On Mercer

I had a post up some of you saw about Mercer. In response to the emails, I thought better of it given my wife’s position at the University and deleted it.

I’ll just leave it by saying this has been a long time coming.

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Erick Erickson

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15 Comments

  • Well, I hate to see you cave in to pressure and delete a post. You need to stand up to your right to free speech, as does everyone or it will be stripped from us. I was not going to post anymore, but I could not help it. Fight for your rights because we are all in this fight together! The thought police are already infringing on Canadians rights and Germans rights in their respective countries. There are even books that we cannot get in this country right now merely because those in control of the printing and media distribution entities suppress the right to free speech. It is ok to have pornography on the Internet and defend pedophiles, but katie bar the door if some challenges the status quo. Best wishes with your job.

  • I Googled your cache (sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) to see your post. Since I teach at Mercer, I’m curious to see the opinions of others on these issues.

    I agree with you that too many liberal professors use the classroom to push an agenda. They are so convinced that they are on the enlightened side of things that it just seems natural to challenge the religious conservatism of many of their students.

    Nonetheless, I think this move by the GBC is most unfortunate, even if not altogether surprising. Mercer is one of the few universities where a real exchange on these issues can take place. The number of Baptist students, as well as students of other denominations, gives the students some confidence to talk about religion without feeling set upon. At the same time, Mercer’s openness to non-Baptists and to views outside of the Baptist mainstream allows these other points of view to come forward also.

    I’ve taught some at state schools, and found that even teaching a classical author like Augustine can make people uncomfortable about the infusion of religion into the classroom. At more conservative religious institutions, on the other hand, the students find themselves protected from liberalism. I think it valuable that there exist a place where all of these conversations can take place.

    It is important to me that I feel like I can say and teach most anything. I teach Augustine and Aquinas, as well as Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God, but I also teach Nietzsche, who is strongly anti-Christian. I try to get my students to appreciate the appeal of ancient polytheism while showing why these polytheisms might have disappeared. I don’t know many places where I could have done these things.

  • As a recent grad of the engineering school at Mercer, and a former Baptist who still agrees with most of the stances taken by the GBC, I have to wonder what took so long? I was one of the many recipients of the Baptist scholarships at Mercer, so I certainly understand the importance of the Convention’s funding, but it just doesn’t make sense for them to continue pouring money and support into an institution that continuously opposes and undermines the very values and principles that the Convention is responsible for protecting.

    Most individuals would never consider contributing their time and/or money to a cause they don’t agree with or support. Why should we expect the GBC to do so?

  • “It just doesn’t make sense for them to continue pouring money and support into an institution that continuously opposes and undermines the very values and principles that the Convention is responsible for protecting.”

    I’m not sure what you think those values and principles are. Is Mercer to be understood as endorsing homosexuality if it allows student organizations to exist that endorse homosexuality? Why do students need to be protected from the beliefs of other students? While the Georgia Baptists might rejoice at cleansing themselves in this fashion, I think that they are further marginalizing themselves. It is hard to be a light unto the world when you are just preaching to the converted.

    The assault on religious expression in this country is very disturbing to me and, as I expressed in a previous post, in pains me to see how the state schools are making it difficult for that expression to occur. The liberals on campuses around the country act with such arrogance because most of them literally cannot imagine an intelligent person disagreeing with them. Creating Christian ghettos is not going to solve this problem.

  • Evangelicals should never sell out their religious beliefs in a compromise. We know that homosexuals exist, but the objective of the so-called enlightenment is not to make people aware, it is an avenue to further debase the concept of family values, the fundamental foudation for what God commanded of his people which was to go forth and multiply. Homosexuality has been around for years, and it was not something discussed. But now for the moral decaying of society agenda, it has been opened to our children like Pandora’s Box.

    The objective of the homosexual movement is to get our children to be exposed to a life style that they otherwise would not be exposed to. You see it is a double edged sword used as a shield, when homosexuality is advanced in a society. I do not care what someone does in their lives, just don’t shove it in my face. My ten year old knows who Ellen is and other homosexuals out there, and this is what is dangerous. Liberals complain that Conservates want to be in people’s bedrooms, which is ridiculous. It is the Liberals that have opened their bedrooms for the world to see. My son has reassurance from a stable family life, but other children do not that are in broken homes. Bravo to the Baptist Convention!

