Friday, May 25, 2012
Thinking Not Allowed
One of the dozens of faculty leaving Shorter University over the Baptist-affiliated school's controversial new "lifestyle statement," that includes rejecting homosexuality, blamed his departure in part on demands that he teach Creationism or Intelligent Design in science classes.Apparently, it means being stupid.
Richard Pirkle, assistant professor of biology at the private Christian school in Rome, Ga., for six years, said in a May 22 resignation letter posted on a Save Our Shorter website that as a Pentecostal Christian he objected to being asked to sign someone else's statement of faith and was offended by public suggestions that anyone reluctant to do so must not be a Christian.
Beyond that, Pirkle, who teaches human anatomy and physiology and microbiology, cited what he termed undue influence by the administration and board of trustees on academic freedom.
Specifically Pirkle objected to being forced to teach what he considers philosophical and religious beliefs as science. A related demand that he teach evolution as "just a theory," he said, "ignores the scientific definition of 'theory' as a widely accepted and highly supported way of looking at multiple fields and levels of scientific evidence." ...
As of May 20, the Save Our Shorter website reported the total of faculty and staff leaving stood at 60. The school usually has about 100 full-time faculty members, according to media reports. ...
"Our university was at a crossroads to either take steps to regain an authentic Christian identity in policy and practice or we would become a Christian University in name only," [Shorter President Don Dowless] said. ...
Shorter's website explains the new policy as part of "defining what it means to be a Christ-centered institution."
In light of the rather disturbing requirement that people sign the school's statement of faith, rather than submit their own, it seems that the administration at Shorter is more concerned that the institution itself is "Christ-centered", rather than the personal lives of human beings who work there.