WACO, Texas (BP)–Baylor University’s Board of Regents amended the school’s bylaws Feb. 11 to allow up to 25 percent of the board to be composed of Christians who are active members of a church in a historic Christian tradition other than Baptist.
At least 75 percent of the board will continue to consist of regents who are active members of Baptist churches. The move is an acknowledgement of “the changing demographics of Baylor’s constituencies,” a Baylor statement said.
“… [W]e recognize that there are, within the Baylor family and outside of it, deeply committed fellow Christians who share Baylor’s mission, vision and core theological principles but who are not currently affiliated in their church life with a Baptist congregation,” Dary Stone, chairman of the board, said.
Baylor President Ken Starr said, “Baylor maintains a strong and unwavering dedication to advancing the principles and tenets of the Baptist faith which have been and will always remain a hallmark of a Baylor University education. We will continue to operate within the Christian-oriented aims and ideals of Baptists.”
INDIANA HOUSE PASSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT — Indiana’s state house passed a constitutional marriage amendment on a 70-26 vote Feb. 15, sending it to the state senate. If passed there, it must pass again in each chamber in a separately elected legislature before going to voters in 2014 at the earliest. The amendment would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. A majority of states — 29 — have such an amendment.
“The basic unit of society is the family and the cornerstone of the family is marriage,” the bill’s author, Republican state Rep. Eric Turner, was quoted in the Indianapolis Star as saying during the floor debate. “Marriage is and should be between one man and one woman.”
At least seven states are expected to consider marriage amendments this year.
NASHVILLE APPROVES GAY-RELATED BILL — In a move that could impact the religious liberty of business owners, the Nashville Metro Council voted Feb. 15 to extend workplace protections to homosexuals and transsexuals working for city contractors. If the bill is approved upon final vote March 15 and signed by the mayor as expected, firms that do business with the city will be required to sign affidavits saying they won’t discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” The bill has an exception for businesses that employ 15 or fewer workers, the Nashville City Paper reported.
Several council members said the proposal would discriminate against business owners whose religious beliefs don’t condone homosexuality or transsexuality.
“Jesus said love your neighbor,” Councilman Jim Hodge was quoted as saying in the Nashville City Paper. “He didn’t say endorse their lifestyle. I cannot as a businessman with 16 employees conduct my business the way I want to — the way I desire to based on my faith — if this passes. We don’t have any reason to interfere in a private contractual relationship between an employer and an employee.”
The vote was 21-16, with three council members abstaining.
Compiled by Baptist Press associate editor Michael Foust and assistant editor Erin Roach.