Why are Christian colleges exempt from academic freedom?


If there’s anything that has demolished any patience I might have had for conservative discourse, it’s the sheer amount of projection that occurs. The whole “universities churning out fragile snowflake pee-see wimps” canard is painfully ironic considering how strictly controlled students, teachers, and the curricula are for conservative faith-based colleges:

Places like the College of the Ozarks have made the choice to erect barriers around their students in pursuit of comfortable sameness. They ensure that no student will ever be forced to encounter a significantly divergent idea in the classroom, and they preserve unity of thought by means such as requiring prospective faculty to submit letters of recommendations from their pastors. Such practices are common among evangelical universities, including at Wheaton College in the Chicago area. Sometimes called the “Harvard of Christian schools,” Wheaton tried to fire professor Larycia Hawkins last year for writing on Facebook that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” Hawkins, an African-American political scientist, had clashed for several years with Wheaton authorities over her refusal to conform her personal theology to the confines of the Wheaton statement of faith and educational purpose. Here it’s not merely required that one be a Christian, as Hawkins is, but that one profess a specific set of theological principles.

To be clear, the hundreds of colleges that impose doctrine on their students are well within their rights to do so. Moreover, many religiously affiliated institutions rely on their spiritual identity as a foundation for engaging the broader world, rather than as a means to erect barriers around their students. Dominican, where I taught, is one of those. Somehow, though, America’s extensive discourse around academic freedom, political correctness, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and snowflakes never extends to talk about the explicitly exclusionary, safe, trigger-free (except on rifles), snowflake-ridden campuses like the College of the Ozarks.

Read more by David Perry.

-Shiv

 

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