Lexington Herald-Leader Strikes Again
There it was in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 08 April – front page above the fold, left corner, bold headline – Baptist School Ousts Gay Student. The paper ridiculed Southside Christian Church, the largest congregation in the city, back in December because services were not held on Christmas Day, a Sunday (paper technically wrong), and proceeded earlier this year to trash the governor’s prayer breakfast because the breakfast didn’t suit the H-L, its editors presumably considering themselves more religiously acclimated than the governor, an ordained minister, and all the others who took part in the annual affair, none of whom were ministers.
The University of the Cumberlands (formerly Cumberland College) in Williamsburg, Ky., expelled Jason Johnson, a self-declared homosexual, on either the sixth or the seventh, according to the paper, which also noted that by the time the paper was printed on the eighth the young man had engaged a lawyer. Johnson had outed himself on his personal Internet Web page. The university is not a Baptist school; rather, it is an institution sharing the philosophy of and receiving funds from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which shares the philosophy of and helps support the Southern Baptist Convention. This is doubtlessly the reason the paper played the account on the front page, as it did in the other cases. The mainstream media, of which the H-L, is a far left outlet, despises most religious entities but reserves a special hatred for Southern Baptists, considered by many to be an integral part of the so-called “religious right.” The account might have been appropriate for the state-news section of the paper, but it most likely received front page attention because of the term Baptist…too good an opportunity to pass up to savage the school and the Baptists all at the same time.
The university policy that was violated by Johnson is stated thusly: "Any student who engages in or promotes sexual behavior not consistent with Christian principles (including sex outside marriage and homosexuality) may be suspended or asked to withdraw from the University of the Cumberlands." Johnson, apparently just three weeks before the end of the semester and for reasons known only to himself, brought the rule down on himself, forcing the school to either uphold its requirement or render it useless. Moreover, Johnson knew when he went to the university that the homosexual lifestyle was not acceptable. UC President Jim Taylor issued this statement: "At the University of the Cumberlands, we hold students to a higher standard. Students know the rules before they come to this institution. We've followed our policies and procedures in keeping with our traditional denominational beliefs. University of the Cumberlands isn't for everyone. We tell prospective students about our high standards before they come. We are different by design, and are non-apologetic about our Christian beliefs."
Regardless of what one believes about homosexuality, it needs to be remembered that UC is a private school and is not required to accept/retain students it deems as not belonging there. This does not mean that other homosexual students are not at the school. There may be a few homosexuals there, just as in the case of the military, in which they also are officially not welcome but may serve as long as they do not divulge their sexual preference. This is the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that President Clinton tried to reverse as almost his first official act after assuming the office, only to discover that not even he could change things, so strong was/is the aversion to homosexuals in uniform.
In the view of most Southern Baptists, homosexual behavior is an abomination that they deem defined as such in the Holy Bible throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Hatred is not the issue. The practice of sexual perversions is the issue. While government agencies (except the military) have been legislated locally and nationally into making homosexuals a protected group in a number of ways such as in housing, employment, etc., private entities can still make their own rules. Though they have been pressured almost beyond endurance, even the Boy Scouts have held their ground with respect to this issue. However, legal actions can produce amazing benefits. Johnson already has a lawyer, causing one to wonder if some sort of suit was not envisioned before his action, the obvious aim being to gain monetarily.
During the Patton administration in Kentucky, the state engaged an agency of the Kentucky Baptist Convention to care for young people and children whose lives had been disrupted in one way or another, their living at home no longer possible. When it was discovered that a KBC employee was a lesbian who had outed herself in some sort of public exhibition, she was fired, and the liberal outcry was that the KBC had violated her civil rights and could therefore no longer be engaged in the displaced-child program. Governor Patton stood firm in declaring that there would be no change. Actually, regardless of how he felt, the state had no provision for the service to the children. The employee was fired and the system remained. The same is true for UC, with an enrolment of over 1,700 students and where tuition and fees amount to $12,658; room and board: $5,526. Nearly 95% of the students receive some type of financial aid, with an average amount awarded per student at $12,797.
The school, a junior college until the 1960s when it became a four-year college, has long been associated with the mountainous Appalachian region, peopled by thousands of students who can’t afford expensive educations. Besides having the usual departments, it is unusual in that it has an accredited Pharmacy college. The campus spans approximately 70 acres and includes 32 buildings and 2 sports-field complexes. Former governor Bert Combs was a student at the school in the 1920s, stoking furnaces to pay for his education there.
And so it goes.