According to public data easily accessible through Google’s public data explorer, the current unemployment rate in the United States is 9.1% — and in Georgia it is 10.3%. The reason I bring up Georgia specifically is because of something that is going on at Shorter University, based in Rome, Georgia.
Generally speaking, you would think that a person would do anything reasonable to keep their current employment, especially in an economic climate where jobs are not always that easy to find. However, when an employer asks something that is unreasonable, that request should not only be fought but it should be brought to light — why is this employer making this peculiar request?
In this case, specifically, Shorter University is planning on requiring all of their faculty members to sign a faith statement, attesting that they as members of the faculty are opposed to premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.
By April, employees must sign a statement that says in part:
“I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”
The lifestyle statement also requires faculty not to drink or serve alcohol in public. [Shorter music professor Ben] Harris said that should be a choice and not an edict.
I must be quite naive as I thought that certainly in 2011 it would be federally prohibited to discriminate against someone in terms of employment on the basis of their sexuality. A little research online took me to the NOLO web site where I discovered that no such federal law exists and on a state to state level, it varies — and Georgia is not a state that currently has any laws on the books preventing this kind of discrimination. In fact, looking at the Lambda Legal page for Georgia shows that it could be one of the most homosexual unfriendly states in the Union with no protective laws whatsoever and state amendments that are discriminatory as well.
It is always disappointing when we find out that there is such strong bigotry out there and we have to do everything in our power to fight against it. Schools and universities are meant to be havens from this kind of hatred but this is not always the case, unfortunately.