Several months ago I was reviewing a policy at Penn State-Erie when I stumbled upon the “Safe Zone” at Penn State-Behrend (the Erie campus). I finally got around to blogging about the school’s decision to extend its “Safe Zone” coverage to atheist and vegetarian students – something I had never seen before. I observed that this left meat eating Christians in a dwindling class of students in the “Danger Zone” that is apparently the remainder of the Penn State-Behrend campus.

     Surprisingly, someone at Penn State – Behrend evidently read my blog and the school quickly altered its “Safe Zone – Behrend” to remove atheists and vegetarians.  (You can also view the same website here, with a delicious treat added).  This means that these woebegone classes have now been cast back to the lions (seriously, that’s their mascot) of Penn State – Behrend alongside the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic (who evidently were not convinced enough of the non-existence of God for the “Safe Zone”), omnivorous, and other students who must fend for themselves in the wilds of Erie, PA. Google cache still has the former “Safe Zone” website with your inclusion if you would like to relive those happier and more secure days.

     I do not know if Penn State – Behrend will be immediately revoking your “Safe Zone” cards or if there is some transitional grace period to allow you to reacquaint yourself with life in the “Danger Zone.”  But it was never my intention to see this fate befall you. The purpose of my blog post was to simply note the silliness of the whole “Safe Zone” idea and to demonstrate how it reveals the pervasiveness of the leftist mindset on university campuses that anyone perceived as non-conservative is a potential victim in need of protection from the school – even when the facts don’t support the narrative.  In fact, studies have shown that atheists are generally viewed positively by faculty and evangelical Christians are the only group that is viewed negatively by a majority of faculty.  The counterfactual leftism in Behrend’s treatment of vegetarians and atheists was truly E(e)rie. (I’ll be here all week).

 So as you re-enter the “Danger Zone,” it is incumbent upon me to offer you my well-wishes and a promise on behalf of Christians and meat eaters everywhere. This is particularly aimed at the vegetarian students but applies with equal force to the atheists as well. We promise not to eat you.

     It occurs to me that perhaps the confusion behind the inclusion of vegetarians in the Safe Zone in the first place was a misunderstanding about the eating habits of omnivores. In the remainder of the animal kingdom, it is true that vegetarian species might reasonably fear that they could be eaten by carnivores or omnivores. Perhaps a zoology professor at Penn State – Behrend, well aware of this and too focused on his work, was behind the inclusion of vegetarians in the safe zone out of an abundance of caution. But human beings – even those who eat meat on occasion – have traditionally abstained from eating grain fed vegetarian humans. I fully endorse this continued abstinence from cannibalism and trust that my fellow meat eating friends at Penn State – Behrend will as well.

As to the atheists, you can rest in the confidence that surveys actually show that most faculty members think warmly of you (unlike evangelicals) so you can probably still find refuge in any professor’s office.  But more importantly, God knows we Christians don’t want to see you harmed. Undoubtedly, you will think our Christian beliefs to be silly superstition. But the upside for you is that those “superstitions” check our sin natures and should hopefully give you some degree of confidence that we will not be plotting your destruction even if our reasons for restraint are unavailing to you. And since Penn State Behrend previously noted the difficulty of identifying atheists as a reason for including you in the Safe Zone, your anonymity might serve you well now.  (Though that Darwin fish eating the Christian fish on the back of your car isn’t doing you any favors).   

      Again, my apologies that my simple blog post has caused this upheaval in your lives. I will try to be more careful in the future.


Casey Mattox