  • Those values are the ones outlined in Scripture. The fact that homosexuality is considered by God to be a sin, along with adultery, stealing, lying, breaking the law, etc. Not to mention the idea that the Bible IS the infallible Word of God (a fact that Godsey attempted to discredit in his book).

    The GBV are an organization that exists to ensure that the values outlined in Scripture continue to be promoted within our culture and society. Allowing a group of students, whose agenda involves promoting the tolerance and acceptance of a lifestyle forbidden by those very values makes no sense, and would be considered as an endorsement of tolerating homosexuality.

    I don’t think this is an attempt by the GBV to isolate Christians from the rest of the world either…the Bible calls for us to be a light unto the world, and that is precisely why the GBV had to do this. Being a contrasting light, as opposed to simply blending in, requires that a stand be taken against those things opposed by God. No one is suggesting that homosexuals be kicked out of the school. It’s a part of our society, right or wrong, as is every other sin. However, no Christian organization can simply sit quietly while others associated with their organization promote ideas contradictory to Scripture.

    Linda is exactly right…there is a concerted effort by the gay commumity, and among others who share their cause, to de-sensitize the general public (and the younger generation in particular)with respect to their attitude about homosexuality.

    What those within the “enlightenment/celebrate-diversity/morality-is-relative” movement cannot understand is that God does not call us to explore and attempt to understand the many alternatives to obeying His commands. We ARE called to help redirect those who are straying from these principles, but we cannot do so without first exposing the sin for what it is.

  • Well, I guess I don’t mind being part of the enlightenment, in some sense, but I wouldn’t consider myself in the celebrate-diversity/morality-is-relative movement. Even if I were, however, I find it odd that neither of you would want your children “exposed” to such a thing.

    I won’t belabor this point much further, but the value that Mercer is endorsing is free inquiry, not homosexuality or moral relativism. An atmosphere of free inquiry is best facilitated by the school maintaining a respectful place of engagement, rather than by choosing sides in advance. The number of Baptist students and the special support provided to them, such as the Baptist Student Union, housed in the Religious Life Center, means that the varieties of Baptist opinion are likely to be well-represented in that inquiry.

  • I can understand a school needing to maintain an open environment of free enquiry, especially at the university level. And as a former student, I also would agree with your suggestion that there is a significant representation of Baptist opinion within the student body. I would not, however, expect much of a representation of conservative Evangelical opinion within the faculty…

    But this is likely to be the case in most academic environments, as free thought, expression, and debate are generally encouraged. Unfortunately, the church must base its principles on Scripture, and there are certain issues that are clearly resolved within Scripture, leaving no room for debate. I have no problem with fair, open debate about these issues in an academic setting. But when the church is involved in such a debate, it cannot be the neutral moderator. It must take a side.

    Perhaps the church should limit its involvment in liberal arts institutions, as there will always be a fundamental conflict of interests.

  • It is important to note that Eric holds an open forum blog, that only requests that comments be family based and not hateful. Eric has not restricted anyone’s right to free speech, but that does not mean that he stands by our opinions. I take full responsibility for anything that I write, and I only right with thoughtful reflection on a topic that I have studied.

  • We Christians are quick to forget the first testament of the Bible, wherein God gives everyone the right to choose for themselves. As in the case of homosexuals and other deviants, people’s choices are not always agreeable to God or to me for that matter. We have coined the phrase “faith”, because lthough we don’t see God in person, we faithfully believe in him and his infinite wisdom. God allows us to do whatever we want and we have faith that if we follow him we’ll go to heaven and be with him.

    In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to love others and to forgive others above all. For many of us, this is an equally challenging task. How am I to love those that disagree with me and those that do not support my political position? Can I honestly say I love those that support harming me? Am I really supposed to forgive someone for molesting a child or who murders? I really believe in the wisdom of Jesus. But love and forgiveness are the hardest lessons to learn in life. I am starting to finally get it after many an experience in life. I still haven’t forgiven some persons in this world. But, I know that I should.

    If you really want to have a government or an institution (such as a school) that is Christ like, you should give the members of your organization the freedom that God gave them in choosing whether to sin or not, you should create foundations of love, and of forgiveness.

    I agree with the teacher’s comments above. Even at a Christian organization such as Mercer, gays should be welcomed, as should those that actively commit other sins. You should recruit those that are part of other religions. You should welcome muslims, jews, and whomever wishes to participate. Let them start clubs where they can identify with others and feel welcome in their environment.

