The faculty members at Seattle Pacific University—a Christian college in Washington state—have cast a vote of “no confidence” in the leadership of the school’s board of trustees, which, last week, voted to affirm a biblical interpretation of sexuality.
In total, the university’s faculty senate received responses from 90% of all faculty members, 72% of whom favored the vote of the no confidence while 22% said they opposed it, according to The Seattle Times.
“The board’s decision to maintain SPU’s discriminatory hiring policy related to human sexuality, as well as its manner of delivering that decision, have regrettably compelled the faculty of SPU to pass a vote of no confidence in the SPU board of trustees,” read a statement from the faculty senate, adding that the decision by the school’s leadership “imperil[s] the ability of SPU and its community to flourish.”
Here is a segment of the “statement on human sexuality” with which a majority of faculty members took issue:
Human beings are created in the image of God, male and female, and are of inestimable worth. Because we are created in God’s image, people must be treated with respect and dignity by all institutions in society whether male or female, young or old, rich or poor, believer or unbeliever, homosexual or heterosexual. This priceless value constitutes the theological and anthropological foundation of our discussions regarding human sexuality. We, therefore, affirm the fundamental worth of all human persons, including those with whom we disagree.
Human sexuality is intended by God to include more than the contemporary cultural emphasis upon physical, sexual experience. Our sexuality is intended by God to reflect the whole of our sensual and relational createdness. We, therefore, renounce the equation of sexuality with genital sex alone and the false representation of sexuality found in pornography. We believe that such an emphasis results in the dehumanization of all people, especially women and children.
In particular, we affirm the institutions of marriage and family as central to the purposes of God. We believe it is in the context of the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman that the full expression of sexuality is to be experienced and celebrated and that such a commitment is part of God’s plan for human flourishing. Within the teaching of our religious tradition, we affirm that sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman.
According to the Times, the hiring policy, found in the not-publicly-accessible employee handbook, says staffers “are expected to refrain from … sexually immoral behavior that is inconsistent with Biblical standards, including cohabitation and extramarital sexual activity,” ultimately directing employees to the statement referenced above.
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