Dear Baylor Administration:

What could be so hard to recognize one of your alumni who brought great fame to your school through a national basketball championship who now languishes in a Russian penal colony and needs to be brought back at home ?

Are you so afraid of MAGA forces knocking on your door that you dare not breathe a word of support to a black lesbian athlete charged with a minor drug offense as part of a cynical political scheme? Do you really believe the conservative lie that she broke Russian law and therefore deserves to be punished so harshly?

It smacks of the same logic that says every time a black American is shot by the police, “he should have just followed instructions.”

You know that the whole The “law and order” schtick is coded language for racism, isn’t it? It’s probably taught in a history or political science class somewhere on campus.

“You know the whole ‘law and order’ schtick is code language for racism, right?”

Or are you so afraid of anti-LGBTQ forces in Baptist churches in Texas that you dare not show your support for a famous woman who is married to another woman? It’s one thing to keep your head in the sand about the presence of gay students on campus, but it’s cruel to ignore a grad in international jeopardy just because she’s gay. It’s not like Brittney Griner is trying to start an LGBTQ support group on campus.

Where is your sense of Christian compassion? One of yours is in peril—held like a pawn in the machinations of a madman—and you can’t even ask her for a time of prayer.

I understand you had a moment silence last night at the women’s basketball game for the tragically killed female soccer players at the University of Virginia. It’s kind and compassionate and appropriate. But why didn’t you do the same – or more – for Brittney Griner?

The only explanation that makes sense is that you are afraid of the MAGA base, somehow thinking that it is essential to your success as a top research university. The reality is that they are not.

The homophobic people on your board and among your alumni do not have the best interests of the university at heart. What they want is a forced conformity to a bygone era. If you don’t believe it, go to Abilene and see what they did to Hardin-Simmons University.

“The reality is that you still have local regents and pastors who support conversion therapy – and you haven’t said a word about that either.”

Many of us have been patient with your slow march towards LGBTQ student and alumni inclusion because we thought you were at least going in the right direction. There have been some glimmers of hope, even benevolence, in recent years. But the reality is that you still have local regents and pastors who support conversion therapy – and you haven’t said a word about that either.

Remember the words of Jesus, who taught us that true religion is shown by visiting prisoners: “Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of them who are my family, you did it to me.

jesus is waiting for you recognize the image of God in Brittney Griner and work for her release on moral and humanitarian grounds.

To be silent is to betray the very essence of what it means to be a Christian university. And right now, your silence is deafening.

Maybe Griner was right in her memory when she wrote: “The more I think about it, the more I feel like the people who run the school want it both ways: they want to keep the (anti-gay) policy, so they can keep selling themselves as a Christian university, but they are more than happy to benefit from the success of their gay athletes. That is, as long as these gay athletes don’t talk about being gay.

The person currently sitting in a Russian penal colony is not just a famous gay athlete. He is a human being worthy of love and respect. Why is it so hard to talk about it?

Mark Wingfield

Mark Wingfield is executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global.

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Why don’t we defend Brittney Griner? | Opinion of Rodney Kennedy

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