SBC seminary intends to enforce Biden vaccine mandate

SBC Seminary requires mission trips to graduate, and all valid trips require proof of vaccination.

SBC seminary mocks students concerned about Covid vaccination.

A Southern Baptist Convention seminary plans to fully enforce Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) cited the potential OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) fines as a reason it was enforcing the mandate.

In documents sent to the Capstone Report, SEBTS Executive Vice President Ryan Hutchinson told SEBTS faculty and staff that “Employers who are found not in compliance with the OSHA ETS will face penalties of a minimum of ~$9,000 up to a maximum of ~$137,000.”

Other documents sent to the Capstone Report detailed the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Face Covering Policy. According to this document, “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) encourages all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to protect themselves and other employees. However, should an employee choose not to be vaccinated, this policy’s sections on testing and face coverings will apply. This policy complies with OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard on Vaccination and Testing (29 CFR 1910.501).”

You can view the entire document below.

Even before the Biden mandate, students were faced with a dilemma: take the vaccination or face the possibility the might not be able to graduate. At SEBTS, some degrees require mission trips. However, as one student told the Capstone Report, all the mission trip options available through the Center for Great Commission Studies to SEBTS students require proof of vaccination.

For example, the Hunt Scholar Program which allows a student to earn an ungraduated and M.Div. in only five years also requires two mission trips. To graduate students must take Miss 3991 and/or Miss 3990 through the Center for Great Commission Studies.

Every trip listed on the Center for Great Commission Studies website requires proof of vaccination.

For example, the Mission Trip to Los Angeles March 5-12, 2022, states, “COVID-19 VACCINATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS. PROOF OF VACCINATION MUST BE PROVIDED TO CGCS TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE TRAVEL DATE.”

On that same page, every other mission trip lists the same requirement.

One student expressed skepticism about needing the vaccine to graduate.

“So, basically through the backdoor,” SEBTS is enforcing the vaccination mandates, the student told the Capstone Report.

SEBTS would count mission trips done through local churches; however, we are told that those trips must be 30 days for credit. In contrast, the vaccine requiring trips through the Center for Great Commission Studies are only a week.

Also, the school leadership mocked students who were reluctant to get the vaccine in a 2021 email. Here is the text of an April 5, 2021, email from SEBTS Executive VP Ryan Hutchinson mocking anyone who has not received the vaccine.

Dear Students,

Starting Wednesday, April 7th, Governor Cooper is opening access to all North Carolinians that are 16 years of age or older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Southeastern’s policy is that we are strongly encouraging you to get the vaccine, but we are not requiring it.

I have been fully vaccinated at this point and things are going well. On a positive note, I have started to regrow hair on my head, although it is a glow in the dark green color. I have also found that wearing wide shoes for my right foot accommodates the extra toe that I have grown. Google tells me this is all temporary, so there really isn’t anything to worry about.

There are many places through which you can sign up to get the vaccine. Some of those are WakeMed, Duke, Walgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club (although you will have to buy 72 shots – just kidding), and the Wake County Health Department just to name some of them. Also, if appointments are short in Wake County, some have found success signing up for an appointment in one of the surrounding counties.

Please note that this only applies to North Carolina. If you live someplace else, please consult your state’s department of health website for information on your vaccine eligibility.

Also, the good news is that by the end of the writing of this email, all of those side effects I mentioned above have already disappeared and were probably just a figment of my imagination.

Thank you in advance for getting your vaccine, to help protect yourself and those around you. We are looking forward to a Fall semester where campus operations will be back to normal, Lord willing.

Students and other Southern Baptists expressed frustration at the way SEBTS has accepted the Biden Administration’s mandate, the manner that SEBTS leadership insults those who have not taken the vaccines, and how graduation requirements enforce a vaccination mandate through the backdoor.