No premarital or gay sex. No adultery. No public drinking. No faculty at Shorter University?

Huffington Post has an item today that Shorter University’s personal lifestyle statement, which we discussed here in October, is causing the Baptist school to lose faculty members.

That is what many of you predicted when the AJC first reported that the Rome college required employees to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” forbidding premarital sex, adultery and homosexual sex. The Personal Statement also requires that employees be active members of a local church. And the employees must agree to not drink in public places where students may see them, including restaurants, concerts and sports events. Nor can they attend a Shorter function if they consumed alcohol six hours prior to the event.

The school has had a policy since 2008 to hire Christians only who adhere to strict interpretations of the Bible. My AJC colleague Laura Diamond explained that the policy does not impact students’ ability to get federal loans because the college serves as pass-through and the money belongs to the students not the college.

In its update, Huffington cites Inside Higher Ed, which reported last month that an anonymous employee survey found that 12 percent of the faculty said they planned to stay at Shorter. Here is a good Rome News-Tribune story on the survey.

According to Huffington:

An online campaign called “Save Our Shorter” seems to blame the departure of many employees on the pledge, even though the university’s president told the Religion News Service that some of those who resigned did not state their reason for leaving.

“I feel that Shorter, the GBC, the Board of Trustees, and/or whoever can do what they want to the school,” one student writes on the site. “It’s their school, but I cannot personally attend a school so full of hate. The personal lifestyle statement is picking and choosing which sins are worse than others, but a sin is a sin. Why were homosexuality, premarital sex, and adultery singled out? What about child molesters?”

One of the school’s tenured professor felt similarly. “Lest anyone think I am ‘promoting’ homosexuality, please know that I am not,” professor Sherri Weiler, who resigned last week, wrote in the Rome News-Tribune, according to the “Save Our Shorter” site. “I am simply not going to judge anyone who expresses his/ her sexuality in this way.”

She continued, “All I know is that I cannot sign a document that “reject[s] as acceptable” any one of God’s creatures, be they adulterers, sexual ’sinners’ of any stripe, or drinkers of alcohol in public. All I know is that I cannot ‘reject as acceptable’ people who have sinned in any way, because I’ve sinned, too, and no doubt will again.”

Still, Nelson Price, who was chairman of the Board of Trustees when the lifestyle statement was approved, denounced the survey cited by Inside Higher Ed, describing it as “skewed” to the Rome News-Tribune . “The senders sent it to a group they selected and left out persons known to be in support of the direction the school is going,” Price noted. “It was not an objective blind survey…the questions were highly biased.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

66 comments Add your comment

Mitch

May 24th, 2012
4:05 pm

In God’s wisdom he designated every living thing on the earth as male or female. This includes aminals, fish, birds, insects, trees, grass, weeds, you name it. The job of every living female is to procreate. The job of the male is to fertilize, polinate, impregnate the female. It is wonderful that organized religion has been able to figure all this out and set up procedures to control it. We should give Shorter College a big hand for controlling this wonderful fenom. Hey, this ain’t easy folks.

losersville

May 24th, 2012
4:06 pm

So Nelson Price what are the exact numbers of faculty who have left vs those that have stayed. Tell us the truth so that we can decide for ourselves.

Jeff

May 24th, 2012
4:23 pm

I know one of the Shorter music professors personally – have for most of my life (she was a babysitter of mine as a young kid). I know she has been struggling with this issue for many months, and I believe (but do not remember for sure) that she ultimately decided to leave due to this issue – unsure if it was explicitly stated in her resignation or not. As seen through her eyes, I believe this to be a very major issue among the Shorter faculty, regardless of which side they ultimately fall on and their ultimate reasons for making this decision.

I’ve looked into Shorter for my education at various points – it was close to home, and for a long time I knew a sitting Trustee, who was one of the most respected men at my church. Never again. At a time when my generation and younger (I turn 30 on the next Inauguration Day) is fleeing from the SBC directly because of its involvement in the Culture Wars, Shorter chooses to hunker down and dig deeper into the trenches rather than move with us to promote Christ far beyond the War. This will only lead to their decline and/ or destruction in the relatively near future.

