Pro-gay 'shame list' heavy on Baptist colleges

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Nearly a third of the 102 institutions of higher education on a pro-homosexual activist group's list of "the absolute worst colleges for [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] youth" have Southern Baptist ties.

All schools on the list, which was published Aug. 29 by the college-focused organization Campus Pride, have a religious affiliation, with the vast majority affirming historic, orthodox Christianity. Thirty-one institutions listed (30.4%) cooperate either with the Southern Baptist Convention or a Baptist state convention that partners with the SBC.

To be included on the so-called "Shame List," an institution had to either apply for an exemption to Title IX of the 1972 federal Education Amendments in order to enact policies based on the traditional definition of marriage or demonstrate a "past history and track record of anti-[LGBT] actions, programs and policies," according to a Campus Pride news release.

In response to the list, SBC President Steve Gaines told Baptist Press, "Bible believing institutions of higher learning should have the right to peacefully and lovingly adhere to the tenets of our faith without being castigated by those of opposing views.

"We deserve the same tolerance that the LGBT community deserves. We should not be victims of hate speech by being caricatured with pejorative, false accusations such as being guilty of 'shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry' simply because we believe and seek to obey Scripture," Gaines said in written comments, citing a phrase from the Campus Pride website.

The list was compiled from the U.S. Department of Education's online publication of letters from schools requesting Title IX exemptions.

Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer said the list "uncovers the religion-based bigotry that is harmful and perpetuated against LGBT youth on these campuses."

Two SBC seminaries are included on the list, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Midwestern President Jason Allen told BP "Campus Pride's inclusion of Midwestern Seminary on its 'Shame List' is just another reminder of how aggressively the secular culture is pressing in on those who dare not bow down to the sexual gods of this age."

"Regardless of what shaming -- online or otherwise -- may come," Allen said in written comments, "our convictions remain unchanged and our calling undeterred: we will winsomely, yet boldly, speak the full complement of Christian truth on this issue and every other issue to which the Bible speaks. And we will humbly point all, including Campus Pride, to Jesus as the only one who saves.

"As we train our students, we seek to equip them to minister in a broken world, marred by human sinfulness and its consequences, including those harmed by the false promises of the sexual revolution. The good news is that Jesus Christ came so that whoever believes in Him -- gay or straight -- might be saved, and have their sins forgiven and their life transformed. That is the message Midwestern Seminary preaches and the message to which our students are giving their lives to declare," Allen said.

Southeastern President Daniel Akin told BP via email, "Southeastern is a school known for its biblical and theological convictions. This means we call sin what God calls sin. It also means we have a code of conduct for faculty and staff and students alike. And, it also means we love indiscriminately all persons and extend to them the same Gospel of Jesus Christ that has changed and is continuing to change us."

The large number of Southern Baptist inclusions on the list is "not surprising," said SBC Executive Committee spokesman Roger S. Oldham, since the Baptist Faith and Message "includes this statement about marriage: 'Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.'"

Gaines, pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., noted, "Southern Baptists follow the commands of Jesus to love all people (cf. Mark 12:31) and to honor all people (cf. 1 Peter 2:17). That, of course includes people who identify as part of the LGBT community. Southern Baptists also are commanded to follow the teachings of sacred Scripture. Both the Old and New Testaments classify sexual activities such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality and lesbianism as sinful and inappropriate for all people.

"Bible believing Christians should oppose these sinful activities. We must do so with grace and kindness, loving any person engaged in such activity but resolutely standing on the teachings of Scripture," Gaines said.

The complete Shame List is available at https://www.campuspride.org/ShameList/.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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