Wednesday, September 10, 2003

As I predicted, the howling has begun to replace Baylor University president Robert Sloan. The action in Waco has become amazingly intense. The Faculty Senate voted “no confidence” in Mr. Sloan. A Faculty Senate has no power. This is just a vehicle to express their opinion. They believe the president is violating the “sanctity of academic freedom”, the constant cry of the disgruntled professor. Since a bunch of Baylor science professors signed a document supporting evolution, at a supposedly Bible believing institution, I thought they had a large amount of freedom.

Five of the regents have also issued a letter calling for Mr. Sloan to resign. The detractors have now enlisted former president Herbert Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds complains that the university is being taken over by a “small coterie” who will bring about an “autocratic milieu”, violate soul competency, and cause a general loss of freedom. These are all code words for “religious conservatives”.

I met Mr. Reynolds years ago at the Baptist General Convention of Texas and, frankly, cannot imagine anyone more autocratic. But, you have to admire his vocabulary. It is not everyday you hear the words “coterie”, “milieu”, and “autocratic” in the same paragraph, especially in Waco. At the convention the year I met him, he called my pastor a “sycophant”. He and William Buckley could compete.

If you’re not from around here, or not Baptist, you might not know that Baylor is paranoid that a conservative might sneak on board. (Soul competency is good unless it leads you to become a conservative). In all the panic and confusion of the current mess, or should I say, milieu, a rumor has begun that the regents plan to appoint Ed Young from Houston. Mr. Young is pastor of the huge and successful Second Baptist Church of Houston. Most people would be proud to have him. The problem is, he is a conservative.

Since Baylor has a self perpetuating board, or should I say a small coterie endowed with rights of succession, how could that bunch of liberals ever get around to appointing a conservative? They will not. It is just hysteria.

Mr. Sloan has his supporters, however. They have put their money where their mouths are, donating $1 million to the university. Remember what they say: money talks, “you know what walks”.

Nonetheless, the regents will be tempted to fire Mr. Sloan and make a fresh start. The best way to bury a scandal is to bury all those connected to it, guilty and innocent. Look for a load of shovels to appear.
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