The University was founded by the Union Baptist Association of Houston and is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Convention). This Convention is a Baptist general body whose constituency is the cooperating Baptist churches of Texas. It is an “association of churches” in the terminology of the Internal Revenue Code. According to the University’s bylaws, a supermajority of the members of the University’s trustees must be active members of a Baptist church. Furthermore, all of the trustees must be professing Christians who adhere to the University’s preamble.
Houston Baptist University is exempt from provisions of Title VII and Title IX to the extent that applications of those provisions would not be consistent with the religious tenets of the Convention regarding marriage, sex outside of marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity (including but not limited to transgender status), pregnancy, and abortion. HBU identifies those Title IX provisions to be as follows:
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.21 including but not limited (b)(iii)(governing differential treatment on the basis of sex in admissions); and (C) (governing admissions prohibition on the basis or marital or parental status).
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.23 (governing nondiscriminatory recruitment).
Education Programs or Activities:
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.31 (b) (4) (governing different rules of behavior or sanctions), and (b) (7) (otherwise limiting any person in the enjoyment of any right, etc.);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.32 (governing housing);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.33 (governing comparable facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.37 (governing financial assistance);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.40 (governing different rules based on marital or parental status of students); and
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.41 (governing athletics).
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.51 (governing employment);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.52 (employment criteria);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.53 (recruitment);
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.57 (governing the consideration of marital or parental status in employment decisions); and
- 34 C.F.R. § 106.60 (governing pre-employment inquiries).
In regard to marriage, sex outside of marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy and abortion, the
Convention has repeatedly spoken. For example, in 2009, the Convention adopted a resolution titled On Sexual Ethics. The Convention has declared “… the Bible teaches that the ideal for sexual behavior is the marital union between husband and wife and that all other sexual relations – whether premarital, extramarital, or homosexual – are contrary to God’s purposes and thus sinful.” Since 1980, the Convention has on six occasions stated its religious beliefs opposing abortion. The Convention has declared its religious belief that “gender is based on biological attributes and is seen as a gift from God and immutable .”
In 1998 the Convention adopted an addition to its previously adopted statement of Baptist Faith and Message which includes the following expression of religious tenets of the Convention:
XVIII. THE FAMILY
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His Church, and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
On February 23, 2015, the Executive Board of the Convention adopted a Resolution on Transgender Issues as follows:
- WHEREAS, the Bible is the authority for faith and practice by Texas Baptists, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and BGCT institutions; and
- WHEREAS, the Bible states that God created humanity as two genders, male and female, and this includes Jesus’ own affirmation (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6); and
- WHEREAS, in the Bible gender is based on biological attributes and is seen as a gift from God and immutable; and
- WHEREAS, some people today are expressing a desire to identify themselves with the gender which differs from their biological gender; and
- WHEREAS, some of these persons are seeking to function in the broader society as if they are members of the gender that differs from their biological gender; therefore
- BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas express great concern with the emergence of the transgender agenda and the notion that one’s gender is determined psychologically, not biologically; and
- BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we affirm that in creation God made male and female as biological gender assignment; and
- BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we desire for all people, including those who consider themselves transgender, to be treated with love and respect but that such love and respect not be construed as approval behavior, and
- BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we seek to minister to all persons, including those who consider themselves transgender.
The University’s policies are rooted in the Convention’s religious tenets. Application of a regulation would not be consistent with these tenets if the regulation prohibited the institution from following its policies, that is, if the regulation prohibited the University:
From engaging in recruiting and admissions under a policy which called for the consideration of an applicant for admission’ s sexual orientation, gender identity (including but not limited to transgendered status), marital status, past and present practice regarding marriage, sex outside of marriage, pregnancy, and abortion (these considerations collectively referred to hereafter as student and employee ”behavior’”), and prohibited the institution from treating that person differently as a result of that consideration;
From subjecting students to rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment because of these student behaviors. Examples would be the institution’ s rules regarding eligibility for employment of the student by the institution; the assignment of housing, restrooms and locker rooms, and restrictions to athletic activities by birth sex; rules prohibiting homosexual conduct including but not limited to a prohibition of a student’ s engaging in sex with a person of his or her birth sex; prohibition of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman; sanctions as the result of pregnancy and abortion; and
From making all employment decisions, including but not limited to selection criteria and preemployment inquiries, recruitment, the decision to employ, retention decisions, and decisions regarding sanctions, in a manner which takes into consideration these employee behaviors.