Baptist university supports LGBT student group, claims biblical sexuality standards remain
WACO, Texas, May 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A high-profile Baptist university is walking a tightrope, simultaneously signaling it is now open to recognizing an LGBT student group and asserting that its official stance on sexual ethics remains unchanged.
Baylor University, with an undergraduate enrollment of 14,000, will explore “the possibility of establishing a new, chartered student group” for LGBTQ students by determining “the appropriate pathways to provide additional care, connections, and community.”
The May 14 resolution issued by the Baylor University Board of Regents comes following campus unrest concerning the university’s strict adherence to traditional biblical teaching and standards of behavior regarding sexuality.
In October, the Baylor Student Senate passed a resolution by a wide margin urging the university to reinterpret its statement on human sexuality for student organizations, according to a Baptist Press report.
Then, earlier this year, the Baylor Faculty Senate approved a resolution in a 26-9 vote supporting a charter for an unofficial LGBTQ student group, Gamma Alpha Upsilon, whose Greek letter acronym spells out “GAY.”
In 2019, after Baylor refused to recognize Gamma Alpha Upsilon, more than 3,000 alumni, students, staff, and former faculty signed a petition addressed to university officials supporting the group’s fight for recognition.
Baylor is also feeling pressure from a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Education in which it is named, challenging the religious exemption for universities that accept federal funding through Title IX and the constitutionality of what the plaintiffs consider to be discriminatory policies against LGBTQ students.
“As a Board of Regents, we recognize that Baylor’s LGBTQ students continue to seek care, connections, and community on our campus and a sense of belonging within the Baylor Family. As an important and faithful expression of our Christian mission, we desire to establish trust with our LGBTQ students so that, among other things, they might seek out the resources provided by Baylor,” wrote the school’s regents.
The school’s Statement on Human Sexuality, which various campus student and faculty groups want to change, begins, “The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God.”
Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.
The resolution tasks Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone and the university administration with reconciling the demands of the diverse groups nudging the school toward acceptance of homosexuality with its commitment to remain faithful to biblical standards.
Full text: Baylor Board of Regents May 14, 2021 Resolution
The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. Baylor is committed to providing a loving and caring community for students because it is part and parcel of the University’s mission.
The Baylor University Board of Regents reaffirms the following core commitments of our Christian mission for our campus community:
The dignity and worth of all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, as we strive to fulfill our Christian commitment of a caring community.
The biblical understanding that sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage between a man and a woman are not in keeping with the teaching of Scripture, as summarized in the University’s Statement on Human Sexuality.
Our commitment to providing a welcoming, supportive educational environment based on civility and respect for all.
As a Board of Regents, we recognize that Baylor’s LGBTQ students continue to seek care, connections, and community on our campus and a sense of belonging within the Baylor Family. As an important and faithful expression of our Christian mission, we desire to establish trust with our LGBTQ students so that, among other things, they might seek out the resources provided by Baylor.
THEREFORE, the Baylor University Board of Regents acknowledges the University’s responsibility to serve the needs of all students entrusted to us across all areas of their development – academics, personal, and spiritual.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Baylor University Board of Regents approaches this challenging situation with a spirit of grace and truth, as described in the first chapter of John. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (v17). The University remains committed to extending Christ-like love and grace in caring for all our students and meeting them where they are, just as Jesus did, and adhering to traditional biblical teaching of Scripture regarding human sexuality.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Baylor University Board of Regents charges President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., and the University Administration to determine the appropriate pathways to provide additional care, connections, and community for Baylor’s LGBTQ students, including the possibility of establishing a new, chartered student group that is consistent with Baylor’s core commitments summarized above and the University’s policies and statements.
AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be shared with all constituencies of Baylor University in a spirit of openness and transparency and with an expression of the Board’s commitment to fulfilling the University’s mission of providing a caring community for all members of the Baylor Family.
The Baylor University Board of Regents, this fourteenth day of May two thousand twenty-one.