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Faculty Leave Christian University Over 'Lifestyle' Statement

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 May 21
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Three dozen faculty members have resigned from Shorter University, a Baptist school in Georgia, after it required them to sign a "personal lifestyle statement" condemning homosexuality, premarital sex and public drinking, the Religion News Service reports. The statement, which was adopted in the fall of 2011 along with a statement of faith, reads, "I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality," and also requires faculty to agree that they will not engage in illegal drug use or drink alcohol in restaurants, stadiums or other public places. In addition to the 36 faculty who have resigned -- though some who resigned did not state the reason for leaving -- university president Donald Dowless said at least 25 have cited disagreement with either the pledge or the statement of faith. Dowless said he and the university board recognized there were "strong feelings on both sides" about the new employment rules, but the board decided to "reclaim our Christian roots" even if the consequence was a loss of faculty and staff. "Our university was at a crossroads to either take steps to regain an authentic Christian identity in policy and practice or we would become a Christian university in name only," he said. The Georgia Baptist Convention began appointing all trustees of the school's board in 2005 after a ruling in the state convention's favor by the Georgia Supreme Court. The university usually has about 100 full-time faculty.