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Austin Cline

Baptist College Cancels Vote on Gay Policy

By December 13, 2003

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I've reported here before on William Jewell College of Missouri - first when they decided to refuse to allow the Missouri Baptist Convention dictate academic polices and then later when the MBC retaliated by withdrawing all funding from Jewell. Now, Jewell administrators have decided to stop a campus-wide referendum on whether sexual orientation should be added to a list of protected characteristics in the students' bill of rights.

The Advocate reports:

"I am in no way in favor of the mistreatment or abuse of homosexuals," Tim Perkins said in a statement made to student senators. "However, I am also called to in no way tolerate or promote sin in my own life or the lives of others." ... n a statement that Perkins made to senators Wednesday, he said the debate was not about whether homosexuality was a sin, but about discrimination. If discrimination means not allowing someone living in sin to hold office in a campus organization, Perkins said, then he believes "God has clearly called us to discriminate in such a manner."

It is interesting to note that there is widespread student support for prohibiting discrimination against gays - I don't know if it is overwhelming support, but it does appear to be strong support based upon the reports I have seen. This has serious implications for Jewell College, I think. If Perkins is right, then why do so many students disagree with him - doesn't that mean, from his perspective, that someone has failed those students in their religious and moral education? And if someone has failed them, might that "someone" not include Jewell College - suggesting that the Missouri Baptist Convention was right after all?

Then again, perhaps the failure occurred much earlier - in which case, the Missouri Baptist Convention should be worrying more about local churches and Sunday Schools, not William Jewell College. Or, maybe there was no failure - because the students are right in their desire to end discrimination against gays.

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