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Baptist college reaffirms policy of hiring only Christian faculty

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Officials of the University of Mobile have reaffirmed the Baptist-affiliated institution’s policy of hiring only Christian faculty members in response to criticism from a Jewish donor, according to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Aug. 6.
University President Mark Foley and trustee chairman Gary A. Enfinger, pastor of Thomasville (Ala.) Baptist Church, reaffirmed the hiring policy to Gordon B. Kahn, a retired bankruptcy judge from Mobile, Ala., who, according to the Chronicle, has given more than $30,000 to the institution, which occupies land given by another Jewish donor.
Foley, in a written statement in July, said, “The practice of the university to hire as faculty those who profess faith in Jesus Christ boils down to a matter of belief, of mission, and of leadership,” the Chronicle reported.
“Our mission is based upon a particular understanding of the Bible regarding who God is, what He expects, and how He works in the world,” Foley continued. “If that mission is to be carried out, each member of the organization must understand and support the mission.”
Kahn, in a letter to the university’s trustees in July, contended that the policy is one of “bigotry and prejudice.”
“Where there is no freedom of religion, it is un-American and discriminatory,” Kahn wrote, according to the Chronicle. Kahn also wrote, “The students of the University of Mobile will not live in a vacuum, they will live in a world where the majority is not Christian,” reflecting a concern that the students should be educated by people of all religions to be prepared for today’s world.
Kahn has asked the university to remove his family’s name from the scholarships and fountain he donated, the Chronicle reported. A spokesman for the university was unavailable for comment to Baptist Press Aug. 17 and 18.
Enfinger, in a letter to Kahn, reaffirmed the university’s policy, but noted, “Please know that we share your disdain for any practice which reflects bigotry and prejudice and strive to make certain our policies and procedures are not reflected in that light.”

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