My financial support of SMU ended officially several years ago when the powers-that-be decided that University policy would be to extend employee health benefits to the domestic partners of homosexual employees. I corresponded several times with the University President to find out why they thought that was good idea, particularly when the denomination from which the University takes its name still rejects the idea that homosexuality should be normalized. Instead (at least at the time of this writing), they recognize that it is counter to Biblical teaching.
The initial response I got was that it was a “competitive employment issue,” as a number of major employers in the Dallas area offered similar benefits. I suggested to the President that, using that reasoning, it would be logical and infinitely fair to extend employee health benefits to the domestic partners of unmarried heterosexual employees. That would result in the University being a really “competitive” employer. Their response was that they considered that to be “an undermining of the institution of marriage.”
Now don’t misunderstand me, I was not advocating the extension of benefits to domestic partners of unmarried employees, irrespective of their sexual preferences, but rather pointing out the startling inconsistency in their logic. If “being competitive” was important, why hold back by limiting themselves to being only attractive to prospective homosexual employees? Are there not single but cohabitating heterosexual persons that would make good employees? I suspect that the current policy is really more of an endorsement (or MAYBE even advocacy) of the homosexual lifestyle, than it was a needs-based initiative, that need being to attract people to employment by the University.
So, more recently, as I was thumbing through the University’s most recent alumni magazine, a particular article caught my attention. It provided reinforcement beyond my original reasons for why SMU does not receive my financial support. Here is the text of the article:
Series Highlights Impact of Charles Darwin
When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, he changed the course of science with the turn of a page. Throughout 2009, SMU schools and departments will celebrate the 150th anniversary of this book and the 200th birthday of the author through a series of lectures, exhibits and presentations, “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.” (emphasis mine) Confirmed events include:
A Meadows School of the Arts theatrical reading from “Inherit the Wind,” the iconic play about the “Scopes Monkey Trial” Feb. 12.
A speech by National Medal of Science winner Francisco Ayala, author of Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, Feb. 20.
A panel discussion on the Pennsylvania case barring a public school district from teaching “intelligent design,” Sept. 24
Other speakers will address Darwin’s impact from the perspectives of biology, ecology, philosophy, anthropology and theology.
In addition, from Sept. 8 through Dec. 9, DeGolyer Library will exhibit every edition of On The Origins of Species published during Darwin’s lifetime, with reactions from the popular press and scientific community.
So as to be fair, I admit that I am grateful for the education I received from SMU. My degree from what is now known as the Cox School of Business is something I am proud of and it is respected in the marketplace. I will also be the first to acknowledge that the free exchange of ideas is a long standing tradition in the university setting, and I applaud the continuation of those exchanges. And I will also concede that not all ideas presented need to conform to mine.
Also, the trustees or board of governors (or whatever they call themselves) have the power to effect any kind of employee benefit program they want to, so long as it does not run afoul of state or federal statues. And, I guess that about all I can hope for is that they follow their consciences. That said, for as long as their policies and academic pursuits continue along the lines described above, they can do all of that without my financial assistance.
You see, that is how I follow MY conscience.
Note: If on the off chance anyone from SMU reads this, I’ll even offer to SAVE you some money by suggesting that you not mail fund raising materials to me, or spend any time or money on phone solicitation. Unless of course you call or write to say that you are repenting from the matters described above (and probably some others that I am not even unaware of.)