seek character training that is consistent with God’s Word.