Pod people: 'Mass exodus' from the Boy Scouts?

One of the wonderful things about writing is the ability to type something, decide it's not precisely exactly what you wanted to say, delete it and start over. Alas, when you're recording a podcast — let's say, with Todd Wilken of "Crossroads" — you don't have that luxury.

Instead, you're responding to questions off the cuff and thinking out loud.

So, please enjoy a trip inside my (scatter)brain in the latest GetReligion podcast.

Wilken and I discuss media coverage of the Boy Scouts of America's decision to allow openly gay members — the subject of my recent posts on "Seven questions about Boy Scout gay policy coverage" and "Churches dumping Boy Scouts over gay policy ... or not?"

My most recent post drew some interesting comments, including this insight from GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly:

The key to the whole question is that no one knows what the word "open" means in the phrase "openly gay youths." At this point, Catholics are the key. Keep waiting for the hierarchy to speak.

And this insight from Tennessean religion writer Bob Smietana:

So far there hasn't been a mass exodus of Baptists from Boy Scouts in Nashville. And the local Royal Ambassador leaders don't want to fill their ranks with disgruntled scouts. This could be a case for Baptist where the national leader want one thing and the local churches something else.

The notion that the policy change hasn't sparked a "mass exodus" also was referenced in an Associated Press story published after my last post:

In suburban Atlanta, northern Idaho and a number of other places, churches have moved swiftly to sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America in protest over the vote last month to let openly gay boys participate in Scouting.

To date, it's far from the mass defection that some conservatives had predicted before the vote by the BSA's National Council. But the exodus could soon swell, depending on the outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting next week in Houston. Baptist leaders say the agenda is likely to include a resolution encouraging SBC-affiliated churches to phase out their sponsorships of Scout units.

The vote occurred just two weeks ago. It seems a bit early to me to start assessing the full impact.

I'm reminded of the upheaval in the Episcopal Church after that denomination's 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop. If I recall correctly, some of the defections of congregations and even dioceses took years to develop. Don't get me wrong: I'm not suggesting that the Boy Scout situation represents an apple-to-apple comparison to the gay bishop scenario; I'm just pointing out that not every entity operates on the same immediate deadline as a daily news reporter.

Anyway, Wilken poses some intriguing questions on the podcast, and I hem haw around quite a bit and actually answer one or two of them.

Besides talking about the Boy Scouts, we focus a few minutes on media coverage of "The faith and resiliency of Oklahomans" after the recent devastating tornadoes here in my home state. I maybe even bring up Wolf Blitzer again (see Mollie's recent post on "I'm an atheist, Wolf").

Enjoy the podcast.

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