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Author Topic: Refusing to Sign  (Read 1403 times)
BayGBM
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« on: May 15, 2012, 08:16:47 AM »

Refusing to Sign
By Libby A. Nelson

During his 14 years at Shorter University, Michael Wilson, a librarian, built a library collection for the college’s satellite campus in Atlanta. He shaped his post as the first full-time librarian for adult and professional students. Then he won tenure, and planned to stay at the Baptist college in Rome, Ga., until retirement.

Instead, last week, he effectively handed in his resignation.

In October, the college announced it would require all employees to sign a “lifestyle statement” rejecting homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, drug use and drinking in public near the Rome, Ga., college’s campus. It also requires faculty to be active members of a local church. The statement, one of several steps the university has taken to intensify its Christian identity after the Georgia Baptist Convention began asserting more control over the campus six years ago, provoked an uproar among faculty, alumni and observers.

Before the new contracts were circulated, more than 50 members of the faculty and staff who felt they could not abide by its rules, or did not feel they should have to, resigned. Wilson stayed. But when he was offered his contract for the academic year, he signed and returned it, but with one line crossed out: “I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”

So far, the college has not responded. In refusing to sign the lifestyle statement in its entirety, writing a letter to the college’s president explaining his decision,  and speaking out about his decision on the front page of the local newspaper, Wilson, 50, has become a somewhat reluctant and bewildered spokesman for the faculty and staff members who disagree with the university’s new direction.

Wilson came to Shorter as a librarian in 1998, after working in public library systems and part-time in academic settings. It was his first full-time professional job, he said, and he was the college’s first full-time librarian for its growing population of adult and professional students on a satellite campus in Atlanta.

He was never asked about his sexuality in his job interview, or in any official capacity, he said. But he didn’t conceal it, either, and he had no qualms about working for a Baptist university; nobody seemed to care. By the time he was awarded tenure six years ago, many of his colleagues probably knew he was gay, he said.

“It was really a very nice place to work,” he said. “I could come in, I could do my job, and that’s what they valued.”

But around the same time Shorter offered tenure to Wilson, it also lost a court battle with the Georgia Baptist Convention over who would control its direction. The state convention began asserting more control over the college in 2001, selecting trustees on its own rather than from a list the college traditionally provided, and in response Shorter’s board voted to cut ties with the convention. The Baptist group sued, arguing that Shorter did not have the authority to unilaterally become independent, and successfully stopped the college from breaking off. The legal fight went all the way to the state supreme court, which ruled in the Baptist convention’s favor in 2005.

Since then, the Baptist convention has selected the college’s trustees. The college became more strict almost immediately: in 2008, Shorter joined the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, a group of evangelical colleges who hire mostly only evangelical Protestants as full-time faculty members. The climate at Shorter began to change around that time, Wilson said, adding that he would like the college to hire based on qualifications and not on religious beliefs.

The first president chosen by the new board took office last year, and the lifestyle statements were introduced in October. Wilson said he knew right away he could not sign: “It’s a matter of conscience,” he said.

Since the statements were first proposed, controversy has raged. An anonymous survey in April found only 12 percent of faculty and staff plan to stay. Save Our Shorter, a group opposing the changes, has a list on its website of more than 50 faculty members who are leaving as a result of the new policies. Several departments, including science and the fine arts, have been “eviscerated,” Wilson said.

Few, if any, have spoken out as publicly on their decisions to leave, as Wilson did. Most simply resigned, he said.

In a statement, Donald Dowless, Shorter’s president, said he could not comment on Wilson or any other individual faculty members’ employment situations. “I can tell you that I and the board of Shorter University understand that some members of our faculty and staff disagree with the university’s personal lifestyle statement and therefore have chosen to resign,” he said. “While we hate to lose members of our community, we wish them well.”

For his part, Wilson is aware that his situation is less than ideal: a middle-aged academic facing a tough job market. He’s applied for several jobs at libraries at colleges and elsewhere. Leaving Shorter after 14 years is “wrenching,” he said.

“I’m a pretty quiet person,” he said. “But I perceive this as a great injustice.”
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 08:21:05 AM »

they want these self proclaimed "christians" to live it or get out.

I can dig that.
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 08:57:11 AM »

Then all employees should also sign a contract saying they won't sin in EVERY OTHER WAY.
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 09:51:58 AM »

How will they try to control them next?    Undecided   

Not sure how they think legalism will win others to Christ.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 10:16:51 AM »

Where is the "injustice"?  Abide by the rules or find another job. 
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2012, 11:34:23 AM »

Where is the "injustice"?  Abide by the rules or find another job. 

Seems one problem is that the people were already working there...it's not like it was a condition of them getting hired which would be different imo....but I'm not familiar w/jobs that regularly require new contracts for existing employees. 


