Christian activists are not trying to shutter secular schools; but some progressive activists are trying to put Christian schools out of business.
During the past few years, responding to ever-more draconian codes on secular campuses aimed at constraining free speech, dissenting voices have been raised here and there across the political spectrum, defending free expression and free association for all. This addition of conscientious objection outside conservative and religious ranks is a welcome development. It also brings us to one other large threat to free speech in education these days—one that’s still in the closet.
Secularist progressivism claims to champion diversity, but its activists today do not tolerate genuine diversity, including and especially in the realm of ideas, as revealed by today’s legal and other attacks on Christian colleges, Christian associations and clubs, Christian schools, Christian students, and Christian homeschooling.
These are bellwether ideological campaigns that have yet to garner the attention they deserve outside religious circles. Their logical conclusion is to interfere with and shut down Christian education itself—from elementary school on up to religious colleges and universities.
It’s Not An Education If It Includes Christian Ideas?
Consider a few particulars. The Christian college club Intervarsity has had its credentials questioned on secular campuses around the country. So have other student groups including Chi Alpha and the Christian Legal Society, the focus of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010), which found that Hastings College had not violated the First Amendment in forcing the CLS to accept members who violated its Christian moral code. During the past ten years, two high-profile Christian colleges—The King’s College in New York, and Gordon College in Massachusetts—have been subjected to accreditation battles. Meanwhile, home-schooling remains an object of attack by leftish pundits, New Atheists, the National Education Association, and other progressive standard-bearers.
Still other authorities want to discredit religious higher education altogether. Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2014, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania called accreditation for any Christian college a “scandal,” adding that “[p]roviding accreditation to colleges like [evangelical Protestant] Wheaton [College] makes a mockery of whatever academic and intellectual standards the process of accreditation is supposed to uphold.” Trinity Western University in Canada has likewise been embroiled for years in a battle to keep its accreditation—because its community members pledge not to have sex outside traditional marriage.
Let’s ask the obvious question: exactly whose schools are being attacked as unworthy, substandard, and undeserving of recognition? Christians’ schools, that’s whose—not progressive flagships like Bennington, Middlebury, or Sarah Lawrence. If religious traditionalists were fanning out to campaign against schools dominated by other canons, cacophony would resound from Cupertino to Bangor. But because the prejudice propelling these attacks has Christianity in its sights, no one outside religious circles objects.
Click here to continue reading…
SOURCE: Mary Eberstadt