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LETTERS: Baylor can't have it both ways; embracing our past

LETTERS: Baylor can't have it both ways; embracing our past

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Can’t erase it

I am writing to acknowledge and thank Jay McMillen for his May 2 letter titled “The past is forever.”

His letter is by far the most intelligent pattern for success I have read regarding our history. Whether we like it or not, it is our history and we cannot erase it. We have to live with it and the best way seems to be his way.

I am 94 years old and I’ve lived in Waco for 54 years. I’m a retired Texas state employee and have always loved Texas. However, I can’t seem to come to terms with what is happening to my beloved country with cancel culture, wokeness, complete ignorance and indifference to anything worthwhile to help the country recover. Legal criminality is leading us back to the Roman era of worshiping idols, power, greed and indulgence.

Please, those of you who can do something, do something.

Ethel Williford, Waco

Misused label

A very disturbing trend has developed in recent years. Persons and institutions with extremely negative views about race, creed and sexual orientation have adopted the word “Christian” and applied it to their ideology. They even selectively quote scripture to bolster their legitimacy. The word Christian has become a dog whistle to convey a particular mindset. The preemptive use of the term Christian also serves to delegitimize existing usage by those who sincerely believe themselves to be Christian.

Enter Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, and his criticism of Baylor University. Jeffress is criticizing Baylor for calling itself Christian and somewhat belatedly reaching out to LGBTQ people to make them feel more accepted as students at Baylor. This does not conform to his self-proclaimed opinion of what a Christian should believe or what it should do. He is not so much concerned about Baylor’s policy as he is concerned that Baylor may be misusing his dog whistle to entice students to enroll at Baylor. He has a point. Baylor’s well-documented checkered past and its continued claiming of a religious exemption from anti-discrimination laws could easily confuse people into thinking that Baylor is also misusing its Christian label. They might question whether Baylor is really sincere about its changed attitude.

Baylor needs to do some serious soul-searching about exactly what it means to be a Christian university in today’s pluralistic world. Baylor should consider whether its continued description of itself as a Christian university in today’s hyperpartisan environment serves any useful purpose. Baylor is naive to believe that calling itself Christian doesn’t carry with it negative connotations. Baylor needs to convey to the world, clearly and precisely, who it is and what it believes. As a self-described Christian university, Baylor still claims the right to a religious exemption from laws that the rest of us have to follow. Baylor claims to support the biblical interpretation of marriage as between one man and one woman. Fine. But what business is it of an academic institution of higher learning to tell its adult students and faculty who they can love and legally marry? The days of covering up and deliberate obfuscation are over. You cannot profess one thing and practice something different. Christians should never want to have it both ways. Jesus didn’t and neither should his followers.

W. Richard Turner, Woodway

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