North Carolina College Makes Teachers Sign Vow Opposing Gay Marriage, Abortion
A private Christian college in North Carolina is insisting that its faculty and staff sign a document affirming their opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, a requirement that is facing resistance from at least nine professors.
News media outlets have been reporting on Montreat College's new "Community Life Covenant," which requires all staff to endorse "the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman" and the "worth of every human being from conception to death."
Opponents of the covenant's language blame the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which contributed $100,000 to the college's scholarship fund last year. The fund is led by Franklin Graham, a Montreat alumnus and outspoken challenger of both marriage equality and abortion rights. The association has denied any role in the covenant.
School spokesperson Adam Caress told The Charlotte Observer that only two faculty members have cited the school's "core documents," which include the covenant, as the reason for why they won't be returning to the college after this semester.
He went on to say that Montreat has spent the past two years "reviewing and revising" those core documents in a "transparent and deliberative process" that included various "listening sessions," during which the administration heard and responded to the concerns of the student body and faculty.
Corrie Greene, an English professor who is one of nine staff members to speak out against the covenant, said the document doesn't just pertain to what faculty do and say in the classroom.
"It says we must affirm and uphold the college’s specific spiritual stances in our full 24 hour/seven-day-a-week personal life," Greene said. "I can’t let somebody else write my personal testimony. In my faith, Christ is constantly showing me something new."
A group of students gathered outside the school library last Wednesday to protest the document. Organizer Baily Mathews said she wanted to persuade President Paul Maurer to "consider [Montreat] a family and reconsider some things... [to] fix our broken family."
She added that she'll be leaving Montreat if the covenant doesn't change: “I was going to stay and I planned on graduating from here, but now, no.”