Home Christian News Baptist School, Samford University, Cuts Ties With LGBTQ-Affirming Ministries Amid Student Outcry

Baptist School, Samford University, Cuts Ties With LGBTQ-Affirming Ministries Amid Student Outcry

Samford University
Dozens of people participate in a silent protest against Samford University's LGBTQ policies, outside of an event being held by Samford’s Office of Spiritual Life, Sept. 20, 2022, at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Video screen grab courtesy of Brit Blalock

(RNS) — When Sarah Grace Moses enrolled as a freshman at Samford University, a Baptist school in Birmingham, Alabama, four years ago, she still had doubts that the school was the right fit.

“When I was coming to Samford, I was not necessarily out (as a lesbian), but I was worried about it being an issue for me. I was going to spend four years here, and when I Googled LGBTQ things at Samford, the first thing that came up was Samford Together not being allowed,” said Moses, referring to a now-defunct LGBTQ student group.

A few years later, Samford has again made headlines for its opposition to LGBTQ groups, this time for disinviting representatives from at least three LGBTQ-affirming campus ministry groups and churches to its annual ministry fair. On Friday (Sept. 30), president Beck A. Taylor addressed the matter in a video message.

“(W)e’ve decided to limit Samford’s formal ministry partnerships with churches and organizations that support Samford’s traditional view of human sexuality and marriage,” said Taylor. “Formal ministry partners have special privileges, such as enjoying direct access to students on campus, reserving spaces for programming and receiving the implied endorsement of our campus ministry staff.”

Taylor added that Samford would not be excluding LGBTQ students or students and faculty who belong to progressive denominations.

“We at Samford love all of our students — each one — regardless of belief, background experience, race, gender, ethnicity or identity, because each is a child of God made in God’s image,” he said.

RELATED: Jon Meacham Pulled From Samford University Event Over Ties to Planned Parenthood

A spokesperson for Samford pointed RNS to Taylor’s video statement but declined to comment further in time for publication.

Madison Vaughn, the ministry coordinator for UKirk Birmingham, a regional Presbyterian college ministry, learned on the morning of Aug. 31 that UKirk was disinvited to a ministry fair happening on Samford’s campus that day because of the group’s LGBTQ-affirming theology.

Vaughn told RNS that Samford’s Spiritual Life team ignored her initial inquiries about attending the fair, then said UKirk wouldn’t be able to attend due to limited space. It was only later that a representative from the Office of Spiritual Life made clear that their exclusion was a matter of theological disagreement.

“I was very upset,” said Vaughn. “But they are a private institution, so I didn’t know what I could do except reach out to students I had connections with and say ‘hey, we will keep doing what we’re doing.’”

Two other groups, an Episcopalian group called Trinity Commons and a progressive Baptist church, also said they were barred from the event due to their LGBTQ-affirming theology.

On Sept. 20, several dozen students, faculty, staff and members of the Birmingham community held a silent protest outside of an event being held by Samford’s Office of Spiritual Life. The student-led protest requested that LGBTQ-affirming churches be welcome at the ministry fair, that the school approve a gay/straight alliance and that the school pass anti-discrimination policy to protect LGBTQ students.