And, now, even after our legal system has definitively weighed in the balance of justice Professor Klouda’s case against Dr. Patterson and our esteemed institution, finding them innocent . . .
Whether this writer is an expert on the legal system and offering a consistent expert opinion or is infected with an inherent bias against Sheri Klouda and those who have sought to protect her can be discerned in the nouns the writer uses to describe myself and other supporters of Dr. Klouda (i.e. "jesters," "clowns," "a foot shy of moral antinoniasm,"producers of political porn"). I learned a long time ago that calling people names is bad, but not being able handle being called names is worse. I welcome the verbal abuse if it is thrown my way because of my assistance of the Sheri Klouda family.
But the point of this post is to correct the wrong conclusions of innocence on Southwestern's part. The judge simply ruled that discrimination based upon gender is protected by the First Amendment which separates church and state. In other words, a church can discriminate against women because of 'religious beliefs' and the courts cannot, according to the judge's interpretation of the United States Constitution, punish the church. That is the judge's ruling and I accept it. I don't, however, accept that discrimination against women is acceptable in the Southern Baptist Convention, nor is it a part of our belief system. The courts said they WOULD NOT intervene. That ruling simply stokes the fire for those of us who see that change is needed. We are Southern Baptists and we must do even more to change things. Let me show you what I mean.
A few years ago a pulpit committee in Mississippi expressed a desire to visit with me about being their pastor. I called a previous pastor of that church and asked him to tell me a little about the church. The pastor said the people are great and the church has huge potential, but there was something that bothered him. While he was pastor, there was discussion about bringing a black man on staff. A couple of deacons in the church came to the pastor and said, "We don't need a n____ on staff." The prejudice against blacks is not an official position of the Southern Baptist Convention - now. But as I have shown you before, Southern Baptists argued for a very long time that blacks were inferior to the white race and they had no business being considered equals. It took activists continually working toward reform to bring not only the Southern Baptist Convention, but eventually the United States Constitution, to recognize the equality of blacks.
The same, archaic view of women seems to be prevalent within the Southern Baptist Convention. It is a view that relegates women to an inferior status to men. People do not like to hear the issue stated so bluntly as in the sentence above, and will do everything within their power to shape the argument to something other than 'inferiority' - just as Southern Baptists did in decades past regarding blacks. For instance, it is argued that the physical differences with women are obvious, and as a result, they are different but equal. I am reminded that Southern Baptists used to point to the skin color of black men 150 years ago and used it as the basis for the 'different and UNEQUAL' view of blacks. In other words, 'different but equal' is at times nothing but a euphemism for 'different and unequal.' When TREATMENT of a person differs from that of a white man in the same position, then you have a 'different but unequal' mentality. Ask yourself a question: What two groups of people have been discriminated against in the Southern Baptist Convention solely because of who they are? Blacks and women. Adulterers, homosexuals, child molestors, etc . . . are rightfully discriminated against because of WHAT THEY DO.
Someone shouts, "Object!" We are not discriminating against women because of who they are. We discriminate against them in terms of what they can and cannot do! We are saying women can't teach men, women can't be in a position of authority over a man, women can't lead men, women can't teach men Hebrew, women can't be Vice-President of the IMB, women can't be . . . . Why not? Some will say, "Because the Bible says so." I say emphatically, categorically, unequivocably, and passionately - IT DOES NOT. Now, let us debate the issue - but recognize the implications for those of you who wish to relegate women to a 'position of inferiority to men.' You will be discriminating against women. Period. No matter how you spin it, you are discriminatory on the basis of gender.
The United States government, through the courts of the land, says that a church can discriminate against a woman because of its religious beliefs. They will not interfere. The United State's Constitution forbids interference. But the courts, unlike blog writers who pontificate differently, did not declare Southwestern INNOCENT of discrimination. It simply said 'churches' can discriminate on the basis of gender. The solution to skirting the laws of discrimination in this land is to somehow figure out how to get your institution or business to be recognized as a church and then terminate any competent person on the basis that she is a female. You will NOT be innocent of discrimination. You will be free from the long reach of federal laws that prevent it.