Would you leave your job if they asked you to sign a statement that pledged discrimination against another group? Well, we would hope you wouldn't, but a North Carolina college has decided the bible is more important than humanity when it comes to its employees pledging their faith and securing their future employment.
A Christian college in the N.C. mountains that’s long been associated with the Billy Graham family is in turmoil over the school’s insistence that faculty and staff sign and live in accordance with a new document that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.
Montreat College’s “Community Life Covenant,” which was recently added to faculty and staff handbooks, uses loftier language and includes many widely admired tenets like “be people of integrity” and “seek righteousness, justice and mercy.”
What’s become controversial are those parts of the covenant that expect those who work at the school to affirm “the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman” and the “worth of every human being from conception to death” – phrases that translate into condemnations of same-sex marriage and abortion.
Also an issue with some: The covenant appears to favor a literal interpretation of the Bible, calling the book “the infallible Word of God and fully authoritative in matters of life and conduct.”
Some faculty and staff have refused to sign, effectively ending their employment at the college as of mid-May, when the current semester ends.
A small number of the 876 students enrolled at the close-knit college held a public protest on Wednesday, hoisting signs reading “Make Montreat Montreat Again” and “Don’t Break Our Family.” Students are not required to sign the covenant.
The controversy has even riled up some in Montreat and neighboring towns. Black Mountain resident and lifelong Presbyterian Ina Jones Hughs wrote a fiery column for the Asheville Citizen-Times:
“What Montreat College has just done is alarming and disgusting. Demanding its faculty and administration to sign a pledge which … treats LGBT Christians as outside the fold and their relationships as spiritually unworthy; stands opposed to women’s reproduction choices; and declares theirs a literal interpretation of the Bible … Montreat College hard-handed ‘covenant’ …. brings shame to the history and reputation of Montreat as a welcoming community.” – The Charlotte Observer
For more on this, click over to Tim Funk's (@timfunk) report in The Charlotte Observer and hear what the spokesman of the college has to say about this "Community Life Covenant," the conservative Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's (BGEA) involvement, and the opinions of both sides of professors that did and didn't sign the document.
Corrie Greene, an English teacher at the school, said she and eight other faculty members are leaving the school because of the covenant. She said the document doesn’t just pertain to what faculty do and say in the classroom and on campus.
“It says we must affirm and uphold the college’s specific spiritual stances in our full 24 hour/seven-day-a-week personal life,” said Greene, 44, who calls herself an evangelical Christian. “I can’t let somebody else write my personal testimony. In my faith, Christ is constantly showing me something new.” – The Charlotte Observer
A religious college asking/demanding its staff to sign a document pledging their allegiance to the bible and its teachings? Do we say, well, it's a religious institution, they can do that? Students and professors chose to go to a religious institution. Wouldn't they expect something like this?