Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ken Starr Goes To Baylor

The Lone Star State has a new star....Ken Starr. The largest Baptist university in America, Baylor University, has named Ken Starr as it's new President. In an open letter to the university Regents, one Pastor/Professor at Baylor said, "The key to success of great movements or institutions is the ability to gather a diverse community around a common mission. .....It seemed clear to all that the next President of Baylor be more like a Billy Graham than a Karl Rove".

Ken Starr was Solicitor General under George W. Bush, was the Independent Council who pursued the Whitewater investigation, Vince Foster's death, and the Lewinsky affair during the Clinton years. He oversaw the House Impeachment of Bill Clinton and his Senate trial to remove him from office, which was rejected by the Senate. Starr most recently, while head of the Law School at Pepperdine University, lead the State of California effort to defeat Proposition 8, which dealt with legalizing same sex marriages.

In choosing Starr, it does not appear that "gathering a diverse community around a common mission" is on the minds of the Regent members. It is hard to figure how the selection of Starr in any way furthers the cause of combining of faith and learning. As another person close to Baylor put it, "they appear to be wrapping Jesus in an American flag to promote the positions of the Republican Party and the conservative movement". Jesus certainly never tried to impose his teachings or ethics on anyone. He never sought to use the power of government or politics in advancing his message.

Baylor has been divided over issues of the day such as gay marriage, the unborn, bible interpretation, and the like, for sometime. With the selection of a President, it seems they would have moved in the direction of more openly encouraging the pursuit of truth, of examining scripture as it relates to the challenges of the 21st century, and of struggling with the idea of what "church" should be, and how it should look, in the 21st century. It is hard to see how the choice of Ken Starr, one of the most polarizing political figures in recent history, advances any of those goals.

Someone said to me, "not alot of people are concerned about who the President of Baylor is. No one seems to be spending alot of time on the subject." A favorite and popular poem comes to mind about the inactivity of German intellectuals during the rise of Hitler. "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out ---because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was was no one to speak out." I am Baptist, I love my faith, I love the freedom of thought and worship my Baptist faith affords me, and I will speak out.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (my previous comment was removed by me).
    There appears to be a groundswell of support, and benefit of the doubt, building for Starr's appointment from those who would oppose him due to his philosophical orientation. While concerns persist, this should certainly be viewed as a good and positive development. His appointment and tenure will be interesting and important to follow.


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