November 02, 2011
HRC Calls on Shorter University to Revisit “Personal Lifestyle Pledge”
School is requiring all faculty members to say they reject homosexuality – or face losing their job
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, is calling on Shorter University to revisit a new policy requiring all employees to, among other things, reject homosexuality. The new policy states: “I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.” New employees must sign the pledge as a condition of employment; current employees will be required to sign it when extending their contracts.
As a private institution, Shorter University has a right to create and implement these guidelines. But that doesn’t make it right.
“Most mainline Christian and Jewish denominations and a growing number of people of faith have wrestled with the Bible and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors and have come to the conclusion that sexual orientation and gender identity are not incongruent with Biblical teaching,” said HRC Religion and Faith Program Director Sharon Groves. “Shorter University is asserting its own interpretation of Christianity at the expense of LGBT people. If they wish to proclaim the spirit of Christianity, they would be using their policies to send a message that we are called to respect and cherish the dignity of all – not discriminate against diversity. Instead, the school’s anti-LGBT policy is sending a dangerous message to other employees and students that there is something wrong with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. As we are all too well aware, sending these types of messages can often have very serious consequences.”
HRC President Joe Solmonese is submitting a letter to the university calling on them to reconsider the policy. Read the full letter.
Among other items in the pledge, employees who sign are required to be “committed Bible believing Christians, who are committed to integrating Biblical faith in their classes and who are in agreement with the University Statement of Faith. Moreover, employees are expected to be active members of a local church.” Read the full statement.
In media interviews, University President Don Dowless has defended the policy. He also has said “We have a right to hire only Christians.”
HRC is calling on its members and supporters and take action as part of its Call it Out campaign, asking the University to revisit its decision to require employees to sign the pledge as a condition of employment.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.