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Confirmation from Berkeley: Law Professors Heavily Lean Left

Posted on November 10th, 2010 Thought Reform,Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

We have frequently written about how academia is far to the left ideologically of the rest of the country and the impact that this has on students.   Still the skeptics remain, but now we have confirmation from that bastion of religious right-wing thought, the veritable Bob Jones University of California:  the University of California-Berkeley.  As highlighted over at Tax Prof Blog (and previewed there back in July), two UC-Berkeley law students recently published a study showing that “law schools overwhelmingly hire liberals as law professors.”  Featured in The National Jurist, the study shows that over 85% of new hires from 2006 through 2009 were liberals.  Even the authors note that this “doesn’t speak well of the intellectual diversity of American law school hiring.” 

Indeed, how can law schools function as the “marketplace of ideas” when one entire side of ideological spectrum is almost entirely absent?  In 1967, the Supreme Court wrote eloquently in its Keyishian opinion about how “our Nation’s future depends on leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth out of a multitude of tongues, rather than through any kind of authoritative selection.”  It is too bad that our law schools—the institutions that play a unique role in shaping future leaders—do not share the Supreme Court’s vision.

Author

ADF Litigation Staff Counsel ADF Center for Academic Freedom

Eating with “Tax Collectors and Sinners”: The Example of Jesus

Many of the legal controversies in which I’ve been involved in recent years follow the same pattern:  some government entity punishes a Christian group because it limits leadership to those who share its beliefs and moral commitments (including the proposition that homosexual intimacy is sinful).  The government calls this “discrimination” on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.

In the course of the ensuing disputes, someone inevitably asserts that the Christian group’s position is un-Christian.  The argument usually runs something like this:  Jesus sat down and ate with “sinners and tax collectors” (Luke 15:1-10); Jesus is thus “tolerant” of those engaging in wrongful behavior; and, therefore, the Christian group in question is flouting the example of Jesus by its alleged intolerance.

I am unpersuaded by this argument.  The Bible plainly reveals that Jesus ate with “sinners and tax collectors”; the question is “what deeper meaning can we legitimately infer from this fact?”  I am not convinced that Jesus’ willingness to eat with these individuals means that He approvedof their sinful behavior (and thus that a contemporary Christian group’s disapproval of homosexual conduct is un-Christian).   The remainder of the relevant passage in chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel indicates quite the opposite.  Luke recounts Jesus’ response to the complaints of the pharisees and scribes:

So Jesus addressed this parable to them.  “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?  And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. 

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?  And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’  In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Jesus does not deny that the sheep and the coin were lost.  Happiness and joy arise when the sheep and coin are found; happiness and joy arise when sinners repent.  Jesus ate with “sinners and tax collectors” not to approve their sinful behavior, but rather out of desire that they repent.

All the Christian groups I have encountered over the years have been very much willing to “eat with sinners and tax collectors.”  For example, the Christian Legal Society chapters I have represented always welcomed those who reject Christian teaching and Christian moral standards to participate in their meetings and events.  This, combined with their unwillingness to affirm conduct the Bible deems sinful, strikes me as faithful to the example of Jesus.

Author

ADF Senior Counsel - University Project

Bargain Alert: Our “Christian” College Will Teach Your Kids Decadence, Atheism and Doubt for only $42,000 a year!

Posted on October 5th, 2010 Thought Reform,Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Alternative Right has a sobering but unsurprising video that purports to be of freshman orientation at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.  The video is also available on Youtube.  (Warning:  The video is full of pro-homosexual verbiage, but no graphic yuckiness. It also has a student foolishly explaining how he abandoned his Lutheran faith for atheism thanks to his time at Gustavus.  It also has a weird sequence where students utter offensive racial ephithets. The video is painful and difficult to listen to.  If you don’t want to watch it, the summary you have just read gives you a sufficient summary of its tragic “high points”).

I attended Gustavus Adolphus College for one year (1973-74).  It is in south-central Minnesota, about an hour’s drive from Minneapolis.  I cannot absolutely confirm that this video is actually from the freshman orientation put on by Gustavus Adolphus College, but the actors do mention Gustavus in the video, and the stage they are performing on looks very much like the one I performed on in a production of Guys and Dolls (I can still remember some of the lyrics to “Luck Be A Lady Tonight” although I did not play Sky Masterson, but just some bit roles).

Sorry, I am digressing. Gustavus Adolphus College is a Lutheran college, named after the famous king of Sweden who promoted the Luthern faith and fought in the Thirty Years War not long after the Reformation.   Because Gustavus Adolphus College is named after a devout Lutheran King of Sweden, one would think that students at that college would learn about Christ and His teachings in the Bible.  For example, Jesus taught was that God created people to be either male or female, and that marriage is defined only as one man and one woman (see Matthew 19:4-5).  Jesus also taught us to believe in God and implicitly, to not be atheists (see, e.g., Matthew 22:37-38).

