A while back I wrote at The Huffington Post (“The Casualties of Bryan College’s Anti-Evolution Revolution“) about Bryan College’s new creationist statement that all faculty had to sign. There are some recent updates to that situation and it’s bleak for those who hope to keep their faculty positions.
Originally, the school insisted on a new statement that affirmed the idea of a literal Adam and Eve. Many felt that the statement was too narrow. Faculty who refused to sign were not going to have their contracts renewed.
Most recently, faculty voted “no confidence” in the school’s president, Stephen Livesay. And this week, according to the Times Free Press, “At least nine of 44 full-time professors — more than 20 percent — won’t return to Bryan in the fall. Those instructors are leaving for a variety of reasons, though several of the departures are directly linked to Livesay’s leadership or the clarification issue.”
Additionally, “two professors were informed that their contracts would not be accepted after they wrote in language rejecting the clarification and affirming the school’s original statement of belief.”
Students are protesting and many are indicating that they aren’t being heard. “Students sent 65 letters to the board,” according to the Times Free Press, “more than 80 signed one of two petitions asking for the reinstatement of professors and an estimated 200 students stood up in chapel” in protest.
Unfortunately, Evangelical institutions tightening their stance on issues like evolution (or gay rights) is not an usual thing in the United States right now. Every year there seems to be schools who push out long-term faculty over how to read Genesis, even when the faculty and the school agree on most things theologically (e.g. Cedarville University).
What is bothersome is the priority many schools place on theological minutia rather than on the Golden Rule. There is a real sense of Evangelical callousness in the leadership that regularly appears in these situations.
John Haynes, chairman of the board of trustees, appeared to dismiss this situation as fairly common for Christian colleges, telling the Times Free Press that “If you do some research, you’ll find this type of thing is going on all across the country.”
Of course, lots a things happen regularly across the country, like car accidents or identity theft; being common doesn’t make it any less tragic for the people faced with loss; in this case, the loss of income.
But hey, at least they’ll have that original Adam. Without that the world would likely end.