Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS) -- located in Nashville, Tennessee -- has installed an openly lesbian clergywoman as the school's new dean, the Christian News website reports today (October 9, 2013).
The school's "Commitments" page states that the institution "is committed to the faith that brought the church into being," but advocates "a critical and open examination of the Hebraic and Christian traditions." In particular, VDS is devoted to "confronting the homophobia that prevails throughout much of the church and society."
"We recognize the rights of lesbians and gay men within the religious community and the need for the eradication of civil discrimination based on sexual orientation," the commitments page continues.
In keeping with these beliefs, the VDS has officially appointed Emilie Townes as the 16th dean of the school. Not only is Townes an ordained American Baptist clergywoman, but she is also an overt homosexual. A news article on the VDS website described her as "a pioneering scholar in the field of womanist theology."