The Aquila Report recently shared the incredible story of a seminary professor at a liberal theological institution who was fired for merely being in the same room when a student was given a particular book. The fact that the professor, Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, allowed the book in his classroom--and did nothing to stop it's contents from actually being read--showed tacit approval of the book's contents, the "powers that be" determined.
So they axed him. Fired him. Cut him. Terminated him.
Hopkins did not give the student the book. He didn't teach from it. He just allowed the book to be present in the liberal-leaning Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta). Apparently administration would have had him to burn it on the spot.
What kind of a book could be so dangerous that its mere presence in an academic classroom would warrant a professor's termination? A book about bomb-making perhaps? Maybe a maniacal manifesto to wreak violence on campus? Child pornography?
The book was Robert A.J. Gagnon's scholarly work, The Bible and Homosexual Practice.
Conservative scholars deem this academic work to be the definitive book on the topic of the Old and New Testament's treatment of homosexual behavior. In the book, Gagnon, a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, argues from a historical, linguistic, textual, and hermeneutical basis that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament agree that homosexuality is out of step with the complimentary design of the two human genders (male and female) and is therefore sinful.
Therein lies the great unacceptable offense: a scholar (Gagnon) has concluded--on the evidence of a plethora of Biblical research--that homosexuality is a sin.
(Also on this topic: The Bible, Homosexuality, and Shellfish).
For many, the book may actually be a rather boring treatise. It is a technical work on the usage of ancient Greek and Hebrew words, interpretive methodology, and contextual issues in Romans 1 and other passages.
But it is the conclusion of this academic work that is so unacceptable: Gagnon concludes that homosexuality is forbidden as a sin, as a simple reading of the relevant Scriptural texts that he exegetes make clear enough.
It cost Hopkins his job for allowing this book to exist in his classroom. Apparently he should have cut it up on the spot or put it through the shredder.
And soon enough, this kind of view-point discrimination might cost you yours.
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. Please consider following on Twitter @matt_everhard