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Baylor revises sexual conduct policy, drops references to “homosexual acts”

baylor campusBaylor has dropped language in its sexual conduct policy specifically outlawing sexual relationships between same-sex partners, although a spokesperson’s response to questions from the Waco Trib indicates that the university does not appear to be endorsing gay and lesbian couples or sex outside of marriage.

The university’s sexual misconduct policy previously listed “homosexual acts” among the sexually related conduct that could prompt disciplinary action, along with adultery, fornication, incest, sexual abuse, harassment and assault.  But that clause is dropped under a new sexual conduct policy approved by Baylor’s Board of Regents at its last meeting and posted on the Baylor website. The university’s website, however, has not updated its Statement on Human Sexuality policy since March 2004.

July 2, 2015, article in the Waco Trib outlined the changes, quoting an e-mail from Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogelman as saying “these changes were made because we didn’t believe the language reflected the university’s caring community.  The university has a responsibility to articulate clearly and consistently Baylor’s commitment to its values as a Christian university.”

Fogleman deferred on what this means for married same-sex couples at Baylor in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling knocking down bans on same-sex marriages, referring instead to the application section on the policy, which states that it is to be “interpreted in a manner consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963,” the doctrine outlining the faith principles governing the Southern Baptist Convention.

Here’s how the language in the policy has changed:

Former sexual misconduct policy: In all disciplinary procedures, Baylor University will seek to be redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved and to witness to the high moral standards of the Christian faith. Baylor will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a gift from the creator God and that the purposes of this gift included (1) the procreation of human life and (2) the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond in self-giving love. These purposes are to be achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.

Revised sexual conduct policy:  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.

Now it’s your turn.  The independent voice that past Baylor leaders felt was so important and that some more recent Baylor leaders have fought so hard to silence allows — and expects — us to encourage honest and respectful discourse and dialogue on these kinds of issues.  We are posting here and on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to give members of the Baylor Family an outlet for expressing their views on this change and whether the university went too far or not far enough.  We ask that you post in a responsible and respectful way, recognizing that everyone has different strongly-held views.  Comments will be moderated and we will not post those that insult or demean others.


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5 thoughts on “Baylor revises sexual conduct policy, drops references to “homosexual acts””

  1. Don’t believe the King James, NKJ, the NIV, the ASV, or any other versions are quite so equivocal on the issue, an issue so basic to our faith and concept of self. While we should always care for the person, we should not shift our sails to the winds of the political correctness of the moment to go into neutral on a sexual behavior so foreign to the morality set forth in our Guide through the ages.

    If our beloved University administrators had been half as considerate of the BAA we would still have the HDAC and an ongoing constructive relationship with all who are part of the Baylor Line. Dr. White, Abner McCall, Herb Reynolds, and others, we miss you so.

  2. Aubin F.Petersen

    I’m grateful that Baylor leadership has determined that human sexuality is a gift as created, not a chosen behavior or lifestyle. I pray that our LGBTQ students, faculty and administration will have a safe place to dialogue and learn to live into their whole and authentic selves. We are each made in the image of God. Let us look into each face and see the face of God. We still have much work to do to educate minds and mend hearts broken by years of ignorance and discrimination.
    May God help us!
    To quote my Baylor New Testament Professor, Dr. Eddie Dwyer, as he wrote a brief paper on homosexuality, “The purpose of this brief paper is to present an interpretation of the Bible with regard to homosexuality and to show how my family passed from a night of prejudice into a day of enlightenment. ”
    May the Baylor family …”pass from a night of prejudice into a day of enlightenment.”
    God, may it be so!!

  3. “The Church that marries the spirit of the present age will find itself a widow in the next”
    W. R. Inge
    Dean, St. Paul’s
    Cathedral, London

    Courtesy of Jim Cox, Episcopal Priest in Kansas

  4. This article states that the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 is “the doctrine outlining the faith principles governing the Southern Baptist Convention.”

    This is incorrect. The SBC requires it’s member institutions to sign a Baptist Faith and Message of 2000. The Baptist General Convention of Texas specifically rejected this SBC update of the earlier 1963 statement because it “included statements that weakened the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church” (as stated by Professor Paul W. Powell of Truett Seminary at Baylor).

    Baylor is affiliated with the BGCT, which advocates the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith and Message. The BGCT also officially rejected a 1998 addition to the statement (by the SBC) which is subtitled “The Family”. Unlike the SBC, the BGCT doesn’t require it’s affiliates to “sign” the 1963 statement. They don’t consider it a “creed” (the implication of the SBC’s signatory requirement), but rather a simple statement of what Baptist’s generally believe.

    Many of the major news outlets that have reported Baylor’s new policy are including the following quotation, stating that is in the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963: “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” However, this quotation comes from the 1998 section added by the SBC and specifically rejected by the BGCT.

    The Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 does not define marriage.

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