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Baptist bucks force disbanding of gay group at Mercer University

The Mercer Triangle Symposium is an organization recognized by the Student Government Association, and though the University does not sponsor this organization, we do respect the right of students to assemble and discuss wide-ranging social and religious issues.

As president of the University, I am very much aware of the views and deeply-held feelings of all of our Baptist allies, and we have sought to balance a genuine sensitivity to the viewpoints of the many Baptists who support the University while preserving a community of respect for all students and faculty.

— Mercer University President Kirby Godsey

The Mercer Triangle Symposium‘s purpose is to “discuss political, theological, social and academic issues relating to sexuality.” It wasn’t even sponsored by Mercer University, but the Georgia Taliban decided that the mere existence of a gay support group was too much to bear.

The MTS held its final meeting on Monday, after being disbanded due to the pressure from the Georgia Baptist Convention and a school administration scared of losing its funding from the GBC. (AJC):

A support group for gay students at the Macon campus of Mercer University disbanded Monday after the head of the Georgia Baptist Convention complained to school officials that the group’s existence betrayed the university’s Christian heritage.

Mercer’s student Senate first recognized the group in 2002. Monday was the first day of the annual Georgia Baptist Convention in Columbus.

Last month, the GBC’s executive director, J. Robert White, publicly complained about the gay group after learning about it in a campus newspaper. White said he received calls from parents around Georgia who were concerned about the education their children were receiving.

Mercer, which also has a campus in Atlanta, is a Baptist-affiliated college of 7,000 students that receives about $2.4 million a year from the Georgia Baptist Convention.

In the Christian Index, a publication touting that it’s “helping Georgia Baptists share the Good News,” you get a pious helping of the AmTaliban’s version of Christianity. Its article is breathless on the topic because it is “raising eyebrows among Georgia Baptists who have begun questioning the integrity of the historically Baptist university.” Here’s GBC Executive Director J. Robert White:

“This kind of event is diametrically opposed to who we are as a Convention. This creates a conflict for Georgia Baptists who send their students to Mercer as a Georgia Baptist university believing that they will be nurtured in a Christian environment, then learn that their students are invited to attend meetings of this nature on campus.

…”The thing that concerns me most deeply is the disregard for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the students by those who promoted this event and other similar activities that apparently take place with regularity on the campus. If there was no spiritual reason whatsoever to discourage homosexuality, certainly the blight of AIDS should be adequate to surmise, ‘This is not a good thing to promote at our university.’

“Add to the physical concerns, the emotional crisis this creates for our families, to say nothing of the spiritual result of choosing to live a life of unrepentant sin, and the results can be devastating.”

White further stated, “If Mercer says, ‘There’s nothing we can do about this kind of event taking place at the university,’ or ‘Students must be free to express themselves without interference from the university,’ we still have a serious compatibility problem.” [What? Freedom of speech? It’s an un-Christian concept to talk about difficult issues? Where is that in the bible?]

White concluded, “I understand that a part of the university experience, whether Baptist or otherwise, is being exposed to a broad variety of thought. [Hmmm. This is an unamusing way of showing it…]
At the same time, I believe that Georgia Baptist parents should be able to have the confidence that their young people who attend a Georgia Baptist institution will not receive errant signals but will be taught that learning to live a life that is like Christ – full of integrity, character and truth – is the supreme result of higher Christian education.”

Hat tip, PageOneQ.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding