Scouting exodus? Conservative religious and pro-family groups are making their voices heard in the Scout debate. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) expressed “extreme disappointment” to news that the Boy Scouts of America could admit homosexuals into its leadership ranks. “This is a catastrophic decision for the Boy Scouts of America,” said Dr. Richard Land, the head of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “This decision will lead to a mass exodus of traditional, orthodox Christianity from the Boy Scouts, including thousands of Catholic, Baptist and other traditional faith congregations.” Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., told USA Today that the policy change would be “nothing less than disastrous for the Boy Scouts of America.” In a column on his website, Mohler said what has so far been unspoken in this controversy: The homosexuals won’t stop here. He wrote, “Those pressing for a reversal of the national policy are not likely to be satisfied with a local option.”
Sex cult busted. Mexico’s National Immigration Institute says it broke up a religious cult that used the threat of eternal damnation if members failed to provide forced labor or sex. Mexican authorities arrested 14 people in the raid on a house near Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. Six Spaniards were among those detained. The cult called itself “The Defenders of Christ.” The cult’s leader Gonzalez de Arriba “mixed bio-programming, Christian and New Age doctrines, and fears about the end of the world … to control followers,” according to Myrna Garcia of the Support Network for Cult Victims. “He made them believe he was Christ,” said Garcia, whose group filed a complaint with Mexican authorities about the cult’s abuses about one year ago. “Like Christ, they have to adore him, if not they will lose their souls … they have to give their lives for him.” Garcia said the women “were forced into prostitution. It was a form of human trafficking that was extraordinarily effective from the criminal point of view.”
Religion and Davos. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, usually attracts the best and the brightest to talk about “big ideas.” One of the “big ideas” normally left out is religion. Not this year. “Religion is more relevant now than ever,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, a leader of the Russian Jewish community, told the Associated Press. Goldschmidt was on a panel with Arizona State University theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss discussing religion, science and reason. Narkis Alon, a young Israeli social activist, rounded out the panel. If this lineup, which featured no Christians, much less any conservative or evangelical Christians, doesn’t give you a clue, I’ll say it explicitly: Don’t expect the tolerant, open-minded, and expansive thinkers at Davos to make room for evangelical Christianity. Still, it was interesting to note that the Davos delegates were paying at least some attention to the fact that, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 84 percent of the world’s 6.9 billion people identified with a religion as of 2010. Christians were the largest group with 2.2 billion, followed by Muslims with 1.6 billion.
Immigration do’s and don’ts. A Hispanic organization with ties to the Republican Party has produced a “talking points” memo for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, giving them “dos and don’ts” for discussing immigration reform. The document, obtained by the website BuzzFeed, is supposed to help conservatives articulate their principles with language that is not unnecessarily inflammatory. “Tone and rhetoric will be key in the days and weeks ahead as both liberals and conservatives lay out their perspectives,” said Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) executive director Jennifer Korn. “Please consider these tonally sensitive messaging points as you discuss immigration, regardless of your position.” Among the suggestions: “When engaging in conversation or doing an interview on immigration reform, do acknowledge that ‘Our current immigration system is broken and we need to fix it,’” but “Don’t begin with ‘We are against amnesty.’” The HLN also advises, “Do use ‘undocumented immigrant’ when referring to those here without documentation,” but “Don’t use the word ‘illegals’ or ‘aliens.’”