The new religiosity

TheWitch-no2

An academic journal published an article by a scholar arguing that if there is “trangenderism,” in which a person’s sexual identity is determined by an individual’s choice, then there also needs to be “transracialism,” in which a person’s racial identity is a matter of an individual’s choice.  Though the article is impeccably liberal, it brought out the “outrage mobs,” who forced both the journal editors and the scholar to do penance for their sins.

At the end of a discussion of this particular case, Nathanael Blake draws some close parallels between the “outrage mobs” and a particular kind of religiosity, one that is all about purity and language taboos, but lacking a concept of grace or redemption. [Read more…]

Student suspended for disagreeing with Muslim professor

male-213729_640Muslims believe that Jesus was not really crucified.  According to the Qur’an, 

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah“;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power.  (Qur’an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158)

This is taken to mean either that Allah substituted someone else for Jesus, making the other person look like the “prophet,” or that he created an illusion so that a spirit-shape only appeared to be Jesus, which was the teaching of some Gnostics.  In any event, Muslims believe that Jesus, while He existed and was a great prophet, did not really die on the Cross, but that He was rather taken up into Heaven.

At Rollins College, a Muslim professor, in light of his religious commitment, claimed outright that Jesus’s crucifixion was a hoax.  A Christian student took issue with that and argued otherwise.  Whereupon he failed the class and got suspended from school.

Let me offer some perspective based on my four decades as a professor:  In a secular school, professors may talk about religion, including their own, as long as it is relevant to the course and as long as they do so objectively, without imposing their religious views on their students.  In discussing Milton, even when I was teaching in a secular college, I could talk about the Christian concepts of creation, fall, and redemption.  “This is what Milton believed.  You need to know this to understand Paradise Lost.”

The professor here could say, “We Muslims don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross.”  That would be interesting and could prompt some illuminating discussion.  But in claiming outright that Jesus’s death was a “hoax” and then punishing a student for disagreeing, in accord with his own Christian religion, the professor was clearly “imposing” his religious beliefs on the class.  Professors aren’t supposed to do that.

But what about issues of diversity?  Wasn’t the student being insensitive to the professor’s religious beliefs?  Cultural diversity, sensitivity, tolerance, etc., are supposed to manifest themselves in the way faculty members treat students!  Not the way students treat faculty!

Faculty members have the power here.  It’s their job to treat their students appropriately, including showing respect for their religious sensibilities.

I don’t know the whole story.  Maybe the student was disruptive, disrespectful, and breaking other campus rules.  But treating Muslims equally means holding Muslim professors to the same standards as Christian professors in the way they handle their religious beliefs in their classes. [Read more…]

Bullying and intolerance at Yale

For Halloween, the administration at Yale issued dictates about Halloween costumes, lest anyone be offended.  A lecturer, who along with her professor husband, is “master” of a residential college, responded with a learned e-mail pointing out that it might not be so bad for a little blonde girl to dress up as Mulan, Disney’s Asian princess (apparently one of the forbidden costumes) and that Yale college students should be able to dress up however they wish.  For this, she and her husband are being accused of racism, among other thought crimes, and hundreds of students are rallying to get them fired.  Those who disagree are getting harassed and spit upon.

Now Conor Fridersdorf of the Atlantic has published an in depth expose of the incident and the climate of bullying, intolerance, intimidation, and anti-intellectualism at Yale.  It’s a must read.  (I post the introduction and a link after the jump.) [Read more…]

Catholic teaching not allowed at Catholic university?

Marquette is a Roman Catholic institution affiliated with the Jesuit order, one member of which is Pope Francis.  According to Catholic author Howard Kainz, Marquette has suspended and banned from campus a tenured professor for saying that arguments against gay marriage should be allowed to be discussed in class.   Meanwhile, a theology professor who advocates abortion and now considers himself an atheist keeps teaching, with no questions asked. [Read more…]

Replacing academic freedom with academic “justice”

The hard-core left just does not believe in the concept of individual freedom, as is evident wherever that ideology has had its way (in the former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, etc., etc.).  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the concept of academic freedom as it applies to conservatives is under interrogation. [Read more…]

Universities partnering with dictators

That blind Chinese dissident who was under house arrest for opposing forced abortion and escaped to the United States was given an academic appointment at New York University. But it’s being pulled now, some say because the university wants to open a satellite campus in China.  Jackson Diehl tells of other major universities that seem willing to throw out their commitment to academic freedom in order to land lucrative deals with dictatorial regimes. [Read more…]