Religion
Religion

University Rejects Donation From Anti-LGBT Group

| by Michael Doherty

An American university has rejected a $3 million donation from a Christian group that asked the university to shut down a group for LGBT students.

Samford University, a Christian school in Alabama, has waived a donation from the Alabama Baptist Convention, which demanded that it shut down Samford Together, a student organization for LGBT students, according to the Independent.

The student group describes itself as "a forum for students who want to discuss topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity ... [in] an open-minded and accepting environment."

The group was approved by faculty in April, but the university's board of trustees has not yet formally recognized it.

After the faculty voted to approve the group, the convention expressed disappointment in the decision, saying that the group's purpose was "contrary to biblical teachings on sexuality."

"We strongly believe that the Old Testament and New Testament each speak unequivocally against homosexuality," said convention president John Thweatt and executive director for its board of missions Rick Lance in a joint statement. "When addressing same-gender sexual relationships, the Bible without exception never affirms such behavior as an approved lifestyle."

"In the days to come, Alabama Baptist leaders will be in dialogue with the leadership of Samford as to the serious implications this action has for the relationship between Samford University and the Alabama Baptist State Convention," the statement continued, according to Lance's website. "We request your prayers as this situation is handled in a Biblically correct way."

The group then said it would rescind the $3 million donation if the group was approved by Samford's board of trustees. The university voluntarily declined the donation.

"I believe the action taken by our trustees is something that both parties have been anticipating for some time and will serve the best interests of both Samford and the Alabama Baptist State Convention," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland, according to the Samford website.

"Our longstanding educational and ministry relationships with Alabama Baptists have always been more significant than money, and these relationships will continue and flourish," Westmoreland added.

Westmoreland also said that although he would not seek official recognition from trustees for the Samford Together group, he would attempt to work towards the group's goals, including addressing sexuality and gender, along with "other important issues at the intersection of Christian understanding and cultural reality."

"I will involve these students and others across campus in taking essential steps to create new and ongoing opportunities for robustly engaging these and other important issues," said the president. "Our actions at Samford, irrespective of financial considerations, must demonstrate fidelity to God's truth, abiding compassion and respect for all people, and solidarity with the timeless ideals of a strong university."

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