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Baptist Newspaper Criticizes Seminary Maintenance Decision

The Kentucky Baptist Convention newspaper has published an editorial challenging Southern Seminary President Al Mohler’s assertion that there is “no inconsistency” in the conservative seminary outsourcing its campus maintenance to a company friendly to gays.

EthicsDaily.com first reported March 21 that Sodexho, a large facilities-management firm which took over the seminary’s maintenance April 1, has a strong commitment to diversity, recognizing a homosexual networking group and celebrating Gay Pride Month on the corporate calendar.

While the Western Recorder didn’t break the story, Editor Trennis Henderson wrote in this week’s editorial, “It still is newsworthy for Kentucky Baptists and others who support Southern Seminary through the Cooperative Program and other means.”

Henderson admitted there is a fine line in obeying the Bible’s command to “be in the world but not of the world,” but one key is “consistency.”

“Mohler frequently speaks out not only against homosexuality, but against many other moral and social concerns,” Henderson wrote. “He hosts a weekday radio program, posts daily Web logs and is a frequent guest on ‘Larry King Live’ and other shows, espousing a commitment to “be in the world but not of the world.”

The editorial quoted Mohler’s 1995 sermon to the Southern Baptist Convention, where he warned: “When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome and conviction inconvenient, consider that denomination well on its way to a well-deserved death. We take our stand upon the great essential truths of biblical faith, even when the world is at war with that truth.”

Two years later Southern Baptists passed their famous resolution calling for a boycott of The Disney Company. Among concerns cited by Disney critics were the company’s domestic-partner benefits and allowing the continuation of “Gay Days” at theme parks. “Sound familiar?” Henderson asked.

“Just last year, when the SBC voted to cut ties to Baptist World Alliance, one of the charges was a ‘guilt by association’ claim that one small association in the BWA-related American Baptist Churches USA is ‘committed to being a gay-friendly place for churches and people of that disposition,'” he wrote.

“If failing to maintain ‘inconvenient’ convictions was an issue a decade ago or even nine months ago, why is it any different today?” Henderson asked. “Is Southern Seminary’s voluntary business contract with Sodexho an exception?”

Mohler told a Louisville Courier-Journal columnist that “even though there may be some irony in this, there is no inconsistency.”

Being “in the world but not of it,” Mohler told columnist David Hawpe, “requires incredible discernment and a lot of reflection. If at any point (the Sodexho connection) becomes counterproductive for Southern Seminary, we can make another decision.”

The Western Recorder editorial commented: “Perhaps now is the time for Mohler and other seminary officials to use ‘incredible discernment and a lot of reflection’ about the school’s ongoing business relationship with Sodexho.

“It’s difficult to tell the world you’re against homosexuality and gay rights while choosing to help line the coffers of a multi-billion-dollar, gay-friendly corporation.

“What does it take to be in this world but not of it? One major ingredient is consistency.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

Previous related stories:
Company Hired by Southern Seminary Supports Diversity
Mohler Defends Contract with Gay-Friendly Firm60 Percent of Dismissed Seminary Maintenance Workers Rehired