Samford University President Tells Students the School Loves All People but ‘Will Continue to Stand on God’s Word’ and Will Not ‘Celebrate and Advocate for Other Expressions of Sexuality’ Amid Anger Over LGBT ‘Exclusion’

“Each person will be loved unconditionally” but Samford University “will continue to stand on God’s word” and will not “celebrate and advocate for other expressions of sexuality than those historically supported” by the Baptist school, President Beck Taylor told students in a Sept. 30 video message.

Three weeks after news outlets, including BNG, reported on Samford’s sudden exclusion of some local ministries from a back-to-school expo, Taylor used the video to address a policy that still has not been spelled out in detail publicly but that has generated protests from 150 clergy alumni and others.

At the beginning of this semester, a campus minister at Samford denied Presbyterian Church (USA) and Episcopal Church college chaplains who asked to be included in a recent campus ministry fair. They were denied, they said, because both denominations allow same-sex marriage. Later, other local churches said they, too, were no longer welcome on campus because of their openness to the LGBTQ community.

Although university officials have not responded to media requests for clarification, there have been a couple of emails sent to the campus community, and Taylor has replied to alumni protesters with a brief letter. Three weeks after BNG sought comment from university officials, no response has been received.

Taylor’s Friday video — which took a “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach to LGBTQ students — infuriated alumni who are LGBTQ-inclusive. Some were especially incensed that Taylor cited former President Tom Corts as setting a precedent for the current policy. Corts was widely credited with advancing the school’s ecumenical reputation.

The new policy to exclude campus ministries previously welcomed there “doesn’t mean Samford is changing, which is a popular narrative voiced by those who stand in disagreement,” Taylor said. “Presidents Corts, (Andrew) Westmoreland and I, presidents who span the last 40 years and the boards that govern Samford, have never supported anything but the traditional view of sexuality and marriage. Samford isn’t suddenly more biblically conservative on this issue. That claim is simply false.”

Critics of the current policy counter that while Samford may have been conservative in the past, it was not exclusionary.

Taylor insisted in the video that the current policy is not about exclusion: “Here is what this decision does not mean for Samford. It does not mean we are excluding whole swaths of people, students, employees, alumni and even ministry partners from denominations who have churches that differ on this topic.”

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Source: Baptist News Global