    In fact, if you really are a Christian organization, you should actively recruit those who are not followers. Give them the free choice that God gave them. Love and forgive them as Jesus would.

    However, the catch is, a Christian school such as Mercer should be actively teaching their students about Jesus Christ. (I don’t know if this is the case or not at Mercer). It should be. Christian religion should not be a choice at a private institution such as Mercer, it should be in the curriculum. You should have exposure to theology no matter what your major. The addition of being allowed to preach as you teach, is the blessing that private education allows the GBC.

    In the end, if you reach one person out of 100. That is one person, who used to be a homosexual or part of another religion, that is now saved. The Baptist Convention should recognize this.

    They should create a free and open public school atmosphere (to compete with public schools), yet teach Christianity indiscriminately. The more open and free you make the school, the more it will attract the exact elements (ie. homosexuals and other religions) that you hope to convert.

    If Mercer is not making Christianity part of the curriculm, Kudos to the GBC, because you defeat the purpose of the private school setting if you’re not teaching religion manditorily.

  • News Flash: if you think that homosexuality has only been around and obvious for a couple years, wake up. It’s been around for thousands.

    These types of sinful lifestyles are going to effect your children long after they get out of your household and out of your control. Sure, tell your kids about Ellen and let them know about the homosexuals of the world. But, someday, they are going to have co-workers, maybe friends, and perhaps even a child that is homosexual. You cannot escape it – it’s part of the world we live in. Do you think Dick Cheney trained his daughter to be a homosexual? She is.

    The point is, Linda no matter what you do, your children are going to be exposed to it. Look at poor Dick Cheney…most conservative guy in the world has a gay daughter. We are not in heaven yet. If I were you, I would expose them to it as often as any normal person would be, in order to ensure they are prepared for the real world.

    Us Christians are missing the point about the moral fabric in this country. It’s almost like the gay issue is the devils smoke screen from the real problems facing our world.

    During WWII our country dropped two nuclear bombs killing hundreds of thousands of people, the Nazi’s exterminated hundreds of thousands of Jews around the same time, tens of thousands of American soldiers were killed around the same time in war.

    Why is it that we Christian’s think the world is going awry when a bunch of gay people become public, yet we look to the past and didn’t see the eroding of our moral fabric when 100’s of thousands of people were being killed at the hands of humans?

    We are so concerned about gays on television, yet we dismiss all the violence. I sit around with a bunch of Christian guys, on Sunday after church, who love to watch accidents occur in Nascar, like the fights we see in hockey, love the hard hitting action in football, yet we think the moral fibre of this country is coming apart because of what some gay people are doing in their private time? God forbid the gays actually reveal they are gay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop watching sports. And I certainly don’t advocate for homosexual marriage.

    My point is: It ain’t gay people that have eroded the moral fibre of this country. You’re in the dark if you think the moral fibre is not already eroded to the point of no return with everything else we’ve grown accustomed to.

    I’m part of the so-called moral party (Republicans), and all of our leaders insisted that we go to war!!!! We now know it’s over oil, we can fight it, but it’s pretty clear to me. Pure greed is this war. We are taking lives in order to line the pockets of oil companies. I fought this reality for a long time, but the truth is slowly becoming more and more apparent.

    Additionally, I can’t turn on the news, or even watch an interesting TV show without hearing about or seeing someone get killed. And video games? Forget about it. I’m not even going to mention what we are showing our kids there. Can you believe it, with all the violence on television, our “moral” FCC fined NBC b/c Janet Jackon’s breast fell out, yet all this violence? Kids are now shooting each other at school pretty regularly. There was just a kid at mall that shot the place up? Shooting innocent people without any cause.

    This is our so-called moral leadership that also had a debate about whether human torture should be allowed. We actually had this debate? I was like, where am I when my moral leadership actually has to debate human torture?????? Fortunately, John McCain (whom I admire) stood up for Christian values and said “no torture”. At least someone in our party actually believes in being somewhat moral rather than just preaching it.

    We (our party) lifted restrictions on automatic weapons, and we advocated that people can’t sue gun companies, despite whether gun companies market weapons to criminals. So, it’s okay to market weapons to criminals (just as long as they aren’t felons yet!!!!). I don’t have a friend in my church that has or needs an AK-47, AR-15, MP5, or any other weapon they use in Rambo movies. We all hunt – but why not ban military weapons?

