The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Anatomy of a Struggle for Freedom

The following excerpts provide a chilling and utterly shameful illustration of how far to the poli/social Right has moved the nation. The information is another example of how bigotry (religious bigotry, I will add), far-right conservatism and outright shameful religious fervor ruins organizations. The example of a small Baptist university, Shorter University,  in Georgia differs from the Susan B. Komen management disaster, yet the Shorter management's religious dogma and authoritarianism mirrors Komen's public disgrace.

The Shorter University authoritarianism illustrates another common technique of modern day conservatism: The Pledge.  Is there anything in life the Right will not  commit to a pledge?  

The Shorter attempt to force its staff to sign what they call a "Lifestyles Statement (PLEDGE) again illustrates how people who live in the realm of conservatism and bigoted dogma show real evidence what I call "Flockism".  If you are not part of their dogma, you do not belong. When taken to the extreme pledges like the Shorter Pledge damage organizations, ruin relationships and have proven terminally dangerous in the 20th Century.

Many have shown contempt for analogies that reach back to the Third Reich. I also feel overuse of Nazism in today's political discord is undesirable. However, when I see dogma and use of the word "GOD' as part of dogma, I really do not see the point in avoiding references to a very dark time in world history.

Hitler Oath

2 August 1934

The Wehrmacht Oath of Loyalty to Adolf Hitler,

"I swear by God this sacred oath that to the Leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the armed forces, I shall render unconditional obedience and that as a brave soldier I shall at all times be prepared to give my life for this oath."

[edit]Civil servant oath

I swear: I will be faithful and obedient to the leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, to observe the law, and to conscientiously fulfill my official duties, so help me God!

Political correctness is one thing, clear cases that warrant comparison are still another.  Why people strive for blind obedience?  Subservience at the level of a pledge is as foreign to me as rattlesnake worship in church.  Pledges are as endemic to poisoning organizations, as the reality of infection from the touch and squeeze of Poison Ivy or Poison Oak.

Let's follow a path to organization destruction at Shorter University.  As of May 15, 2012, issues related to the "Lifestyle Statement" are unsettled.  Some staff have apparently resigned, but I do not find confirmation that 88 percent of Shorter's staff have resigned.

Click link and Click document for much larger view)

Lifestyles Statement Shorter University

A. Christian Commitment and Membership in a Local Church
Shorter University will hire persons who are committed  Bible believing 
Christians, who are dedicated to integrating biblical faith in their classes and 
who are  in agreement with the University Statement of Faith.  Moreover, 
employees are expected to be active members of a local church.

B. Principles of Personal Conduct  

I agree to  adhere to and support the following principles  (on or off the 

1. I will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered 
institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

2. I will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal 

3. I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, 
including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.

4. I will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and I will 
abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic 
beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general 
public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, 
stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are
present or are likely to be present.  

I will not attend any University 
sponsored event in which I have consumed alcohol within the last six 
hours.  Neither will I promote or encourage the use of alcohol.   
I have read and agree with the Personal Lifestyle Statement and will adhere to it in its entirety while employed at Shorter University.  

I understand that failure to adhere to this statement may result in disciplinary action against me, up to and including immediate termination.



Inside Higher ED
December 2011 



December 1, 2011 
When Shorter University introduced four new faith statements in October, it took just five words — “premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality" — to start a controversy. 
Those words are part of the university's new "personal lifestyle statement," which all employees must sign starting next year. The statement requires that faculty and staff be active members of a local church. It forbids drug use, drinking in public (including at "restaurants, concert venues, stadiums and sports facilities"), and any sex outside of heterosexual marriage. Since the Board of Trustees voted to approve the statement, a small but continuous uproar has broken out around the campus of 1,700 students in Rome, Ga., including protests, public criticism and threats from alumni to withdraw donations. 
At Shorter, the faith statements are the first effort by trustees in a push to make the college more “intentionally Christian,” said Donald Dowless, who took office this year as the university’s president.

