Dr. Richard Land, who is in charge of addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says that dropping the ban on gay members and LGBT leaders will be a "catastrophe" for the Boy Scouts of America because excluding homosexuals represents the "heart and soul of scouting."
"What they've said to us and to other religious leaders is, 'We're doing this under pressure and we're going to give people, basically, what amounts to a local option,'" Land explained to CNN on Tuesday. "You can't have a local option of a core conviction."
"Yes, we live in a democracy and people can make this choice, but if they do, it's going to be a catastrophe because Baptist scouts and Catholic scouts and Mormon scouts and Methodist scouts, many of them are going to vote with their feet and they're going to leave the scouts," he added. "What they're doing is to appease their left coast and right coast appendages, they're cutting out the heart and soul of scouting in the rest of the country."
CNN host Brooke Baldwin noted that the Southern Baptist Convention had given local churches the option for the first time in 2000 of dropping the ban on women pastors.
"I hear you laugh," Baldwin said. "How is that different?"
"Well, we have about 45,000 churches, and we have about a hundred that have women pastors," Land replied. "So, I think the Convention has expressed its will. Our confession of faith is not binding on any particular Southern Baptist, but it's an expression of what we believe the Bible teaches, and the vast majority of Southern Baptist uphold that. What the scouts are doing is going back on a core value, and they're saying a core value is a local option."
"Are you saying that not allowing gay members is the heart and soul of scouting?" CNN host John Berman wondered.
"The scouts have said for themselves for over a hundred years that traditional morality is at the core value of scouting, teaching them to be morally straight," Land insisted. "And now, they're going to make it a local option under pressure from corporations and from some scout groups. A core value is not a local option."
"And let me say one other thing that nobody wants to talk about, and that is that homosexuals, by definition, are attracted to people of the same sex," he continued. "Now, I'm not accusing homosexuals of being pedophiles, but I'm accusing homosexuals of being what they say they are: attracted to males. How many people that are listening to me would allow their teenaged girls to go on camp outs and engaging in camping activities with heterosexual males?"
Baldwin pointed out that "homosexuals are no more pedophiles that heterosexuals."
"I didn't say that," Land shot back, pointing his finger at the camera. "I'm saying heterosexual males would not be allowed to be Girl Scout masters. Why? Because they're attracted to girls, to young women. In the same way, homosexual males -- I'm not talking about pedophiles -- homosexual means attracted to the same sex. Do parents really want to allow their teenaged boys to go on camp outs with men who are attracted to the same sex?"
"This verges on being beyond the realm of the rational, and it's going to lead to human tragedy. And the human tragedy is going to be, sadly, boys and men who are going to end up in relationships that are going to be tragic."