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March 26, 2004

Gay Rights Rally in Waco Tomorrow Protesting Baylor Policy

By Byron LaMasters

This ought to be interesting. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports:

Organizers of a gay rights rally in downtown Waco Saturday say they expect 1,000 demonstrators to voice their criticism of Baylor University for its treatment of gay students.

A group calling itself United4Change will protest the university's policies at 11 a.m. Saturday at Heritage Square. It is led by Matt Bass, a former Truett Seminary student who had to drop out of school after his scholarship was withdrawn when he admitted to officials he supported homosexual marriage.

Bass, 24, who stayed in Waco after withdrawing from school to help bring attention to issues facing gay students, said he hopes for a large turnout for the rally to "help administrators understand the effects of discrimination."

Baylor officials, when asked for comment, responded only with a written statement affirming t he student code of conduct, which informs students of the university's stance on human sexuality issues and communicates expectations for how students conduct themselves on or off campus.

"Baylor University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of human sexuality," the policy states. "The university affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.

"Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching."

United4Change, a group of Baylor students, alumni and friends in the greater community, believes that "discrimination against students and faculty based on real or perceived sexual orientation and identity is unjust and inherently violent towards all," Bass said.

As an institution of higher learning, Baylor has an obligation to end ignorance, yet it continues to infringe on academic freedom, constitutional free speech, and basic human and civil rights, he added. The group seeks equality on campus and a nondiscrimination clause in university policies. Many Baylor alumni from throughout the country have sent either e-mails of support or indicated they are coming to the rally, he said.

Recently, the Baylor student paper endorsed gay marriage which received much critisism from the Baylor administration. It's almost amusing to watch if it wasn't so serious. It's outrageous that a closeted gay student lost his scholarship at Baylor after being asked about his sexual orientation by the administration because he had confided in a pastor (who proceded to violate his trust with the student, and go tell the administration).

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 26, 2004 01:19 PM | TrackBack


You just don't get it.

Don't you know that homosexuality can lead to dancing?

Posted by: Matthew Saroff at March 26, 2004 01:33 PM

I thought dancing lead to homosexuality. ;-)

Posted by: Jason Young at March 26, 2004 08:22 PM

Why have the rally tomorrow, when we'll all be at the county Dem convention?

Posted by: melior at March 26, 2004 10:26 PM

To be Devil's advocate for a moment, if you attend a school like Baylor, it is not as if you do not know what you are getting into. I think the answer is to avoid such a close-minded place in the first instance.

On another note, I am thinking out loud on this. The idea of limiting diversity of viewpoint is antithetical to the mission of a university which requires various theories to compete in an open marketplace of ideas. Is there anyway to get Baylor unaccredited by the national academic institutions that accredit universities on the basis that it demands dogmatic obsequiesence? I think such a move would have FAR more impact than the rallies. The adminsitration can look the other way at student rallies, but start jacking with their accredidation and all hell will break loose.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 28, 2004 11:09 PM
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