Writing for The New American, Dave Bohon seems unhappy about the negative publicity a certain Baptist university has been receiving lately.
A Baptist university in Georgia is receiving abundant media attention for a “Personal Lifestyle Statement“ it recently updated, that requires faculty and staff to adhere to a set of biblical standards that include shunning homosexual behavior. Employees have been told that they must either sign the statement as a pledge, or face termination.
It’s a private school and receives no federal funding, so there’s no legal issue here. If Christians want to say, “We’re bigots and you have to be a bigot to work here,” then they have that right. What Bohon seems to be unhappy about is the fact that so many people seem to see anti-gay discrimination as bad even when Christians do it.
On its “Gay Voices” page, the Huffington Post highlighted “happily out and proud gay” Rome, Georgia, native Jeffery Self, who recalled the joyful days he spent helping out in the theater department of the college around the corner from his boyhood home. While claiming to understand that, because Shorter is a Baptist college, “certain ‘lifestyle choices’ might not be within their ideas and beliefs,” the aptly named Self nonetheless took the liberty of referring to the school’s pledge as “outlandishly backward, despicable, disgusting, and in no way Christ-like….”
Ooo, “the aptly named Self”—bet that one hurt. But what Bohon fails to understand is that there’s no contradiction here. It’s entirely possible that Baptist doctrines might not allow homosexual “lifestyles,” AND that this anti-gay attitude might be outlandishly backward, despicable, and disgusting. Bigotry doesn’t magically become OK just because Christians do it, any more than raping altar boys becomes ok just because the perp is a priest.
The major non-event here is that nobody is trying to tell the university they can’t do this. No one. There’s no lawsuit, no investigation, no plaintiff. People are talking about how bigoted it is to make sexual preference into a contractual obligation, but nobody is suggesting that the school should suffer any greater penalty than the harm they themselves are doing to their own reputation. So naturally, the university is striking the martyr pose and defending their right to make bigoted policies (which no one disputes).
Shorter’s president, Donald Dowless (pictured above), told the Christian Post that the reasoning behind the updated pledge was to clarify the university’s stand as a Christian institution. “As a private institution we have a right, just like organizations have the right, to set expectations of their employees,” he said. “We have a right to hire only Christians.”
And they do, which is why nobody is trying to deny them that right. What people are doing is pointing out that their definition of “only Christians” contains some rather blatant anti-gay bigotry. They fact that they have biblical justification for doing so only goes to show that this bigotry is not a mere personal failing on their part. The people who invented Christianity were also bigots.
On those grounds, I applaud their decision, and I hope they stick to their guns and demonstrate to the world what a backward, disgusting, and despicable religion Christianity really is.