New leadership is needed for the Boy Scouts of America, a key Southern Baptist leader, Frank Page, said Thursday (Feb. 14) in Oklahoma City.
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"I think it's time for Scouting people across the nation to rise up and ask for a change in leadership in Scouting," Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, told editors of state Baptist papers during their annual meeting.
"[W]e need Scouting executives with backbone," Page said.
Page did not mention specific names. The chief executives of AT&T and Ernst & Young, however, have been proponents of changing Scout policy to permit openly gay Scout troop leaders and members.
"I don't think the national leaders have listened carefully to the local people," Page said, referring to the push within Scouting's 64-member Executive Board to abandon the BSA's male leadership/membership tradition.
"The local people are torn up over this," Page said.
The Scouts' Executive Board pulled back from adopting the policy change during a Feb. 6 session at the organization's national headquarters in Irving, Texas. Instead, the Executive Board will place the issue before the May 22-24 meeting of Scouting's 1,400-member National Council, encompassing Scout leaders from local and regional levels who will gather in Grapevine, Texas.
The proposed policy, which called for local Scout councils and troops to begin determining their own leadership and membership policies, generated heavy media attention as well as alarm among many churches with Scout troops.
While local Scout organizations could hold to "biblical standards of morality" under the proposed policy, Page noted that "as soon as those Scouts leave ... [for] a state or national camping event, national rules apply....
"At some point, the national policy shift will trump local automony," Page said, and church-based Scout troops will forfeit their standards "when they move beyond the bounds of their local organization."
Page made his comments during the Feb. 11-14 meeting of the Association of State Baptist Publications in Oklahoma City.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press