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Baylor University Treats Premarital Sex the Same as Rape and Incest

Baylor University Treats Premarital Sex the Same as Rape and Incest

Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

Baylor University, a conservative Baptist school in the heart of Texas, has been attempting to amend its student conduct code to appear to be more tolerant of LGBT individuals. On Thursday, the student senate approved language that would remove the term “homosexual acts” from the list of sexual activity that is not condoned at the university.

Students who supported the change pointed out that they didn’t want the student code to unfairly target LGBT people. For instance, one Baylor student noted that removing “homosexual acts” will help make LGBT students feel more loved and protected by the rest of the Baylor student body, and represents an important step toward becoming a more caring campus community.

While that’s a valiant goal, the re-wording of the conduct code actually has the potential to make Baylor’s official approach to human sexuality more problematic. If university officials approve the change, the term “homosexual acts” will be replaced with the phrase “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse.” Not only does that new phrase specifically label homosexual relationships as “deviate,” but it also expands the definition of negative sexual activity to include all sex outside of marriage.

The existing language in the code of conduct clarifies this point even further in the lead-up to the phrase that is being amended: “Baylor will be guided by the understanding that sexuality is a gift from the creator God and that the purposes of this gift include (1) the procreation of human life and (2) the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond in self-giving love. These purposed are to be achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Missuses of God’s gift will be understood to include but not limit to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts.”

The policy does not specify how the punishment for a case of “fornication” or “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse” would differ from the punishment for a case of rape or incest. It notes only that “the University shall thoroughly review the facts and circumstances of each allegation of sexual misconduct” to “determine if the allegation is supported by credible evidence,” and “constructive forgiveness will guide all efforts” as university officials deal with each case on an individual basis.

Although it’s not always enshrined into state law or university conduct codes, this position toward extramarital sex is a common position within conservative communities. Earlier this year, the right-wing Family Research Council suggested that the young Americans who have premarital sex should be punished because they don’t deserve the right to engage in sexual intercourse. Fox News has also equated teen sex outside of marriage with “criminal behavior,” suggesting that teens shouldn’t have readily available access to contraception.

These attitudes toward human sexuality helped fuel the abstinence-only movement in the 1990s, which has limited students’ access to accurate sexual health resources and ultimately helped contribute to epidemic levels of STD infections and teen pregnancy rates. Sexual assault prevention advocates also argue that this emphasis on purity has contributed to rape culture, setting up an unhealthy dynamic between male and female sexuality that ultimately erases the lines of consent and encourages victim-blaming.

While institutions like Baylor typically make the claim that premarital or homosexual sex is incompatible with Christianity, other religious communities are taking a radically different approach. In fact, some churches actually choose to integrate comprehensive sex ed into their Sunday School curricula, attempting to model the benefits of discussing sexuality in a positive way within a religious setting.

This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress.

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Photo Credit: Lpret via Wikimedia Commons

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130 comments

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2:46PM PST on Dec 18, 2013

now please tell me again about your gentle loving god??

9:00AM PST on Nov 6, 2013

Thank you for the many bible examples, Kevin B. And James W, the Old Testament IS part of the bible, you know.

8:18AM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

This kind f thing IS idiocy that belongs in the Middle Ages!

3:44AM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

My goodness! Religion like this belongs back in the Dark Ages and I feel so sorry for the young people who are forced (no doubt)to attend institutions like this for their education!Hopefully when they leave,they will evolve into balanced,self-reliant human beings who don't feel like they have to live their every waking moment according to a 2000 year old edict!!!

5:32AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

Any references from the New Testament Kevin?

4:49AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

Incest in the Bible:

Cain and his wife (Genesis 4:16-17)

Abraham and Sara [Genesis 20:12-13]

Nachor and Melcha [Genesis 11:26-29]

Lot and his Daughters [Genesis 19:31-36]

Amram and Jochabed [Exodus 6:19-20]

Amnon and Thamar [II Kings 13:14] Incestuous rape, no less!

4:42AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

10) God Assists Rape and Plunder (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB)

Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB)

4:42AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

9) Sex Slaves (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)



When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

4:41AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

7) Rape of Female Captives (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)

8) Rape and the Spoils of War (Judges 5:30 NAB)

They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil. (Judges 5:30 NAB)

4:40AM PDT on Nov 1, 2013

6) David's Punishment - Polygamy, Rape, Baby Killing, and God's "Forgiveness" (2 Samuel 12:11-14 NAB)
Thus says the Lord: 'I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.'

Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan answered David: "The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die." [The child dies seven days later.]

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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