CobbGOPer

May 24th, 2012
4:24 pm

Anyone that attends Shorter College (and Liberty University, Oral Roberts, etc.) is likely someone you want to stay away from. Because they will spend every minute in your presence judging the crap out of you.

bootney farnsworth

May 24th, 2012
4:28 pm

as a private religious school they can set some hiring policies as they wish.
and I have no problem with a certain level of behavioral expectations (ie, don’t get hammered)
in public.

that said, if Shorter wishes to limit it potential talent pool this way …

is there ANYWHERE in Georgia where education hasn’t gone insane?

bootney farnsworth

May 24th, 2012
4:32 pm

since they don’t have an issue with fiscal mismanagement and hypocrisy, they should hire Anthony Tricoli. Say what you will about him, the man does know how to increase enrollment

dexterjenkins

May 24th, 2012
4:33 pm

Ha…Shorter has students who see child molestation comparable to homosexuality, adultery and premarital sex. I mean…just wow. A “sin is a sin”…not sure why I worked for “A”s in college if a “grade is a grade”.

AlreadySheared

May 24th, 2012
4:36 pm

” the policy does not impact students’ ability to get federal loans because the college serves as pass-through and the money belongs to the students not the college.”

What a difference one single year makes – this would be a major crisis and affront to our constitution and democracy if we were discussing HIGH SCHOOL students. In college, however, it’s ok for the money to follow the student.

gt forever

May 24th, 2012
4:36 pm

The primary purposes of a higher education are to instill in people the ability to think for themselves, to expose them to the various sources of avaiable information, and to logically use the information in conjunction with the abilty to think for themselves to make informed intellogent decisions for themselves. If the sources of information is limited, then it is not higher education.

Ashley

May 24th, 2012
4:38 pm

@Mitch ….God gave me the wisdom not to listen to people who try and control someone else’s lifestyle. To be quite honest I could care less whether the faculty stayed or left. Putting one sin above another is quite hypocritical, as far as I’m concerned sin is sin . Also Mitch I have never been married or had childen so I guess I’m not performing my job to God expectation…..I’ll just sit here and read where Jesus turn water into wine , since I’m not in the baby-making mood!

SBinF

May 24th, 2012
4:38 pm

Irony so subtle, that you could be serious. Well played, Mitch…well played.

catlady

May 24th, 2012
4:42 pm

Sad there are places/people like this posing as Christians.

drew (former teacher)

May 24th, 2012
4:43 pm

Hey it’s their school, so I guess they can decide which of their empoyees sins are acceptable and which are not. And they can be as teetotaling, dogmatic, homophobic, and “selective” as they want to be. Good luck with that.

And kudos to those employees who have the personal integrity to resign in the face of this invasive policy. Especially with teaching jobs on the chopping block everywhere. If I were in their shoes, with no strong job prospects, I’d probably just hold my nose, sign their little lifestyle statement, and go get drunk….and then go out and try to fertilize, pollinate, and impregnate a female. Because that’s my job! :-) Right, Mitch?

Rickster

May 24th, 2012
4:45 pm

CobbGOPer

May 24th, 2012
4:24 pm

Anyone that attends Shorter College (and Liberty University, Oral Roberts, etc.) is likely someone you want to stay away from. Because they will spend every minute in your presence judging the crap out of you.

Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.

see no evil

May 24th, 2012
4:47 pm

Shorter school can do anything they want to, and can establish any rule they deem fitting for thier staff and students. That being said, if they chose to play God and determine who is a sinner and who is not as the southernbaptist convention is prone to doing, do not be surprised if and when the staff leave and the students go to a college or university where they can be around true education and not blasphemy and self righteousness. Shorter will likely go under in a few years.

Pompano

May 24th, 2012
4:54 pm

@AlreadySheared – that’s a point I’ve been making for years and have yet to have anyone give me a coherent/logical response. Why is it that we restrict school choice for the first 12 years of a child’s education but it’s perfectly acceptable once the magical High School diploma is obtained?

People would riot if we restricted students to attend College at an assigned Institution only in their designated geographic area. Not sure why so many find this OK for the first 12 years of a child’s education!

CT in CP

May 24th, 2012
5:01 pm

Well said drew.

The First Amendment protects those whose beliefs differ from our own. (It brings them out in the open so we can make fun of them on internet blogs.)

Also, if they want to stay consistent in their intolerance, they should add people who are divorced. Divorce is a much bigger threat to marriage than gay marriage. (Honestly, how may husbands are going to abandon ship just because they can now marry another dude?)

Tony

May 24th, 2012
5:02 pm

I agree w/Catlady!

Martin Williams

May 24th, 2012
5:08 pm

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! this is really happening in America? You all call this freedom/democray? This is worst than communism. Every picture of the last super of Christ and his diciples shows only males and no female, Why? You bible experts give me an answer please, thanks. Well stated by ‘ see no evil’.

Anonmom

May 24th, 2012
5:12 pm

The Last Supper was a passover seder — they have wine at these things…..

the prof

May 24th, 2012
5:16 pm

Wow Mitch…..you should revisit the Biology books a little!