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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2012, 12:34:27 PM »

Where is the "injustice"?  Abide by the rules or find another job. 

Would that be your sentiment if your employer said "Give us your Facebook password or find another job"?  There are limits to what any employer should be allowed to ask of employees.

Rules of this sort might be OK if they were rigorously and consistently applied, but everyone knows that it won’t be.  When they want to, they will wink or close their eyes when someone they like starts having an affair, premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.  But when someone they don’t like has even a minor infraction they will whip out the “contract” and insist that it must be followed to the letter and the violator must be fired!

Meanwhile the person(s) who drafted the contract are probably violating it in every way possible (Ted Haggard, George Rekers, Jim Baker, etc).  This reeks of bullshit.  I cannot believe that anyone would try this crap, or that anyone would subscribe to it, in 2012.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2012, 01:30:04 PM »

Would that be your sentiment if your employer said "Give us your Facebook password or find another job"?  There are limits to what any employer should be allowed to ask of employees.

Rules of this sort might be OK if they were rigorously and consistently applied, but everyone knows that it won’t be.  When they want to, they will wink or close their eyes when someone they like starts having an affair, premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.  But when someone they don’t like has even a minor infraction they will whip out the “contract” and insist that it must be followed to the letter and the violator must be fired!

Meanwhile the person(s) who drafted the contract are probably violating it in every way possible (Ted Haggard, George Rekers, Jim Baker, etc).  This reeks of bullshit.  I cannot believe that anyone would try this crap, or that anyone would subscribe to it, in 2012.  Roll Eyes


only morons and bigots.
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 01:37:02 PM »

grandfather em in. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2012, 04:26:54 PM »

Sorry that the religious continue to work so hard denying people like you rights, Bay. The good news is that in the long-term, public opinion is trending toward more support for gays (e.g., support for gay marriage).

It's a generational issue as well, with a majority of young people supporting such rights. Thus, when this last wave of old hateful fucks dies off, things should start to get better.

In the US "religious" people instituted slavery (other religious people opposed it), they tried to subjugate women, jews, immigrants, and gays... all the while wrapping themselves in religious rhetoric.  If they weren't so transparent it would be amusing.  Even Bin Laden and the Taliban assert that they are doing God's work.  Roll Eyes

If you want to act out your beliefs or argue for your position fine, but why pretend that it has anything to do with religion?  You're not fooling anyone.  Either you believe in equality or you don't.  Many people do not.  Fair enough.
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 05:20:34 PM »

Seems one problem is that the people were already working there...it's not like it was a condition of them getting hired which would be different imo....but I'm not familiar w/jobs that regularly require new contracts for existing employees. 




Employers change the conditions of employment all the time.   For example, they could adopt a new anti- smoking policy and employees would have to either abide by the new rule or leave.  Not uncommon at all.
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 05:27:39 PM »

Would that be your sentiment if your employer said "Give us your Facebook password or find another job"?  There are limits to what any employer should be allowed to ask of employees.

Rules of this sort might be OK if they were rigorously and consistently applied, but everyone knows that it won’t be.  When they want to, they will wink or close their eyes when someone they like starts having an affair, premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.  But when someone they don’t like has even a minor infraction they will whip out the “contract” and insist that it must be followed to the letter and the violator must be fired!

Meanwhile the person(s) who drafted the contract are probably violating it in every way possible (Ted Haggard, George Rekers, Jim Baker, etc).  This reeks of bullshit.  I cannot believe that anyone would try this crap, or that anyone would subscribe to it, in 2012.  Roll Eyes


Depends.  If they want to use facebook on my computer during work hours, then yes it's ok to ask for it.  I wouldn't (and don't), but that's my prerogative as an employer. 

This situation is different.  It's a religious institution with a code of conduct.  Most religious institutions have them and they're expressly exempted from anti-discrimination laws.  This kind of thing isn't new.

Regarding whether rules are consistently enforced, I agree with you:  they often are not. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 07:54:17 PM »

Depends.  If they want to use facebook on my computer during work hours, then yes it's ok to ask for it.  I wouldn't (and don't), but that's my prerogative as an employer. 

This situation is different.  It's a religious institution with a code of conduct.  Most religious institutions have them and they're expressly exempted from anti-discrimination laws.  This kind of thing isn't new.

Regarding whether rules are consistently enforced, I agree with you:  they often are not. 

