Religious University Employees Should Know What They're In For at Work

holy bibleShorter University, a small, extremely conservative private Christian Baptist school in Georgia, is under fire today for demanding its employees sign a "Personal Lifestyle Statement." If it sounds discriminatory already, that's because it really, really is. Basically, the statement would require employees to pledge that they reject homosexuality, adultery, and premarital sex. They would also be vowing to go to be active in local churches and to not take part in drug use or drinking alcohol in the presence of students (probably not a wise idea anyway). (Wow, they should just add dancing to this while they're at it, so the employees can rebel by grinding in a barn.) As for anyone who doesn't sign the statement? They're at risk of gettin' the ol' pink slip!

Yeah, the school's president himself, Don Dowless, says, "Anybody that adheres to a lifestyle outside of what the biblical mandate is would not be allowed to continue [at Shorter]." Gotta love tolerant people!

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But the fact of the matter is that people who have been hired to work at this university can't exactly be surprised by this. The school is known to be uber-conservative, and it's private, so that pretty much means they can hire and fire whomever they please, based on whatever criteria they choose, right? As long as their criteria doesn't break a discrimination law -- which it very well could -- they can probably get away with it. If anything, a case would probably go to trial for a long time anyway.

Sure, it sounds like a "witch hunt," as some worried employees have described it. One anonymous employee told an LGBT-oriented paper in Atlanta:

We now will live in fear that someone who doesn't like us personally or someone who has had a bad day will report that we've been drinking or that we are suspected of being gay.

It really stinks to have been hired under the assumption that you could be who you are -- gay, horny, a cheater, a drinker, an atheist -- without it being an issue. But oops, oh well, rules have changed! Now it is apparently a problem at Shorter, and if I were someone who was worried about being canned because of this statement, I'd high-tail it out of there, jobless status be damned! Who would want to feel like they had to hide or walk on eggshells just to fit in at some holier-than-thou place of employment? Screw that! Should these people be driven from their jobs for who they are? NO way! But it doesn't seem like, at least in this case, there's much they can do to avoid it.

What do you think about what this university is requiring of its employees?

 

Image via Naval History & Heritage Command/Flickr

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