Progressive Humanist

May 24th, 2012
5:17 pm

Another likely reason for their departure is that just being a professor at Shorter is now a career killer. Certainly the administration can set the rules they wish, but Shorter is not considered a credible institution of higher learning. It’s really an institution of indoctrination. The students’ degrees will be considered on par with the University of Phoenix, except that UoP actually does some teaching, not preaching. Employers and grad schools will look at both Shorter and UoP graduates with skepticism. And just as being a professor at UoP can be a career killer when applying at a credible university, Shorter faculty are in the same boat, but worse off because they couldn’t be trusted to keep religion out of the classroom. I think they’re getting out while they can. And soon all Shorter will have is a bunch of “professors” with master’s degrees in “Religious Studies” and “Christian Ethics”, not the types of skills and knowledge that will get students to the next level in their careers.

Ralph

May 24th, 2012
5:30 pm

Now I see why they call it Shorter College. These people are short of normal intelligence. Yet another reason I am proud to be religion free!

DebbieDoRight

May 24th, 2012
5:34 pm

is there ANYWHERE in Georgia where education hasn’t gone insane?

too fnny!! :lol: :lol:

GIVE ME A BREAK

May 24th, 2012
5:39 pm

Finally, a place where christians can work with other christians. It’s you’re choice not to be a christian. Sinners hated Jesus and they still hate His followers today. There’s nothing holy about homosexuality and adultery.

BlahBlahBlah

May 24th, 2012
5:40 pm

Hey Mitch, go do some research on seahorses. The male gives birth. You fail.

GIVE ME A BREAK

May 24th, 2012
5:41 pm

” your “

Sparky

May 24th, 2012
5:42 pm

I love how Christians are always apologizing for other Christians and claiming things like this are not condoned or not what Christianity is about. This is exactly what organized religion is about. One way to dissociate yourself from this insanity is by… not being a Christian.

Progressive Humanist

May 24th, 2012
5:46 pm

Good point, Sparky.

Rockerbabe

May 24th, 2012
5:52 pm

Shame on Shorter for being so “short-sighted”. They will loose good faculty and support staff due to this intrusion into their employees private life. Talk about stupid!

I say, go to a public college that is not affiliated in anyway with a religious group. You will probably get a better education, access to better and diverse facualty and students and have better sports and other extracircular activities. There are churches in all of the towns and people with open minds and hearts. Take you money and talent somewhere else.

Atlanta Mom

May 24th, 2012
5:56 pm

Kudos to the faculty of Shorter College.

Rockerbabe

May 24th, 2012
5:56 pm

DebbieDoRight: Yes there is. Agnes Scott College, Spellman College, Berry College, Branu College, GSU, Emory University and GTU. Take your pick.

RGB

May 24th, 2012
6:22 pm

Sparky,

It’s certainly your right to “save yourself” by rejecting God and embracing eternal separation from Him.

On Judgment Day, your name will have been duly earned.

Hope you’ll reconsider.

Good ole Boys at the Gold Dome

May 24th, 2012
6:44 pm

If Shorter wants this from their staff,so be it !! However,they (Shorter) have to live with the long term effect on new students and retaining staff.Money controls all factors.Low attendence and policies will change.I have seen principles change overnight when money is involved

jddawg

May 24th, 2012
6:54 pm

Very bold, righteous, and brave move by President Don Dowless. He should be commended. Returning this university back to the foundation in which it was built is a very risky move, one in which I am certain was the toughest decision Dr. Dowless has ever had to make. Should the school fail, and it may very well do so because of this decision, let no man judge Dr. Dowless’s decision. I am quite certain he did not make it without the Lord’s blessings. I shall not judge others and agree that it is a difficult decision for all involved; however, I recall mockery of the words of Jesus Christ in the Bible as well. Sometimes the right decision is the hardest decision. It appears that sometimes doing the right things in life are not easy. It would have been much easier for Dr. Dowless to simply do what was easy and change nothing but I doubt that was his calling for this university. I am not affiliated but once attended years ago. Much respect is afforded to this decision.

G B C

May 24th, 2012
7:00 pm

What do you expect from a corrupt bunch such as those at the Georgia Baptist Convention who are now running this college? J Robert White, Gerald Harris, Wayne Robertson, Mike Everson, Danny Waters, and all those within the Baptist Mafia ~ with their Calvinist agenda ~ have pushed Shorter to the brink of extension. Remember, it was Everson and White who with held money ( almost 9 million dollars) years ago and forcing Shorter almost into Bankruptcy.

