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Shorter Policy Under Fire
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 3 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Shorter University in Rome (image courtesy Shorter University)
Shorter University in Rome (image courtesy Shorter University)
Close to 3,000 people have signed an online petition asking Shorter University in Rome to reconsider a rule forcing employees to sign a personal lifestyle statement. Employees that fail to sign it risk termination.

The pledge says employees will not engage in premarital sex, adultery or homosexuality. They must also affirm their belief in the Southern Baptist Convention’s interpretation of Christianity.

David Oedel is a professor at Mercer University Law School. He says the lifestyle statement is legal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act exempting religious institutions from certain laws.

“Federal religious anti-discrimination law will not apply in a situation where the institution itself has characteristics that are clearly aligned with religious affiliations and sex.”

Oedel says Mercer University severed ties with the Baptist Convention in 2006. This week the Macon University announced it would start extending benefits to same sex partners.