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Boy Scouts being pressured to accept atheists

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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The emblem of the Boy Scouts of America is dramatically displayed at the main arena of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree, celebrating 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America (Credit: Daniel M Reck via Flickr)

“Good Boy Scouts Don’t Need God,” declares the headline in USA Today.  According to the author, dropping the requirement that Scouts believe in God is “the right thing to do.”  He quotes the president of the Freethought Society, who “is leveraging the new focus on Boy Scout inclusion policies to prompt a fresh look at its ban on atheists.”  Now that Scouts will include gay members, she hopes atheists will be next in line.

This is not the first time pressure has been brought against the Scouts on behalf of atheists.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has petitioned President Obama to advocate for atheist Scouts.  A California bill would remove the BSA’s tax exempt status so long as it maintains its position on faith in God.  An editorial in The Washington Post criticized the Scouts for their faith requirement.

As you know, Louie Giglio was pressured to withdraw from the 2012 presidential inauguration for declaring biblical truth regarding homosexuality.  More recently, Greg Laurie was attacked for his “homophobic” message when he was chosen as honorary chair of the National Day of Prayer.  When Sojourners declined to run a website ad sponsored by a pro-gay Christian group, they were widely criticized as well.

In a day when standing for biblical truth is so difficult, what should Christians do?

Rich Stearns is president of World Vision, one of the largest Christian relief organizations in history.  His first book, The Hole in Our Gospel, was one of the most powerful calls to social ministry I’ve ever read.  Its sequel has just been released, Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning.  In a recent interview he was asked, “What one message do you want Christians in the U.S. to hear?”

Here’s his thoughtful answer: “Many people see the Christian faith today as having less and less relevance in our society, especially when we look at the issues most Christians care about during the election season.  Christians are also worried about young people leaving the faith as more and more young adults claim no religious affiliation.

“How should Christians respond?  Are we relevant by having short, peppy sermons and coffee bars in church?  By offering advice on living nice, comfortable lives?  A better response is to call the church back to Jesus’ mission.  We are to bring the whole gospel into the world, demonstrating a new, revolutionary way to live under God’s rule—living out the kingdom values of compassion, mercy, and justice.  We don’t need to worry about so-called ‘Christian issues’ at the polls when we are confidently following Christ’s call in every area of our lives and inviting others to join us.”

Do you agree?  How should the Boy Scouts respond to anti-faith pressure?  How should believers engage our culture for Christ?  Be encouraged: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5).