The two schools:
Mercer University is a top tier private school in Macon, Georgia. It had a long history of affiliation with the Georgia Baptist Convention but is no longer connected to or funded by the GBC.
Shorter University is a Georgia Baptist school, closely held and controlled by the GBC, and that after a failed attempt by earlier trustees to sever ties with the GBC and transfer the school's assets to an entity not controlled by the GBC.
Mercer has just approved a policy granting domestic partner benefits for gays. Mercer is also hosting a Baptist sexuality conference next year.
Shorter has just required all employees to sign a personal lifestyle statement that pledges rejection of unbiblical sexual activity, including homosexual activity.
Mercer is a superior educational institution. Shorter is held in lower regard in academic reputation.
Shorter makes national news with their pointedly conservative, many use the term 'fundamentalist', stance on morality, homosexuality, and Biblical inerrancy.
Mercer makes news, though not national news, by granting gays domestic partner benefits.
Mercer and some connected with the school, including Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (co-sponsor of the conference on Baptist sexuality), may (and please note my partisan speculation rather than fact here) be among the first Baptists to outline a theology of affirmation and acceptance of homosexuality.
No Georgia Baptist Convention church contributes to Mercer through their Cooperative Program gifts but they do contribute to Shorter which receives over one million dollars annually from the GBC.
Mercer is on very solid long term footing and its future looks strong and secure. Enrollment is growing at Shorter and its short to medium future looks strong.
When Southern Baptist life began to splinter thirty years ago, it was probably a good and necessary thing, something these two schools illustrate. My reading of SBC and state convention life is that the experiences of these two schools and their affiliations is typical. Does anyone think that we could all just go along and get along with each other and cooperate with such a contrast in beliefs and practices? Surely not.
Baptists have a clear choice. Let each one choose.