Shorter University has adopted new "faith statements" that include an effective ban on gay people working for the Southern Baptist college, which is located in Rome, Ga.
New documents approved by the university's Board of Trustees on Oct. 21 include a "Personal Lifestyle Statement" for university employees, as well as other statements and new logo stressing the college motto of "Transforming Lives Through Christ."
Faculty and staff were told of the new policies on Monday, according to an Oct. 25 press release from the school.
The Personal Lifestyle Statement, which employees are required to sign, includes, “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, which can be read in its entirety here, also says that employees must be active members of a local church and includes statements about being loyal to the mission of Shorter; not using, selling or possessing illegal drugs; and not using alcoholic beverages in front of students or attending university events within six hours of drinking them.
Employees must sign the statement that stresses that they can be fired for violating the policy: “I have read and agree with the Personal Lifestyle Statement and will adhere to it in its entirety while employed at Shorter University. I understand that failure to adhere to this statement may result in disciplinary action against me, up to and including immediate termination.”
In the press release, Shorter Trustee Chair-Elect Joe Frank Harris, Jr. explained why the university adopted the new statements.
“The ‘why’ is really simple: What you stand for matters. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us to ‘Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.’ If we acknowledge Him, He will make this university’s path straight,” he said.
The Southern Baptist faith has been among the most vocal opponents of gay equality, including organizing an unsuccessful boycott of Disney because of its alleged support for LGBT rights.
Leaders in other faiths, however, disagree with the interpretation that the Bible condemns homosexuality. You can read more about differing interpretations of Biblical texts here.