Lifestyle guidelines -- whether for faculty and staff, as at Shorter, or for everyone on campus -- are not uncommon at Christian colleges, particularly those that are conservative or evangelical. Shorter administrators say that the statements only put in writing hiring practices that were already in place. Since 2008, the college has hired only Christians, a condition of its membership in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.
 But the lifestyle statement, which applies to existing faculty as well as new hires, has been widely criticized by alumni and members of the public, who say they fear the institution is becoming close-minded.

Inside Higher ED

April 2012 

Survey Suggests Faculty Discontent at Shorter

April 2, 2012 

A survey of faculty members at Shorter University found that most of them disagree with new requirements that they pledge to live by certain Christian principles (defined to bar, among other things, any sex outside of heterosexual marriage), and many hope to leave as a result, The Rome News-Tribune reported. The survey found that only 10 percent of faculty members favor signing new pledges to abide by the requirements, that only 12 percent plan to stay at the university, and only 8 percent have confidence in the institution's direction. University officials questioned the accuracy of the survey because it was anonymous, but faculty organizers of the survey said that it needed to be anonymous to encourage honest answers.

Inside Higher ED

May 2012

Refusing to Sign

May 14, 2012


During his 14 years at Shorter University, Michael Wilson, a librarian, built a library collection for the college’s satellite campus in Atlanta. He shaped his post as the first full-time librarian for adult and professional students. Then he won tenure, and planned to stay at the Baptist college in Rome, Ga., until retirement.
Instead, last week, he effectively handed in his resignation.
So far, the college has not responded.In October, the college announced it would require all employees to sign a “lifestyle statement” rejecting homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, drug use and drinking in public near the Rome, Ga., college’s campus. It also requires faculty to be active members of a local church. The statement, one of several steps the university has taken to intensify its Christian identity after the Georgia Baptist Convention began asserting more control over the campus six years ago, provoked an uproar among faculty, alumni and observers.

Before the new contracts were circulated, more than 50 members of the faculty and staff who felt they could not abide by its rules, or did not feel they should have to, resigned. Wilson stayed. But when he was offered his contract for the academic year, he signed and returned it, but with one line crossed out: “I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”

So far, the college has not responded.

Aol Jobs
May  2012 

Baptist University's Anti-Gay Pledge CausesFaculty To Quit In Droves

The "Personal Lifestyle Statement" requires employees to 
reject homosexuality, premarital sex, adultery
, drug use and public drinking near campus. It also mandates
 that staff be active in a local church.

In an anonymous survey in April, only 12 percent of faculty 
and staff said that they planned to stay at Shorter 
University, a 139-year-old Baptist school, reports Inside
 Higher Ed. More than 50 resigned before the new 
contracts were even distributed, and certain departments, 
such as science and fine arts, have been
 "eviscerated," according to Michael Wilson, a tenured 
librarian for the university who's worked there for 14 years.
"Through our policies, we seek to honor Jesus Christ," the
 university said in a statement. "We understand that 
there are those who do not agree with our beliefs. We are 
not trying to undermine their right to those beliefs, but 
want to be transparent about our own."
"Where is today's American Taliban? At Shorter University,
" tenured Shorter professor Sherri Weiler wrote in the
 Rome News-Tribune. "Religious fundamentalism in any form
 (Muslim or Christian) is sheer lunacy in today's divided,
 fractured, and tormented world. True peace is only to be 
found in opening the doors, not closing the gates."
Wilson had planned to stay at Shorter until retirement, but 
essentially resigned last week. He signed the "lifestyle 
statement," but crossed out the line: "I reject as acceptable all 
sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including,
 but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality."
Leaving Shorter is "wrenching," said Wilson, who claims that 
many of his co-workers knew he was gay. "I'm a pretty quiet 
person. But I perceive this as a great injustice." He is part of Save 
Our Shorter, which is a campaign against the changes.

The zealot's pledge.  

How tragic is the world in which a signed piece of paper rooted in dogma has so much
 influence on the lives of people.  

The very fact that such documents and requirements are rarely on the Left, is a matter of
 pride and becoming what I refer to as "Americana".

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