     However, if this video is indeed from freshman orientation at Gustavus Adolphus College, then it shows that Gustavus Adolphus College allows students to contradict the teachings of Christ. The college certainly allowed professors to do so when I was there. I remember my professors scoffing at those of us who believed the Bible means what it says.  They urged us to adopt a more critical, sophisticated theology that discounted much of the Bible’s teaching and embrace secularist and liberal theological fashions of the day.  Many of my friends, after listening to these professors, did not gain a more refined faith in Christ, but instead concluded that “if the Bible is unreliable, then I can sin and there are no consequences.”  Gustavus and other institutions formerly known as “Christian Colleges” should adopt a truth in advertising standard, so their advertising would be somthing like this – “Parents, you can send your children to learn immoral practices and lose their faith in God at Gustavus Adolphus College for the low, low price of a mere $42,000+ !!”  (However, it does seem like many others can lose their faith and surrender to sin for a much lower price, although the penalty is the same).

Gustavus Adolphus College is a private school, so under our Constitution it is free to teach whatever error and depravity that people are willing to pay to receive. It is a sad example of how many have debased higher education into man-centered debauchery, untethered to the principles and character of God the Father, who made us all.  A people cannot sustain a free and prosperous society under such corrosive and deficient thinking like that taught at too many institutions of higher learning.

State universities, who must obey the U.S. Constitution, teach similar things.  That is why Alliance Defense Fund and its work through the Center for Academic Freedom is so important.  We work for the First Amendment rights of all, so that students and professors have the freedom to speak against such confusion and suppression of Christian truth without retaliation from the authorities there.  Sometimes the overwhelming darkness at many college campuses can drain our faith and hope.  But some things are worth fighting for, like the goal that state universities will protect the rights of students and professors to debate freely and respect those who advocate for the Judeo-Christian principles that built our nation.  If King Gustavus Adolphus were alive today and saw that Youtube video, he would demand that the college bearing his name repent and return to the truths of the Bible that King Gustavus revered.

Update:   I found this news release on the  Gustavus Adolphus College website announcing that the skits in the video would be performed at freshman orientation on September 4.  The news story is quite open about the sexual content of the performance of “The Inside Scoop,” which the release calls “skits about the ‘real college life.’”  It is tragic that a respected private school like Gustavus, supposedly founded to promote Biblical values from the Lutheran faith, would promote skits that glorify atheism and sex outside of marriage.

Author

ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Carson Holloway on Liberal Intolerance

Posted on October 4th, 2010 Thought Reform | No Comments »

Professor Carson Holloway explores “The Sources of Liberal Intolerance” in an essay recently published on the Witherspoon Institute‘s “Public Discourse” website.  A summary:

Liberal intolerance is rooted in a secular disregard for the dignity of individuals, coupled with the veneration of Progress and the belief that liberal ideologies can’t win in public debate.

Worth a read.

Author

ADF Senior Counsel - University Project

“No Christianity Please, We’re Academics”

Posted on August 13th, 2010 Thought Reform | 8 Comments »

That’s the title of an essay Wheaton College Professor Timothy Larsen published recently on Insider Higher Ed.  In the essay, Professor Larsen recounts the story of a public university student who repeatedly encountered professors hostile to Christianity.  For example, an English professor reduced the student’s grade because he quoted C.S. Lewis, reasoning that it was inappropriate to quote “a pastor.”  (Of course, Lewis was not a pastor but was a professor – of English — at Cambridge.)

Larsen also recounted one of his own experiences.  Yale University Press publishes a series called “Rethinking the Western Tradition” that reprints influential texts along with original essays.  Larsen proposed a volume on T.S. Elliot’s The Idea of a Christian Society.  The editorial committee rejected his proposal, despite acknowledging that the proposal was well-crafted and had identified excellent scholars (including an outspoken atheist) to write the essays.  That they rejected the proposal is not the point; instead, the comments members of the editorial committee made to justify their rejection of the proposal illustrated their irrational antipathy towards all things Christian.

Larsen (correctly) observed that the hostility he and his student experienced appears to be widespread.  Those of us at ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom — and our clients — can certainly concur.  At the conclusion of his essay, Larsen asserted that “scholars ought to be concerned that Christians often report that the academy is a hostile environment.”  He called for an effort to systematically examine this apparent problem and propose appropriate remedies.  However, he conceded his pessimism about “the academy being willing even to investigate the possibility of discrimination against Christians, let alone attempt to eradicate it.”

A principal purpose of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom is change the academic culture by confronting the sort of anti-Christian animus Professor Larsen describes in his essay.  Such hostility is always wrong, and frequently illegal.  We share Larsen’s pessimism that the academy will eradicate the problem on its own.  If you experience such animus, let us know.  We stand ready to help protect academic freedom and restore the civility and respect that is all too often missing from the academic environment.

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Author

ADF Senior Counsel - University Project

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