NASHVILLE — 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, and 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 percent) cooperate either with the Southern Baptist Convention or a Baptist state convention that partners with the SBC.
The list includes two schools affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention — Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City and Union University in Jackson.
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-actions, programs, and policies,” according to a Campus Pride news release.
In response to the list, SBC President Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, 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, Kansas City, Mo., and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
Gaines noted that Southern Baptists follow God’s commands to love and honor all people. “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.