To better ensure its staff follows the school’s biblical mandate, Georgia's Shorter University told its 200 employees late last month to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” rejecting homosexuality, adultery and premarital sex.
The pledge also bans teachers and administrators at the conservative Christian university from drinking alcohol in front of students and requires they be active in local churches.
A gay university employee told the Georgia Voice that the pledge has many employees fearing witchhunts. “We now will live in fear that someone who doesn't like us personally or someone who has had a bad day will report that we've been drinking or that we are suspected of being gay,” he said.
The employee, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of repercussion by the school, said that while students don’t have to sign the pledge, they, too, are worried about how they might be affected next.
Tamara King Henderson, a student at Shorter who says she is bisexual, commented on the Georgia Voice story that she was concerned the pledge could impact her education. “This could hurt the University’s ability to attract the best and the brightest professors available... [and] ability to receive federal funds.”
Henderson also quoted anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, who said: “ First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
“Will the students be next?” she asked.