These kinds of "rules" are never enforced consistently.  "Selective enforcement" is a de facto form of discrimination and it is illegal.  Ask any first year law student.  This "school" should lose access to all federal funds. 
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 07:59:12 PM »

I think that anti-homosexual sentiment in this country is directly the result of religion. The Bible really does say certain things about homosexuality. Thus, I think it's impossible to separate these people's motivation from the religion they are claiming.
yea youre right I mean common sense, natural selection, nature...I dont see any reason in any of that to view homosexuality as pointless and abnormal...
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tonymctones
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2012, 08:00:03 PM »

These kinds of "rules" are never enforced consistently.  "Selective enforcement" is a de facto form of discrimination and it is illegal.  Ask any first year law student.  This "school" should lose access to all federal funds. 
well then your issue isnt with the rule its with the enforcement of it?

do you also feel the same way about other forms of conduct rules at work?
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2012, 08:04:09 PM »

I don't think employment should be dependent on the employees conscious coiinciding with that of the employer's
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2012, 08:05:40 PM »

I don't think employment should be dependent on the employees conscious coiinciding with that of the employer's
when your business is modeled around the employers consciousness then how can it not?

ppl seem to feel they are entitled to a job, you are not entitled to anything. If you dont like it go work for another company that better suits your views.
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2012, 08:07:50 PM »

These kinds of "rules" are never enforced consistently.  "Selective enforcement" is a de facto form of discrimination and it is illegal.  Ask any first year law student.  This "school" should lose access to all federal funds. 

Really?  A religious institution that is exempt from anti-discrimination laws, but inconsistently enforces its own rules, is violating anti-discrimination laws? 
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2012, 08:35:00 PM »

I think you're being sarcastic here and will respond as such. From a biological standpoint homosexuality is irrelevant since it is such a small segment of the population engaged in it. Thus, there's no reason to care about it from the natural selection and nature standpoints.

From a personal standpoint, homosexual behavior will almost certainly not affect you. Thus, the only real reason people have to discriminate is that their religion describes homosexuality as a sin.
I see you got it...if this is such an insignificant small population then why should we bend over backwards trying to appease them?

oh yea, there is also the idea that the behavior itself is abnormal and irrelevant and ppl are trying to pass it off as normal and such a pressing social issue.

very impressive magic trick for a group advocating an irrelevant and abnormal behavior.
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tonymctones
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2012, 08:54:33 PM »

Well, we probably agree on a personal level that plunging our cocks into other dudes asses just isn't "normal." I think it's pretty nasty myself. But I don't know if people advocating gay rights are arguing that we all have to accept them as normal; rather, I think they are arguing for equal rights (rights granted to everybody else).

The plunging may not be normal but doesn't thereby constitute a reason to deny rights. The only reason to deny rights comes into the situation when religions make claims about gay people, e.g., that homosexuality is a sin.

P.S. Granting people basic rights doesn't seem like "appeasing" them to me; instead it seems like something necessitated by the founding documents of the country which establish that all people have certain rights
I dont understand how you still cling to the idea that the only reason to be against homosexuality is because of religion...

It certainly is appeasing them, it is also normalizing an abnormal behavior...

again a very impressive magic trick for a "irrelevant" and abnormal behavior, wouldnt you say?
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2012, 09:10:15 PM »

If you have a non-religious reason to deny homosexuals rights, feel free to state it.
what rights are we denying them first off?

second, are we to appease every irrelevant and abnormal behavior?
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2012, 04:05:20 AM »

what rights are we denying them first off?

second, are we to appease every irrelevant and abnormal behavior?

I would say since over 300 species exhibit homosexual behaviour it wouldn't truly be abnormal, plus you seem to want to discard logic and rationality when examining abnormal things. They are not all equal nor are things that are abnormal inherently bad.

what arguments do you have to deny them anything? what harm does it produce? perhaps we should be asexual like god.
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2012, 04:15:39 AM »

what rights are we denying them first off?

second, are we to appease every irrelevant and abnormal behavior?
Is that a natural computer you're typing on?

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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2012, 07:46:58 AM »

Employers change the conditions of employment all the time.   For example, they could adopt a new anti- smoking policy and employees would have to either abide by the new rule or leave.  Not uncommon at all.

Ok fair enough.  And if this is a Christian University I can understand the desire to have employees that adhere to Biblical principles. 

But I don't remember seeing any scripture against "drinking in public."  Also "requiring faculty to be members of a local church" makes you wonder what they are going to institute next as a requirement.

I was a member of a ministry that instituted non-scriptural "rules" regarding the education of the clergy.  The vast majority of us "defected."
 
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 08:20:46 AM »

Ok fair enough.  And if this is a Christian University I can understand the desire to have employees that adhere to Biblical principles. 

But I don't remember seeing any scripture against "drinking in public."  Also "requiring faculty to be members of a local church" makes you wonder what they are going to institute next as a requirement.

I was a member of a ministry that instituted non-scriptural "rules" regarding the education of the clergy.  The vast majority of us "defected."
 

why do you think religions are created today? why are all the religions at least the major ones the only ones not called cults? don't you find it odd that your stories contain magic and were written by ignorant humans? does scientology not strike you as outlandish?
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