Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another reason that we lose

Originally I was wanting to post something entirely different yet related to the Southern Baptist Convention just the same.  Chores and fatigue have prevented this for a long time now, but I will make an effort to say the following, however: Christians and social conservatives are not that bright.

We’re not that bright: first in terms of intellect, but now also in terms of positive cultural influence à la Matthew 5.13-16.  The Southern Baptist Convention in 1997 showed that it had heart when it began to fight the Disney empire and just as other Christians began to come up with every conceivable lame “excuse” for supporting the SBC’s boycott of things Disney.  This time around, on the other hand, the same organization which once was capable of noble action against social evils has shown that whatever wisdom it once had may have gone out the door in the natural flow of organizations’ shedding and gaining parts as members join, step down, die, become senile, etc.

The nation's largest Protestant denomination stopped short of calling for its member churches to boycott the Boy Scouts, but voiced strong opposition to acceptance of gay scouts - with a top church leader predicting at the annual gathering of Southern Baptists that a "mass exodus" of youths from the program that has been a rite of passage for more than a century.

The move by the Southern Baptist Convention came at its annual, four-day meeting in Houston, and three weeks after the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay youth to join.  With more than two-thirds of Boy Scout troops sponsored by religious organizations, and Baptists being the nation's largest protestant denomination, the resolution could have a crippling effect on the Boy Scouts.

"There will be a mass exodus over time," said Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. “Churches are finally going to have to come to realize – there is a point when you say, ‘sorry, no more.’"

Let us juxtapose this with the following snippet from Baptist Press - Page, Land send letters opposing Scout proposal - News with a Christian Perspective posted on 05/17/2013:

"For over a century," Page wrote, "Scouting has helped our youth develop character and leadership skills forever impacting their lives. I am distressed by the recent proposed resolution which would introduce the subject of sex and sexual orientation into the program of the Boy Scouts. For one hundred and three years Scouting has been a safe haven from such topics rightfully reserved for parents. Such an introduction is inconsistent with the principles found in Scouting's sacred Oath and Law."

For starters, if you decimate the Boy Scouts by keeping your children out of it, you have now taken away the said means of developing character and leadership skills in the youth.

Secondly, a person who is openly gay need only be someone who is being honest about what feelings or attractions he has; it is hardly as if everyone who is a homosexual is someone who wears his “identity” on his sleeve or goes about broadcasting his sexual orientation to everyone around him.  Someone who is merely being honest their particular mental disorder--and yes, I will call it that--is not someone who categorically should be denied the opportunity to have character and leadership skills instilled within him.

Thirdly, the “safe haven” objection seems perfectly naive in considering what amount of the U.S. population is homosexual, how many members of that subpopulation would be interested in joining the Boy Scouts, and how many youngers already know that homosexuality exists.  Homosexuality is mentioned time and again in your copy of the Bible, you know.

Fourthly, what will be gained if you take your kids out of the Boy Scouts and attempt to set up conservative alternatives to the Boy Scouts?  Attempts at Christian isolation from the culture tend to create cultural ghettoes, something well-exemplified by CCM, where the only reason untalented people are getting record contracts is to fill a void in a niche market, or Christian cinema where half the movies of that genre would probably end up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 if that show were still on the air.  Sorry, but Christians do not in every instance have all the talent, money and resources necessary to put together a grade A organization or product; attempt a Boy Scouts of America alternative if you must, but please do not bother if only a few people will invest in such a project.

But again, what will be gained if you take your kids out of the Boy Scouts and attempt to set up conservative alternatives to the Boy Scouts?  Do the Scriptures not have something to say about believers’ being “salt and light”?  And do the Scriptures not have something to say about winning people with actions as opposed to mere words?  If there are kids in the BSA who are believers and if there are kids there who are not, then by isolating the believers from the unbelievers an opportunity is missed to show unregenerate people exactly how gracious and selfless a person should be toward his fellow man and how this behavior is borne of an understanding of the teachings of Christ.

Finally, some problems will naturally blow over or fade away if no further fuel is added to the fire.  The sort of attention that some social conservatives don’t want homosexuality and homosexuals to receive is something what would not exist if people would not create news stories by doing exactly the sort of thing for which the Southern Baptist Convention is currently in the news.  In fact, any further legal gains that the Gay Lobby makes could conceivably, over the course of time, come to be as forgotten and ignored as laws of various states which in our own day still outlawed sodomy or adultery.  And despite how debased Western culture has become in its ethically minimalist attitude toward homosexuality, guess what: there are still hate crimes (which I do not condone in any way) being committed against homosexuals, including the recent Madison Square Garden attacks in liberal, home-of-the-Stonewall-Inn New York City.  The point is that people such as members of the SBC need to stop the knee-jerk reactions to cultural occurrences around them and instead calm their nerves so they can think clearly.

Then again, if the reader thinks it is I who am in error here, then my first point is still proven; the fact that people can be disagreeing over the issues means that something has gone wrong somewhere down the line.


Addendum: It is amazing what a little bit of further reading and research can reveal; lo, there may still be hope for Southern Baptist Convention:  The reaction of the Mormon hierarchy on this issue, meanwhile, is interesting.

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