    We lifted restrictions on sales of certain bullets. So, now criminals can buy armor piercing bullets, blended metal bullets, and other cop killers. Meanwhile, my friends and I, the Christian voters, are sitting out in our turkey stands wondering just who in the heck needs automatic weapons and blended metal bullets?

    Thank God our party doesn’t advocate abortion or homosexuality or I’d have to go donkey. Imagine a good “moral” party leader that advocates: war, killing, guns for everyone, torture, the death penalty, homosexuality and abortion? Sound ridiculous? Well we’re only two steps away, the leaders we vote for don’t advocate for abortion or homosexuality, but they support war, killing, torture, lifing automatic weapon bans, and the death penalty.

    I would get into who we could have voted for on the other side, they are the so-called immoral ones. But, I’ll spare you the rhetoric. I think you probably can see my point…the moral fabric is so torn, that the so-called moral people are even advocating for candidates that support immoral stuff.

    Even worse, I’ll take flack from other so-called moral people, telling me to change parties simply b/c I think our party has sold it’s soul to the devil. Our church leaders are close in step.

    For instance: the 700 club advocates for assasination. Moral?

    Despite the rest of the sinfulness that our political leaders advocate, they do have family values, thank God. I’m sure they’ll get into heaven free for making sure families occur more often!

    Anyway, good luck keeping your daughter away from gayness. I’m sure you’ll figure something out that Dick Cheney didn’t. I wish I was as naive as you, so that my main concern was the gays. I have no children yet, so if you figure out the secret, me and my wife will certainly implement it. We don’t want gay children either.

  • Wow. This has gotten out of hand. I don’t think anyone has said that they would “keep their children from being exposed to homosexuality”. I know I certainly wouldn’t. However, I will not allow her to be exposed to it without her first being given a solid foundation as to the fact that it is wrong and why. The problem is that most children do not get that foundation today. Parents are careless and allow public schools, tv, and the media to educate their children for them. The point that we’re trying to make is that the gay movement is capitalizing on this by forcing their lifestyle into the mainstream through tv and entertainment in an attempt to desensitize the younger generation. I happen to have an aunt and a brother who are homosexual, and I will make no attempt to hide this from my daughter once she is old enough to understand things of a sexual nature. However, when she is exposed to it, she will know where God and the Bible stand. She will also know that God commands her to love those people even though they are choosing a sinful lifestyle, and that we are all equal as sinners in God’s eyes until we turn from that sin.

    You are right in your assertion that Mercer should welcome people of all religions and lifestyles into the student body. However, when Biblical principles are being debated within a “Christian” school, the school has to take the side of the Bible. After graduating from Mercer, I don’t think I would call it a “Christian” school. While all students are required to take one semester of “Christianity”, many of the professors who teach these classes hold very distorted views of Scripture. For most students, that is the only exposure to Christianity they will get at Mercer. So I am all for a separation between Mercer and the Christian movement.

    When did anyone say that homosexuality is the cause of moral degeneration in our society? No one is trying to assert that the problems in our culture stem solely from the gay community’s growing prominence. This happens to be a thread that highlights that one issue, but it is merely one of the results produced by the overall moral decay we are experiencing. Basic, family values are under attack; and voilence, sex, etc. are equally as damaging to our younger generation, and should be opposed as vehemently as homosexuality.

    As for the remaining substance of your posts, I don’t want to get off course and turn this into a debate on morality and religion in politics, but it sounds like you are struggling mightily with your political identity. You say you are part of the moral party, but I don’t see much to link you with the conservative movement. You have apparently been fooled by the media into thinking that the war is about oil, that our presidency has advocated torture, and that John McCain(Media Doll extraordinaire) is the only perveyor of morality within our party. You also seem to think that gun control is the answer to crime in our country, and that we should have allowed more of our own soldiers to continue dying in WWII instead of ending the war in the only way possible: completely destroying an enemy that would continue fighting to the death.

    Addressing what’s wrong with these assertions would take hours, and is probably better left to another thread. I will say, however, that I stand behind the GOP in this country for many reasons, but one in particular: They are the ONLY ones making any attempt to stand up for traditional values, not only to the opposition in this country, but around the world. I’m certainly not saying they’re perfect, and perhaps there is more they could be doing to combat some of the symptoms of moral decay here at home, but at least they are fighting on the right side.