Faculty leave Baptist school, Shorter University, over “lifestyle” statement

More than two dozen faculty members have resigned from Shorter University, a Baptist school in Georgia, after it required them … Continued

More than two dozen faculty members have resigned from Shorter University, a Baptist school in Georgia, after it required them to sign a “personal lifestyle statement” that condemns homosexuality, premarital sex and public drinking.

An online campaign called “Save Our Shorter” says that the lifestyle pledge, adopted in the fall of 2011 along with a statement of faith, has led to dozens of resignations. University president Donald Dowless on Friday (May 18) confirmed that 36 faculty have resigned and at least 25 cited disagreement with either the personal lifestyle statement or the faith statement.

The school usually has about 100 full-time faculty.

“The Shorter Board of Trustees is slowly destroying the reputation of our beloved school and causing irreparable damage to the cause of Christ,” the Save Our Shorter website says.

Dowless said Friday that some of those who resigned did not state the reason for leaving.

In a Wednesday statement, Dowless said he and the university board recognized there are “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 university, in Rome, Ga., now requires faculty to sign a personal lifestyle statement that says they will not engage in illegal drug use or drink alcohol in restaurants, stadiums and other public locations.

“I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality,” the statement reads.

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.

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Adelle M. Banks | Religion News Service Adelle M. Banks is a production editor and national correspondent at RNS.
  • gnarlyerik

    How utterly obtuse! This blindly STUPID doctrinal act may well end up destroying this institution who’s sole reason to exist is to provide education. A mission statement is appropriate, but mandating what amounts to a ‘Loyalty Oath’ from everyone is ludicrous and very obviously destructive to the school.

    Much damage is already done, but let’s hope they come to their senses before totally destroying the school.

  • PeaceLoveHarmony

    This college needs to clarify their position on this scripture also:

    Exodus 35:2

    “Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.”

    If they followed this scripture, they would need to slaughter all of their clergy.

    If they truly believe the whole Bible is the inspired word of God that must be obeyed,why are they disobeying parts of it?

  • plattitudes

    I guess that would depend on how you define ‘work.’ Readings from the Old Testament indicate that this work is that labor which causes gain. For an agrarian society, that would be farming, herding, etc. If labor as a Pastor is teaching the word of God, then that could be argued as service to one’s fellow man, and not ‘work’ per se.

    The counter argument of course would be that this is the Pastors’ source of income, and thus they are in violation. The root of this problem is thus deeper, and we should question the ‘Christianity’ of a paid ministry. In the church Christ established, the apostles and leaders all served at their own expense. Except the apostles, the leaders Christ chose did not leave their labors, but served God in addition to their ‘work.’

    Another point of view is that the proverbial ox is in the mire, and that Pastors must work on Sundays in order to save the souls of their congregations. Yeah, that argument falls kinda flat if used every week.

    Basically, though, I agree with you. Paid ministry is anti-biblical, and it seems to me that true Christians should seek for a church with a lay leadership. Then the clergy can be safe from your threatened slaughter.

    As a last thought, though, remember: Judge not that ye be not judged. All of us sin, and it’s easy to condemn those who sin differently than we do…

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