No gays allowed at Georgia Baptist college

Rome, Ga.-based Shorter College revamped its faith statements, which banned its employees from being gay. The president called the move an “affirmation of our Christ-centered mission” and all employees will be required to sign the documents, which were approved by the college’s board of trustees last week.

Not surprisingly, news of the faith statements have been picked up by gay news outlets such as the Georgia Advocate, which added a clever twist to its reporting by linking an article on how to combat anti-gay arguments when it comes to the Bible and homosexuality.

Here’s a blurb from the Rome News-Tribune, the Polk County legal organ where Shorter College is  located:

In the statement, the university commits to only hiring, “Bible- believing Christians, who are dedicated to integrating biblical faith in their classes and who are in agreement with the University Statement of Faith.”

The statement of faith is a two-page document that covers in brief details the college’s stance on everything from the Bible being the word of God to the belief the Bible is the supreme authority for believers.

The personal lifestyle statement requires that personnel agree to four principles: be loyal to the mission of Shorter University, do not engage in the use and sale of illegal drugs, do not view premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality “as acceptable” and refrain from the use of alcohol in the presence of students and in public. 

You can read the full statement here.

The statement doesn’t say they w0n’t hire and/or fire anyone who belongs to the GLBTQ community or if pre-marital sex or cohabitation would preclude a person from getting a job there. However, it does appear employees must sign the statements, which makes me believe one’s job could be on the line if he or she did not affirm the college’s “Christ-centered mission.”

I have a problem with people using religion to promote their bigotry and to single out others who do not conform to what they believe is the Christian way of life. I have a problem with Shorter College using this document as bait by requiring employees to sign it, thus subconsciously linking their job security with penning their name to a piece of paper with bigoted, anti-humane slogans and catch phrases. Knowing how stiff the job market is for instructors, professors and other staff at the collegiate level, it would not be surprising if Shorter employees, some begrudgingly, sign on to these principles.

The tenant about not using alcohol in public places where students gather is resoundingly unrealistic. Forbidding Shorter College employees from having a glass of wine while enjoying dinner at the Rome, Ga. Applebee’s is tantamount to tailoring an employee’s personal lives outside the realm of their occupations.

Sure, every private college is entitled to promote its own set of standards, values and mores it wants to link its institution to. However, the use of GLBTQ people and its supposed “alternative lifestyle” as a vehicle for shoving this college president and board of trustees’ bigoted values down the throats of employees is yet another example of a social values campaign evangelical Christians want to engage in.

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