Faith requirement for CLs is justified

Being the oldest continuously operating university in Texas, Baylor is deep in its religious roots. But with a recent increase in a progressive and diverse student body, should the academic institution uphold its morals when hiring staff or is a change required?

It wouldn’t make sense for a southern Baptist university to employ a member of a different faith for not only any position, but also specifically one that requires the fostering of relationships and a Christian community. Almost always will a religious establishment hire qualified staff who hold the same morals and values, but at Baylor many are beginning to question whether or not a statement of faith is really necessary in the application process, especially if seeking the job of being a community leader, better known as a CL.

Holding similar duties to a resident assistant, or RA, a CL is responsible for upholding the policies and values of the university while also guiding and mentoring residents. Baylor Campus Living & Learning states that applicants must have an active and growing Christian faith, which would disqualify students who are members of another religion or belief to get the job. To some this seems to be a form of discrimination or a rule that does not “promote” a welcoming community for all. I strongly disagree.

Let’s get one thing straight ­— a private institution has the legal and fundamental right to uphold its religious beliefs and implement them into the way in which it functions. Baylor is known for its Baptist beliefs that are foundational to its history. Before labeling a policy as “discriminatory,” students must understand the severity of this claim. In no way is it prejudice or hateful to require staff to uphold the same religion as the establishment for which they work. Being a CL requires mentorship, and it’s crucial that the student body is receiving the right biblical guidance. I pay for a Baptist university, so I expect a school that offers a Baptist community.

The base of the Christian religion is unconditional love, and those who are of the faith are responsible for being accepting and non-judgmental, as Jesus was/is himself. However, nowhere in the Bible does it say we must change our morals in order to please nonbelievers. Yes, you can love, but that doesn’t mean you support. Baylor should absolutely treat all students with the same amount of respect and compassion no matter their religious background. However, it is crucial to understand that coming to a private Christian university comes with certain customs and rules. We must respect those of a different faith and also respect those who hold to their beliefs and implement them into the institution they operate.

From my own experience, I had received faith-based council from my CL and I would not have been able to get through the first month of college if it weren’t for her biblical encouragement. Students are advised to seek our community leaders for personal, emotional and even academic help. This requires a person of faith who will correctly know how to spiritually guide a resident.

Unapologetic means holding no regret, and there should be no shame or remorse in standing firm to faith, especially when holding legal and natural rights to do so. When a school publicly proclaims their beliefs, there sometimes will be controversy and people who disagree. It is not Baylor’s responsibility to conform to others’ opinions in fear of offending them, and such students are aware of the institution’s values before attending. Just because some might feel offended does not mean that it is morally wrong. There will always be someone offended. That’s just life.

April Oddo
Journalism and political science major