Two churches in Cobb County are among the five percent in the metropolitan area that said they will no longer sponsor scouting groups because the BSA’s National Council lifted the restriction that denied membership to those who openly identified themselves as gay. The Rev. Ernest Easley of Roswell Street Baptist Church stated that it “would be a compromise for us to throw an arm around an organization that is openly pro-gay.” The Rev. Bryant Wright of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church declared “…as Bible believing Christians we cannot compromise God’s word, which has a clear call for people…to live a life of sexual purity.”
I support both clergymen one hundred percent in exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, free exercise of their religious beliefs, and their freedom of association. But that’s as far as it goes. They have a right to be wrong, and I believe that history will judge them accordingly. Today they may have the support of any number of their congregations for making this “bold” decision, for taking what they believe is a stance against immorality and defense of their Christian faith, but I think in time their collection plates will reflect a different mood. The churches and synagogues that have put out the welcome mat to all scouts deserve praise. I hope that they acquire new members from the other two churches and show them a different side of Christianity. If understanding scripture was black and white, there wouldn’t be so many denominations that interpret it differently, but just as sincerely.
What stands out are some of the other sins that are ignored. I have no desire in this blog to engage in a Biblical debate; it’s not the place, although I would welcome one in a different forum. I am willing to bet that two of the Ten Commandments most frequently ignored are the Third and Fourth pertaining to taking God’s name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath. They seem to have made the cut to be included in the Commandments, while homosexuality did not.
Yes, I know that that homosexuality is referred to elsewhere in the Bible. I also know that Jesus specifically spoke about divorce, and that one of the two grounds for divorce include adultery by the aggrieved party. I wonder if either minister has ever questioned their parishioners who are divorced and remarried to determine if one or the other spouses, or both, were the adulterers. Since I never heard of a church, these two included, de-fellowshiping a congregant in this instance, I have to wonder why, in light of the “no compromise” positions by both pastors concerning homosexuality and the scouts. Jesus said that you have sinned if you lusted after someone not your spouse. How many parishioners of these two churches are guilty on a regular basis of that sin? I have heard many times that churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints. Fair enough if that doctrine is applied across the board. It would be interesting to know how much money scouts bring to churches versus some of the divorced big money members. Being cynical, I have to think that money may just have some bearing on the double standard. There are some who resent comparing the gay rights issue with the civil rights movement. The evidence is pretty strong, though, that no one chooses their sexuality any more than they choose their race. I also understand that many of faith believe that if homosexuality is genetic, it would mean that one was born with a sin that could not be changed by choice, obviating the core belief that we have free will.
Allow me to point out that churches don’t pay property taxes while many or most other charitable organizations do. Every time a church buys property the rest of the taxpayers have to make up the tax revenue that is taken off the digest. Yet these churches receive police, fire, and other municipal services at no cost to them. People like me who don’t want to support these two churches and their beliefs that are contrary to everything I hold dear, have no choice. This is another example of redistribution, but sadly there is no outcry from the same people that object to redistribution of their money when it doesn’t suit their purposes.