HOUSTON (BP) — Spurred by the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to admit openly homosexual youth as Scouts, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution on the matter June 12 during its annual meeting in Houston.
Below is a timeline of key events in the history of the BSA and the controversy over homosexual Scouts and Scout leaders.
February 1910: Boy Scouts of America incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.
June 1992: Decrying attacks on the BSA by homosexual and atheist activists, the Southern Baptist Convention passes a resolution urging the BSA to “maintain its historic commitments and to continue its proper work among the boys and young men of America.”
June 2000: Following judicial challenges to the BSA’s policy barring homosexual Scouts and Scout leaders, the Southern Baptist Convention passes a resolution urging the BSA to “hold fast to its traditional ideals.”
June 2000: Supreme Court rules in Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale that the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to bar homosexuals from becoming troop leaders.
July 2012: BSA special committee unanimously recommends retaining policy disallowing homosexual Scout leaders.
January 2013: BSA indicates it may reverse its stance on homosexual Scout leaders in February by allowing each local council to decide if its troops will allow homosexual leaders. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, meets with Scout leaders and urges them to reconsider.
February 2013: Pro-family groups run an ad in USA Today urging the BSA to stand by its current policy on homosexual Scout leaders.
February 2013: Facing pressure from supporters and members, BSA postpones decision on allowing homosexual scout leaders until May, when it intends to put the matter before its 1,400 voting members. Southern Baptist leaders applaud the move.
March 2013: Page meets with Scout leaders again, reiterates he will not support BSA if it reverses its policy on homosexual leaders.
April 2013: BSA announces it will vote in May on a proposal to leave in place its prohibition on homosexual Scout leaders but allow homosexual youth to join.
May 23, 2013: BSA’s 1,400-member National Council, by 61-39 percent vote, approves proposal to admit homosexual youth into Boy Scouts but continue to bar homosexual Scout leaders.
June 12, 2013: At its annual meeting in Houston, the Southern Baptist Convention passes a resolution opposing the BSA’s new membership policy. The resolution thanked those who fought against the change and expressed concern that homosexual Scout leaders may be allowed next. The resolution also affirmed the right of families and churches to decide whether to sever ties with the Scouts and suggested the Royal Ambassadors program as a potential alternative (www.wmu.com/ra). And it called for a change of leadership at the national Scout level.
John Evans is a writer based in Houston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).