Sunday, October 3, 2004

Karma Runs Over Dogma

From the AP:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The director of student life at Richmond’s Baptist Theological Seminary has resigned, saying he could not enforce a policy that excludes practicing homosexuals, including those in committed relationships.

“I couldn’t stay at the seminary and support a policy I didn’t agree with and wouldn’t comply with,” the Rev. Warren Hammonds said in an interview published Saturday in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I would have had to turn in homosexuals or lie about it. I couldn’t do either and live with myself.”

“It was a hard decision,” Hammonds said Saturday of his decision to resign from the job he had held for seven years. “I felt I was walking way from something that was very important to me.”

The seminary was established in 1989 by a vote of the Southern Baptist Alliance, now the Alliance of Baptists. Hammonds said several hundred seminarians are enrolled.

The seminary code states: “Sexual promiscuity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is not an acceptable lifestyle for any member of the seminary community.” Failure to report a violation “breaches the code.”

Hammonds is the only person to resign over the Code of Ethics policy and no students have left because of it, according to Seminary President Thomas H. Graves.

Hammonds said the policy put him in an uncomfortable position.

“Some students who come to seminary are questioning or confused about their sexuality. As a pastoral person, those students may have come out to me,” Hammonds said.

Imagine that – a man who puts principle over dogma. Mr. Hammonds may be a closet Quaker.