Feb 06 2010

The Left at Christian Universities, part 17: The intolerant lovers of “tolerance”

Category: higher education,society,theologyharmonicminer @ 9:15 am

The previous post in this series is here.

This post is less about the Left AT Christian Universities than it is about the pressures of the Left ON Christian Universities, although the latter is mostly made possible by the presence of the former.  That is, the Left outside of Christian Universities will only be able to pressure them into making concessions with the help of Leftists inside those institutions who encourage leaders to succumb to the pressure.

Blacklisting a Christian University Much more at the link.

According to the Langley Advance, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Canadian version of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), has issued a report stating that Christian universities fail to provide faculty members with academic freedom. Specifically the report places Trinity Western University in British Columbia on its list of universities and colleges that have a faith or ideological test as a condition of employment.

There are also professional academic organizations in the USA that are considering taking the position that universities may not require any particular beliefs or lifestyle commitments on the part of employees or job applicants.   This is especially humorous since there are all kinds of “unofficial litmus tests” that virtually any faculty member must accept in order to be hired in the modern university.   Those tests are defended with positively religious fervor, though they are not religious in nature.  Far from it.

Try to get in a job in a university these days if you say in the job interview that you don’t think “diversity” should be a higher value for the university than simply getting the most competent faculty and best prepared students it can get.

It would be wise not to volunteer in the job interview that you think anthropogenic global warming is an enormous scam.

If you happen to think that the Iraq war was a proper use of American military power, it would be wise not to say so until you have tenure.

Do you think that God created human beings in a special act of creation (whether you are an “old earth” creationist, a “young earth” creationist, an “intelligent design” proponent, etc.)?  Just don’t bring it up, and sidestep any questions that may touch on it.

Do you think Sarah Palin would have been better for the USA than Barrack Obama?  Unless you desire to be laughed at as you exit your unsuccessful job interview, don’t let on.

Do you think economic growth and the spread of capitalism is a better aid program for the third world than permanent entitlements in the form of foreign aid?  Better not say so.

Do you think that God’s Word in scripture means pretty much what it says, and that historical understandings of its theological and moral content are correct?  Learn to beat the quasi-polygraph on this one, since, obviously, only bigots and haters believe this.

There are pieties to which all must make obeisance in the world of academia, and they are pretty much the exact reverse of the positions just stated.  Sadly, these same pieties may be defended by all too many in Christian universities as well, and defended more vigorously, at times, than the bedrock commitments one would have thought more central to their mission.

The only question remaining is if Christian universities are going to capitulate to the very real pressures that come along with seeking respectability in the eyes of the secular academic world.   When Christian universities do succumb, it isn’t really the pressures from outside that make it happen….  it’s the pressure from inside.

The scary thing is that those applying that pressure will be quoting scripture as they do it.

The next post in this series is here.

8 Responses to “The Left at Christian Universities, part 17: The intolerant lovers of “tolerance””

  1. anthony says:

    Well, I guess the nice thing about the SDA universities is that the really liberal ones are just starting to let their students have television in the dorms. May be some time left before they are completely consumed.

  2. Melody says:

    A girl who graduated from the public high school where I teach and was in my choir for 4 years is a freshman at Trinity this year. I haven’t seen her since she left but probably will see her parents next week. I actually heard rumblings about similar attacks on this particular school about 10 years ago when I was visiting an EV Free church in the bay area. We need to pray that the trustees will stand firm.

    Here is an interesting quote from the article referenced above: “Requiring commitments to ideologies such as diversity and climate action is not protected by the AAUP provisions for religious aims, yet neither the AAUP nor the CAUT believe it poses a threat to academic freedom.”

    And another: “Many colleges and universities profess a commitment to academic freedom but at the same time espouse social and political doctrines that subvert it.”

    I think that Christian colleges loose their bearings when they begin to view the accolades of the secular world with envy. There was at one time an accrediting organization (maybe Western Association of Christian Schools) that gave a seal of approval to Christian schools. That quickly became inadequate for many Christians who were climbing the secular social latter – particularly in academics. Soon the accrediation from any Christian organization became an embarassment. Here is a list from APU’s current website on their accrediations:

    Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). [THIS IS NOT A CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION!]

    -The School of Nursing’s programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
    -The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
    -The Doctor of Psychology Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the
    -Athletic Training Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
    -The School of Theology is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the
    -School of Business and Management is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
    -The School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the
    -Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
    -teacher education programs approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and Licensing (CCTC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), AUTHORIZING elementary and secondary school teaching. The
    -American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) is accredited by the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP).