This is now no more than a Calvinist group pushing personal agendas ~as always~ on others! To Hell with them ALL!

chastity bono liberace rock elton hudson

May 24th, 2012
7:05 pm

Ya know, if you don’t like the policy, don’t go or work there!!!!
Reminds me of the glass house I live in

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
7:32 pm

Hee-hee, I have often wondered how people can be so certain of God’s word based upon a book that started out being recounted verbally by man, then written by man, then edited by man, then translated by man and finally, interpreted by man. Oh yeah, they fix that little problem through the “faith” juxtaposition.

Scary Scary

May 24th, 2012
7:33 pm

Well it looks like I can apply for and get a job at Shorter, and show up at a faculty mixer stoned on Valium, texting my ex-wife and with a pocket full of lesbian porn and be in compliance.
The real question is, will there be dancing?

Scary Scary

May 24th, 2012
7:37 pm

“Oh yeah, they fix that little problem through the “faith” juxtaposition.”

Faith is defined as when one is confronted with over-whelming physical proof of something, one will still choose to believe the opposite.

Larry Major

May 24th, 2012
7:59 pm

@BlahBlahBlah, Mitch was correct because he was speaking from a theological viewpoint. The male seahorse makes the voluntary choice to ignore the Bible and engage in the abominable act of carrying fertilized eggs. (At least their choice doesn’t require a taxpayer funded voucher).

Shorter University recognizes this as an unholy, unnatural act – which is why you will never find a seahorse employed at this institution.

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
8:00 pm

So you see my point.

Dark Ages

May 24th, 2012
8:20 pm

Eventually there will be few students and no faculty until Shorter will be no longer.

chris

May 24th, 2012
8:25 pm

How can we trust what you say when you don’t even know its not Shorter College but Shorter University!! Get your information straight before you publish something.

crankee-yankee

May 24th, 2012
8:48 pm

Oh, and a more accepted definition of faith is …belief that is not based on proof…that’s the one to which I am alluding.
This, or something very similar (wording differences) is what you will find in American Heritage, Merriam Webster, Oxford and I would expect many other published, educational tomes. I wasn’t able to find your definition. Would you please enlighten us on its source?

Not here to judge

May 24th, 2012
9:02 pm

It is easy to make a point. It is much harder to make a difference.

PM

May 24th, 2012
9:24 pm

I don’t know what to think about this. I went to Shorter once and was put off by the ugly campus, but that’s not the point: The point is Christianity. So, should a signed statement of “I won’t do this/that” be offered and expected? Don’t know. I do know that there’s barely anybody/institution especially in our midst that behaves and thinks in a Christian way. Hey, what about this: what if we all woke up tomorrow morning, everybody in the world, and behaved in a right, righteous way? How long would it take before starvation is gone; before murder is unheard of, what would happen? think about it…. Again, I don’t know what to think about Shorter. It does seem a little, umm, pious though. I went to Bob Jones University and there was a good bit of that there. PM

Appalled Roman

May 24th, 2012
10:14 pm

See SaveOurShorter.com for more history.

This is about much more than gay rights. Academic integrity, alcohol, intra-GBC score-settling, etc. Especially money, power and ego. Homosexuality is just a convenient smokescreen.

The archives of that blog have a lot of the background on the scheming that’s gone on behind the scenes over the last decade.

Ed Johnson

May 24th, 2012
10:25 pm

@Mitch: “In God’s wisdom he designated every living thing on the earth as male or female.”

So, Mitch, earthworm. Male or female or ???

Do you think maybe God created the earthworm so as to challenge us humans to be not so blind to the wonderful, well, God-made variety among all living things? (I say “variety;” I do not say “diversity.”)

Or, would you dare say God make a mistake with the earthworm by giving it both male and female organs so that some earthworms have only to go at it solo to procreate?

Jay Page

May 24th, 2012
11:15 pm

SEE SaveOurShorter.com for much more information.

I AM A TENURED FACULTY MEMBER AT SHORTER UNIVERSITY. JUST FOR THE RECORD, AS OF TODAY, 60 (SIXTY) FACULTY AND STAFF MEMBERS HAVE RESIGNED SINCE LAST OCTOBER (WHEN THE PERSONAL LIFESTYLE STATEMENT AND THREE OTHER EQUALLY OFFENSIVE DOCUMENTS WERE RELEASED). THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE 60 PEOPLE LEFT BECAUSE OF THESE DOCUMENTS AND BECAUSE OF THE DIRECTION THE INSTITUTION ARE NOW GOING.