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Motion declined for task force to find Boy Scouts’ ‘substitute program’comment (0)

September 26, 2013

Less than three weeks after the Boy Scouts voted to permit openly homosexual youth as members, a messenger to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) moved that an alternative organization be sought.

The motion by messenger Harold M. Phillips, of Maryland, during the June 11–12 SBC annual meeting called for a special task force to explore “any available youth programs as well as the possibility of offering a substitute program for those desiring to find an avenue for their boys to learn leadership skills and moral standards once offered by the Boy Scouts of America, seeing they have lost their way and lost their moral compass, the Bible.”

However, the SBC Executive Committee declined to recommend creation of the task force “believing it is not in the purview of the Southern Baptist Convention to create an alternative civic organization for boys or to have a task force expressly or tacitly endorse one scouting alternative over another.”

The Executive Committee response to the motion came during its Sept. 16–17 meeting in Nashville and will be reported to the 2014 SBC annual meeting in Baltimore.

Supplementary materials provided to Executive Committee members recounted the existence of two longstanding Southern Baptist-based programs — Royal Ambassadors (RAs) for boys in grades 1–6 and Challengers for young men in grades 7–12, both sponsored by national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU). Both RAs and Challengers primarily focus on missions education and involvement but also entail the development of Christlike character and have elements of outdoor recreation.

Steve Heartsill, managing editor for RAs at WMU headquarters in Birmingham, said there are some parallel elements to RAs and Boy Scouts, like an award system, camping and competitions using wooden racecars. WMU does not view RAs “as an alternative to anything,” however.

“With a rich history of 105 years, the purpose of Royal Ambassadors is missions education and involvement,” Heartsill said. “RAs is about leading boys to Christ, teaching missions and developing a Christlike character.”

The RA pledge includes a promise “to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body.”  

(Compiled from BP)

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