Soccercoachgate presents Belmont University an opportunity to decide what kind of institution it wants to be when it grows up. As the school ponders its future in relation to the tension between bigotry and tolerance, it may want to think about the kind of national reputation it cultivates when someone writes a comment like this at the Chronicle of Higher Education, the country's premier publication on all things higher ed:
I was, until yesterday’s news, trying and hoping to get into Belmont U. I thought it would be perfect being nearby and having the courses I need for what I want to do in my career. I was a little nervous finding out that the school was a privately owned Christian college but I put myself at ease declaring to myself that, yes, i am a gay woman but I am also a christian who loves and accepts Jesus Christ, so i should not fear rejection..but might not tell of my orientation at all or at least until I am well inside the door.
When i saw this headline on the news yesterday morning my heart just sank for that poor woman who has wrongly lost her job at Belmont just when she and her partner are expecting a baby, needing to buy everything you need for a baby, and it’s just before CHRISTmas.. and it seems to me that these people at Belmont have lost sight of what JESUS stood for. Christianity is slowly dying because of events like this. I do not believe that this poor woman was doing anything BUT adhering to the schools mission, purpose and philosophies. Not only did Belmont fire a capable and deserving woman, they lost future students by demonstrating their hateful hearts. I am one of them. I can't imagine being accepted into the school to possibly be thrown out later in the event that my orientation were provided to them.
Belmont, you may be cutting your own throat this time....Oh, and Belmont, take my application out of your files. I do not wish to be a student of your hateful school.
In a side note on the Belmont thing, The Tennessean's Gail Kerr on Sunday wrote a trenchant column sharply criticizing Belmont for its shabby treatment of "a woman who has been ousted by a Christian university because she is choosing to become a mother in a nontraditional way and refuses to lie about it or hide who she is."
You go, Gail — or so I thought until this morning, when I opened the paper and saw her ode to the magnificence of the Salvation Army — an organization at which Belmont's former soccer coach would likely find the same "welcoming" spirit were she to seek membership or employment. Declaring that "Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex," the organization limits membership to those "who accept and abide by The Salvation Army's doctrine and discipline."