Dear Attendees of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting:
As you gather in Houston this week for your annual meeting, a topic of discussion will be the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) recent decision to welcome openly gay boys into their ranks. Some Southern Baptist churches around the country, from Alabama to Idaho, have already announced decisions to break with the Boy Scouts. No doubt, a resolution will be put forward during your meeting recommending that Southern Baptist congregations end their relationships with the BSA.
More than 70% of Scout chapters have charters with faith-based organizations. (Baptist churches sponsor over 100,000 Boy Scouts through 4,000 chapters.) Yet not all religions share your disappointment with the BSA’s decision. The Mormon Church, for example, with more than four times the number of Scouts than Baptist congregations, has accepted the Boy Scouts’ ruling on gay membership.
Still, there is no changing the decision that will be coming out of your meeting. Richard Land, the head of your Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said, “There’s a 100% chance that there will be a resolution about disaffiliation (from the Boy Scouts) at the convention and a 100% chance that 99% of people will vote for it.”
Those percentages don’t disturb me.
What disturbs me is what this decision will do to the thousands of gay boys growing up in Southern Baptist churches who will, yet again, feel diminished by your actions.
I don’t know what kind of a goodie bag you will receive when you check in for your conference in Houston. If I could, I would slip a copy of the popular Macklemore + Ryan Lewis song, “Same Love” into your bags. In the song, they rap:
“The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten”
Now, I know, even if I could get a CD of “Same Love” in every one of your swag bags, that attendees at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting probably would not listen to the song. But guess what? Your children are listening to it.
Some of you might find the preceding lyrics disturbing. But here’s the Macklemore lyric from “Same Love” that you should pay attention to:
“Progress, march on.”