Shorter University, a Baptist college in Georgia, is losing scads of faculty and students after requiring all teachers to sign a "Personal Lifestyle Statement" that requires them to reject homosexuality, pre-marital sex, public drinking, adultery and drug use and mandates that they attend church regularly.
In an anonymous survey in April, only 12 percent of faculty and staff said that they planned to stay at Shorter University, a 139-year-old Baptist school, reports Inside Higher Ed. More than 50 resigned before the new contracts were even distributed, and certain departments, such as science and fine arts, have been "eviscerated," according to Michael Wilson, a tenured librarian for the university who's worked there for 14 years.
"Where is today's American Taliban? At Shorter University," tenured Shorter professor Sherri Weiler wrote in the Rome News-Tribune. "Religious fundamentalism in any form (Muslim or Christian) is sheer lunacy in today's divided, fractured, and tormented world. True peace is only to be found in opening the doors, not closing the gates."
Wilson had planned to stay at Shorter until retirement, but essentially resigned last week. He signed the "lifestyle statement," but crossed out the line: "I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality."
Leaving Shorter is "wrenching," said Wilson, who claims that many of his co-workers knew he was gay. "I'm a pretty quiet person. But I perceive this as a great injustice." He is part of Save Our Shorter, which is a campaign against the changes.
I applaud the faculty for standing up to these "American Taliban" tactics, but Wilson's comments give me pause. I wonder to myself why this is the straw that broke the camel's back. A gay professor at a Baptist University shouldn't be surprised to find out that the school doesn't like the LGBT community - especially if he's had to stay in the closet to the majority of his co-workers.
It reminds me of Ken Mehlman complaining that the GOP is too extreme in their stance on marriage equality. Hello, Mr. Obvious... It's a problem Mehlman helped perpetuate. Wilson has helped to continue the Baptist university's indoctrination of young minds with anti-gay rhetoric and hate speech, but now he's worried because his own job is in jeopardy? Did he think he'd chosen to work for the Unitarians? What happened to personal responsibility for your own decisions?
As my grandmother used to say, "If you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas."