Remove Belmont University Christian-only Faculty Policy

Remove Belmont University Christian-only Faculty Policy

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William Phillips started this petition to Belmont University Administration

Dear Belmont students, faculty, staff, and alumni,

Belmont University, being a Christian institution, strives to uphold the principles of Christianity. These principles, being based upon the life of Jesus, are meant to exemplify the love, grace, and mercy often heard in the teachings of Jesus. Additionally, the overarching goal for those who are Christians is to live life in such a way that others would be interested in Jesus and to help one another continually progress towards the example set by Christ.

Regarding the acquisition of Watkins College of Art, it has recently come to the attention of many Belmont students that the university plans to relieve all Watkins College faculty of their duties if they do not identify as Christians. One such principle of Christianity that Belmont believes in is the idea of loving all people as oneself (Mark 12:31). How then can it be justified that these people are relieved of their jobs for the simple fact that they do not identify as Christians? Can one not agree to uphold the Christian standards of a university while not personally identifying as Christian?

Belmont originally implemented the policy of only hiring Christian faculty and staff to help instill the values of Christianity into the community and reputation of the university. The purpose behind the policy’s implementation and existence is not meant to create a negative aspect or experience for anyone, yet the logistics of implementing the policy have done just that. The choice to keep the policy may help to emphasize the idea that Belmont University is an exclusive Christian institution, but the choice to remove the policy would emphasize that Belmont University practices being a Christian institution.

Jesus was often known to spend time with those who were different from him and what he taught. He helped people who were sick, poor, and broken. It would not be accurate to equate those employees of Watkins College to sick, poor, or broken, but it would be accurate to say that some may have different beliefs than what is held within Christianity. Does that mean that those people should be cast aside to create a “Christian environment” at Belmont University because they are different? Again, that does not hold consistent with Jesus’ actions nor teachings.

It is undoubtedly possible to maintain a Christian-based campus environment while employing faculty and staff who are not Christians. Truly this would not only be an accomplishment but a strong progression towards inclusion and towards the example that Christ has set. Allowing only Christians to teach at the university detracts from the exact principles that the university strives to uphold.

Belmont University’s first goal listed under student learning outcomes is “To learn about and appreciate other cultures different than their own.” The second goal for students is “To develop empathetic concern and comfort with those different than them.” Belmont should strive to stay consistent with the goals it sets forth for its students in not only its policies but also its actions.

It is a good measure of whether an action or policy is in alignment with Christian ideals when one asks if the action or policy is a representation of love. If Christianity were to be broken down to its fundamentals, love would be the strongest among them. From the perspective of those who would be or have been relieved from their positions, would they be more likely to have an interest in Jesus and Christianity because of their removal? Absolutely not. Furthermore, they would view Belmont and thus Christianity as exclusive because that representation being executed.

It is the belief of those signing the associated petition that the policy of not hiring professors at Belmont University because they do not identify themselves as Christian does not adhere to the guiding principles set forth by Christianity, thus the policy should be removed from the university.

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