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Resolution On Religious Liberty And Employment Practices

WHEREAS, The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed, on May 24, 1977, a suit in the United States District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for failure to execute and file EEOC Form 6, according to EEOC regulations, which requires specific data on Seminary employees, with particular reference to sex and racial composition of Seminary personnel; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress amended the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S. C. Sec. 20003-1) in 1972 (P. L. 92-261, 92nd Cong.) to provide that the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1964
“shall not apply to . . . a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities,” and

WHEREAS, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an educational institution with a distinctively religious purpose, is a duly incorporated body, is, according to its charter currently in force, “under the patronage, general direction and control of the Baptist denomination of the South as represented by the Southern Baptist Convention, which Convention may establish articles of faith and permanent laws for said Seminary” and shall elect trustees who are “members of regular Baptist churches in cooperation with” the Convention, and, as stated in Seminary Bylaws, “is owned, operated, and controlled by the Southern Baptist Convention,” and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has ruled that one of the “evils” against which the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was designed to afford protection is Government’s active involvement with religion or religious institutions, such involvement being an entanglement in which either Church or State intrudes into the other’s precincts; and

WHEREAS, The Court has ruled that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment withdraws from Government, Federal or State, the exertion of any restraint on the free exercise of religion, and prohibits any invasion of religious liberty by civil authority; and

WHEREAS, The right of a religious institution to discriminate on religious grounds is essential to the institutions protection of its religious purpose and the preservation of its religious character; and

WHEREAS, EEOC cannot demand, verify, or utilize data on the sex, race, or other characteristics of employees of church-related institutions without entering into a continuing, intimate, and excessive entanglement with such institutions, tending to infringe or actually invading religious liberty.

Be it therefore RESOLVED, That we, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention in annual session on June 16, 1977, express our alarm at what seems to us to be EEOC’s unwarranted and unconstitutional intrusion into religious institutions and organizations.

That we pledge our support of Southwestern Seminary as it protects both the Seminary’s religious rights and the rights of all who believe that religion-related education, financed from private funds, has a constitutionally-protected place in our country.

That we urge our pastors and lay members to be alert to the threats to religious liberty dramatized by EEOC’s suit and to express themselves to public officials who serve in the legislative and executive branches of Government.

That we request the officers and staff of this Convention and, especially, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs to represent our interests and concerns in this matter.


WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of life and have placed a relentless emphasis upon freedom of conscience for all, and

WHEREAS, In many places of our world today our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer religious persecution or other abridgements of the free exercise of their faith and the dictates of their conscience.

Be it therefore RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our belief in the free exercise of religion as determined by a free conscience, and that we oppose any discrimination, legal or otherwise, against any individual based upon race, age, gender, or nationality, and that in reaffirming our opposition to such discrimination, we also express our opposition to all governmental efforts to define discrimination in such a way that ridiculous extremes, repugnant to the Christian faith and life, become the law of the land, such as the legalization of homosexual marriages, permitting homosexual couples to adopt children, prohibiting father-son banquets or single-sex choirs, requiring sexually integrated housing and restroom facilities, requiring governmentally financed housing to be made available to persons living in adultery or fornication, prohibiting a draft law that applies to men only, and we urge all citizens to be active in opposing the adoption of such public policies.