Southern Baptists Plan to Leave Boy Scouts 'En Masse'

Denomination will urge 16M members to cut ties

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 2, 2013 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Boy Scouts of America's decision last month to allow gay members was made with the blessings of many churches and religious groups—but not all of them. And here's a pretty significant opponent: The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America with 45,000 congregations and 16 million members, says it will now urge its followers to leave the Scouts, reports CNN. The Boy Scouts says Baptist churches currently sponsor nearly 4,000 units, containing more than 100,000 kids.

The Southern Baptist Convention will vote on a resolution to disaffiliate with the Scouts this month, and a spokesperson says he expects 99% of people to vote in support of it. "Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts en masse," he says. The resolution will be non-binding, so it will still be up to individual congregations to decide whether to stay or leave. Southern Baptists have their own youth organization called the Royal Ambassadors, which awards merit badges for mission work and memorizing bible verses, in addition to camping and hiking. The denomination says it's expecting a surge in new recruits.

This photo taken  Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, shows a close up detail of a Boy Scout uniform worn by Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality, as he responds questions during a news conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas. The Boy...
This photo taken Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, shows a close up detail of a Boy Scout uniform worn by Brad Hankins, a campaign director for Scouts for Equality, as he responds questions during a news conference...   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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