    Nowhere is there listed anything accredation that looks any different from the secular world. It’s not that these organizations are inherently evil, but they are not even reomtely interested in Biblical truth.

    Oh, and lest we forget, “Azusa Pacific University held its place for the second year in the most prestigious category of the U.S.News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2009, ranking in the third tier of the national category. Additionally, for the first time, APU ranked ninth among the best up-and-coming national universities. Previously, APU was ranked in the top 25 schools within the Western Universities-Master’s category, enjoying prominent placement and recognition for outstanding first-year and service-learning programs.” And who better to tell us how great we are than the prestigeous U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT?

    Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

    1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    Having said all of this, I probably come across as ‘holier than thou’ yet these are the same struggles I deal with daily. Will my faith get in the way of my popularity? Will I be willing to give up my job, my community standing, my professional standing or anything else for the sake of Jesus Christ and Him crucified? When I don’t see other Christians doing that it is very hard to stand alone. I find myself keeping silent where I should not, quite often. God forgive me.

  3. amuzikman says:

    I wonder what might happen if a Christian university was forced to choose between accreditation and remaining true to it’s statement of faith.

  4. Melody says:

    The only way that would happen would be if they suddenly had a majority of committed born-again believers on their board of trustees who would take the heat and make it happen. It would be law-suit city, you know.

  5. innermore says:

    When I was at APU, I greatly appreciated the faith and talents of the instructors. But that personal appreciation was always totally separate from the curriculum! At least in my small mind. It’s been 30 years, but I think I remember right. Politics were studied in the Social Sciences Department. Religious views were studied in the Religious Studies Department. Environmentalism was studied in the Agricultural Department. Who’s bright idea was it to mix it all together and get everybody all riled up? And who’s the rat that exposed every single conversation in a classroom, faculty lounge, and dormitory to CNN?

  6. harmonicminer says:

    Well, here’s the truth of it. In modern academia, virtually every conversation, in way too many departments, has become political. That certainly includes psychology, sociology, theology, biblical studies, english, history, global studies, education, nursing, art, etc.

    That’s because all these topics are being seen through the lenses of deconstruction, of “feminist readings” of sources, of “diversity,” of “power relationships,” etc.

    Every professor thinks he or she should be king… or at least Prime Minister.

  7. innermore says:

    Cat’s-Out-The-Bag theory. Just like much of the teaching of mathematics was radically obsoleted due to the invention of the pocket calculator, the entire method of education is suffering severe upheaval due to the invention/implementation of the internet. Has wi-fi stripped away the exclusive teaching-learning authority of academia? Since nobody can teach or study anything anymore that can’t be Googled, has college become nothing more than an institution of higher opinion? That’s a pretty lame survivor-instinct reaction to radical institutional change. What else does some of the more insighted among you suggest needs to be done?

  8. harmonicminer says:

    One problem is that there’s a difference between having access to information and understanding it. Most faculty in universities don’t know anymore than anyone else about anything outside a very narrow specialty. But there is such a push for “interdisciplinary” programs these days that faculty kid themselves into thinking they know more than they do about things outside their immediate expertise. So we have English profs who think they’re foreign policy experts, Global Studies profs who think their opinion on economic theory actually matters, Sociology profs who quote scripture to prove that Jesus would have been a socialist, and so on, and on.

    Part of it is that people confuse information with concepts. You can know a bunch of facts, but not tie them together coherently. And too many don’t bother to inform themselves of “counterfactuals” or items that may refute their cherished opinions.

    Normal people get to do that. But when you’re willing to stand up in front of a class and pontificate on matters outside your expertise, you’ve erred. Seriously.

    I DON’T mean merely a “side opinion” that an instructor happens to toss out on the way to something else. Students can, and should, give that opinion exactly the same weight they would give to a side opinion from any other person, i.e., not much, unless it makes sense to them.

    But too many profs use their professorial authority to pretend that their “side opinions”, far outside their expertise, are some kind of received wisdom.

    Some of us (like me) choose to blog to give our thoughts on the world, but don’t spend much or any class time on them. Some profs, sadly, make it an actual part of the course.

    Which may be why Dennis Prager has a standard question he asks when someone says something really stupid to him:

    “Where did you go to graduate school?”

    Here’s a movie I recommend: http://www.indoctrinate-u.com/intro/

    It tells a sad story about the state of American higher ed.

Leave a Reply