The Baylor University Board of Regents recently approved a “Resolution on a Caring Community,” charging the university’s president with determining “appropriate pathways to provide additional care, connections, and community for Baylor’s LGBTQ students, including the possibility of establishing a new, chartered student group.”
Baylor is affiliated with the General Baptist Convention of Texas, which partners with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist World Alliance. The resolution said the new group must be consistent with Baylor’s core commitments and university polices, which include:
- 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.
The university also released “A Guide to the Decision of the Baylor Board of Regents to Strengthen Care for LGBTQ+ Students on Campus,” explaining the decision. The resolution and guide are troubling on a number of fronts.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler said that the university was “trying to have its cake and eat it too,” by “trying to say that it is maintaining some kind of commitment to an historic Christian understanding of marriage and sexuality” while “accepting an officially chartered student group that will oppose that understanding.”
Rod Dreher put it more bluntly, stating, “Well, Baylor University did what it was always going to do, and caved.” He said the university was using a “therapeutic approach” (i.e., “strengthen care for LGBTQ+ students”), rather than coming from “an orthodox Christian point of view.”
If the university were being truthful, Dreher wrote, it would say, “We are totally embracing conformity with this post-Christian culture, but we’re going to lie to ourselves and to our alumni about why we are doing it.”
Dreher predicts that the university will move toward fully embracing homosexuality and transgenderism in the near future, “[G]ive it a few years, and the next step is to declare that any professors or staffers who hold to the orthodox Christian teaching on sex and sexuality must be suppressed as a necessary step to protect LGBT persons from harm.
The resolution and guide are problematic because the biblical understanding of human sexuality doesn’t just deal with sexual thoughts and acts, it also has to do with human identity. Scripture is clear that God made humans male and female in His image and that individuals are born male or female. Our very being as humans – our identity – derives from our physical biology. This male or female biology, along with the masculinity or femininity that flows from it, reflects the very image and likeness of God.
Rejecting one’s biological reality and replacing it with some other “gender identity” is a serious thing. It’s a rejection of one’s created identity, as well as a denial of the image of God that a person should reflect.
Modern gender ideology teaches that what matters more than biology is what’s in a person’s head – what people think, feel and believe about themselves. In labeling students “LGBTQ+” and creating a club for these students, Baylor is buying into this ideology – affirming that transgender or queer or other identities trump biological, God-given reality.
Labeling people by their sexual attractions, thoughts and actions – what the university calls “sexual orientation” – is also not scriptural. The Bible describes men and women who wrestle with a wide variety of sexual and relational issues – from lust to homosexuality and from pornography to adultery. But it doesn’t label people with their sin struggles.
God didn’t create humanity as gay or straight – but as male or female. Nor does He view humanity as “LGBTQ+” – but as male or female.
Baylor’s Policy on Sexual Conduct states the sexual ethic that God calls us to keep, “Baylor will be guided by the biblical understanding that human sexuality is a gift from God and that physical sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of marital fidelity. Thus, it is expected that Baylor students, faculty and staff will engage in behaviors consistent with this understanding of human sexuality.”
The policy was changed back in 2015, from one that specifically listed homosexual acts – along with sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery and fornication – as grounds for disciplinary action.
While Baylor asks students to abide by its sexual policy, the school has caved on the identity question – a key component when discussing biblical sexual ethics.
The Daily Citizen asked Baylor, “Does the university and the board believe that “LGBTQ+” are legitimate, biblical identities? Are these identities that Christians should embrace? Or eschew?”
We also asked, “How does the university define “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”? Do these describe a person’s core, unchangeable being, or are they just sexual issues that some Christians may struggle with?”
The university did not respond to those questions, but pointed to its Policy on Sexual Conduct, previously noted, and to its Statement on Human Sexuality, which reads:
Baylor University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of human sexuality. 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 board and the university did not explain how an official LGBTQ+ student group would be different from an “advocacy group” that promoted “understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching,” especially when the sexual identities embraced by those in the group are opposed to biblical teaching.
The decision by the regents follows years of pressure from LGBT activist individuals and organizations, along with their allies. In 2011, a group of students formed a “Sexual Identity Forum” and asked for official campus recognition, which was denied. Since then, the group has changed its name to Gamma Alpha Upsilon (GAY) and has met unofficially on campus.
A recent story published in the Dallas Observer described a GAY pizza party attended by faculty members who stood up and “introduced themselves to the room, giving their departments so students in the group would know which of their professors supported them.”
“One professor passed out rainbow stickers for other faculty members to put up in their offices to show they were affirming of LGBTQ students,” the paper reported.
Both students and faculty at Baylor had supported GAY’s inclusion as an officially chartered student organization. The Student Senate voted 30 to 15, in October 2020, to pass a resolution asking the college “to reinterpret its human sexuality statement” and to allow “LGBTQ+ groups to be recognized as fully chartered student organizations.” The Faculty Senate voted 26 to 9 in favor of doing so in February 2021.
The university is also under fire from a class action lawsuit to end Title IX religious exemptions for religious colleges. The plaintiffs include two “queer identified” Baylor students. Students have also asked the NCAA to investigate the school’s policies on LGBT issues.
The regent’s resolution was supported by the group BU Bears for All, consisting of “Baylor alumni, donors, students, parents, faculty, staff, and faith leaders,” which works “to support current students, including members of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, who seek to be acknowledged and recognized.”
BU Bears for all says that “the Baptist tradition has long affirmed that no one person is a high priest, that there is no one definitive interpretation of scripture, and that God enables each individual [to] interpret scripture through the lens of the life of Christ.”
Given that these groups want to affirm “LGBTQ+ students” in their various sexual and gender identities, and that BU Bears for All believes individuals can create their own biblical sexual ethic – which would include interpreting scripture to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism – we also asked Baylor questions about how the new “LGBTQ+” group would function:
- Does “care, connections and community” include helping individuals renounce LGBTQ+ identities and live by a biblical sexual ethic with a Christian identity? How will the university help students move toward healing and wholeness?
- What does the university believe about ongoing transformation and healing in Christ for those wrestling with gender confusion or same-sex attractions, thoughts, identity and behaviors?
- Will student members of this newly chartered group be asked to agree with and follow the school’s “Statement on Human Sexuality”?
- Does the university have support groups for those dealing with other sexual and relational issues, such as pornography usage, premarital sex, lust or sexual addiction? Why create a separate group for those struggling with gender confusion or homosexuality?
We were not given specific answers to these questions, but were told, “Both the following statement [on Human Sexuality] and policy [on Sexual Conduct] are not impacted by the Board’s resolution from last week. Revisions to either the statement or the policy were not discussed as part of the Board’s deliberations.”
The school also pointed to its Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center and the Baylor University Counseling Center, both of which deal with a variety of behavioral, sexual and relational issues. Presumably, students wrestling with homosexuality and transgenderism could get biblical help and support as they move toward greater freedom and wholeness, but it was difficult to find those issues listed on the Baylor sites.
And, it’s doubtful that an “LGBTQIA+” group, which celebrates transgender and homosexual identities, would offer students biblical ethics, support, healing and hope. Nor has the school or the board of regents said that this is what a school-sanctioned group should offer.
Related articles and resources:
- Counseling for Sexual Identity Concerns: A Measured, Careful, and Compassionate Approach
- Freedom from Homosexuality – What’s the Controversy?
- A Singularly Christian View of the Transgender Problem
- What Are Male and Female in God’s Story?
- What Do We Mean When We Talk About Change from Homosexuality?
Photo from Baylor.edu