categoryMenu_new
 
  Home
  EXTRAORDINARY AH Teaching from Spiritual Hierarchy
  AbundantHope
  NEW READERS! Read Here First
  Supporting AH
  Leadership of AbundantHope
  Announcements
  Regional AH Sites
  Other Sites with AH material
  Contact Us
  Becoming A Messiah
  OUR PUBLIC FORUM IS OPEN TOO ALL
  Mission Ideas
  System Busting
  Cleric Letter/English
  Translations of Cleric Letter
  AH Member Writings
  Candace
  Ron
  Rosie
  Jess
  Brian's Poetry
  James
  Giuseppe
  Esteban
  Telepathic Messages
  Candace
  Jess Anthony
  Vince
  Leonette
  John
  Adam
  Bela
  Joyce
  Hazel
  Kibo
  Peter
  Rosie
  Johan
  Lucia
  Lucia G
  Rubens
  Shellee-Kim
  Ben
  Dorothea
  Solon
  Others
  Targeted Messages
  Hano
  Light Flower
  Changing The Face Of Religion
  - Phoenix Journals - PDF in German
  Candace on Religion
  Other Spiritual Pieces
  Spiritual Nuggets by the Masters
  Phoenix Journals
  Phoenix Journals - PDF
  Telepathic Messages PDF books
  Selections from the Urantia Book
  Illustrations For The Urantia Book
  CMGSN Pieces
  THE WAVE
  Environment/Science
  David Crayford and the ITC
  Health and Nutrition
  Podcasts, Radio Shows, Video by AH
  Political Information
  True US History
  Human/Animal Rights
  The Miracle That Is Me
 
  Education
  Resources
  911 Material
  Books - eBooks
  government email/phone #'s
  Self Reliance
  Video
  Websites
  Alternative News Sources
  Art and Music
  Foreign Sites
  Health and Healing
  Human/Animal Rights
  Scientific
  Spiritual
  Vegan Recipes
  Translated Material
  Dutch
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Jess
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Candace
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Anderen
  Artikelen/berichten
  French
  Canal Jess
  Par Candace
  Other Channels
  Articles
  German
  Telepathische Nachrichten (Candace)
  Telepathische Nachrichten (Jess)
  Telepathische Nachrichten (div.)
  AH Mitgliederbeiträge (Candace)
  AH Mitgliederbeiträge (Jess)
  Spirituelle Schätze
  Italian
  Translations - Candace
  Translations - Jess
  Translations - Others
  Portuguese
  by Candace
  By Jess
  By Others
  Spanish
  Anfitriones Divinos
  Bitácoras Fénix
  Creadores-de-Alas (WingMakers/Lyricus)
  Escritos de Candace
  Escritos de Otros
  Monjoronsón
  Telemensajes de Candace
  Telemensajes de Jess Anthony
  Telemensajes de Otros
  Chinese
  By Candace
  By Jess
  By Others
  Korean Translations
  Hungarian Translations
  Swedish Translations

Search
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Education Last Updated: May 11, 2020 - 7:24:55 AM


Purging Christian Higher Education
By Stephen Baskerville PhD
May 11, 2020 - 1:59:48 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page Share/Bookmark

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/05/purging_christian_higher_education.html

May 10th 2020

 

Rooting out political heretics is a practice we now associate with liberal secular universities, despite pretenses of "academic freedom" and claims to protect it with the lifelong employment guarantee known as "tenure."

But today, the practice appears just as likely at conservative Christian institutions.  In fact, we may now be seeing a nationwide purge of the ideologically retrograde from Evangelical colleges, universities, and seminaries, as they succumb to pressure to jettison Christian principles and substitute political ideology. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) just fired four of its most senior faculty members, all full professors. Some have active publication records that put them at the forefront of their profession, elevated their institution's profile, and made them respected public voices for the seminary's professed values.  The pretext was budget cuts, but no reputable institution dismisses its most eminent faculty in their prime to save money.  All had resisted the radicalization being encouraged by the administration, and they were the first to go not despite their experience and leadership, but because of it.

SBTS is not alone.  In November, Robert Lopez was fired from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).  Lopez is a leading voice in controversies over sexual politics, where he has questioned the homosexualist political agenda. He has also criticized the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)'s political leadership, which has close ties to both seminaries.  In recent months, SWBTS has also seen mass firings of senior faculty (42 by one count, mostly full professors, including at least one endowed chair), likewise for political reasons disguised implausibly using "budget shortfalls."

More examples could be cited, but doing so would cause the ejected professors serious legal and financial problems, because they were terminated using innovative schemes to hide these obviously unethical actions from public view.

In fact, it is difficult to know how many professors have been purged because, as always, unscrupulous administrations seek to hide actions they know to be indefensible.  The SBTS four were all offered "non-disclosure agreements": payments in return for their silence.  Strikingly, Lopez was terminated shortly after he introduced a resolution at the SBC declaring such agreements antithetical to academic integrity.

The agreements are indeed, ipso facto, as scandalous as the firings and prima facie proof that the administration has things to hide. To understand why, one must realize that colleges and universities can maintain integrity only by respecting the principle of academic freedom.  Firing professors for political heterodoxy defeats the purpose of higher education, which must be dedicated to the disinterested pursuit of truth.  If you disagree with a scholar's writings, you challenge them in peer review or by writing a rejoinder, marshaling logic and citing evidence.  This is the academic process, to which these institutions are dedicated, or else they are fraudulent.  Subverting it by summarily dismissing reputable faculty is an admission of intellectual weakness, dishonesty, cowardice, or worse, and it will quickly compromise an institution's reputation.

Institutions receiving state funding generally must respect academic freedom and protect it with tenure.  They may even be bound by the First Amendment.  Privately funded Christian institutions generally are not held to be thus bound by law and often have no tenure.  But they usually profess to honor the principle nevertheless, because their reputations (and accreditation) depend on it.  Oversight bodies such as faculty senates, boards of trustees, and accreditors must ensure that the administrations are not compromised by politicization.  An institution known to impose ideology on its professors will also find that students, parents, faculty, donors, and others will start looking elsewhere. This is why transparency is critical to keeping private institutions honest and why disreputable ones crave secrecy.

Incidentally, academic freedom does not prevent religious institutions from maintaining doctrinal integrity.  Legitimate methods exist to discipline faculty who deviate from valid commitments to doctrinal orthodoxy, and such discipline does not violate academic freedom.  Secrecy is not needed when the institution acts out of principle - only to hide actions of which it is ashamed.

This is the role of non-disclosure agreements: to stop the mouths of faculty who call attention to improper dismissal and other unethical practices.  Borrowed from the business world, these agreements are often accepted there as providing for legitimate confidentiality, such as industrial secrets.

In academia, they are inherently un-ethical. They violate academic freedom in themselves and hide other violations.  They serve to protect the institution not only from legal liability, but, more seriously, from public scrutiny and criticism.  Typically, the professor is fired without warning or notice (often breaking a contract), which immediately cuts him off from not only his livelihood, but also internal grievance procedures. His salary and benefits are then dangled before him in exchange for renouncing his legal claims, his constitutional rights, and above all his freedom to speak out. Not only is it extortionate, but it immunizes the administration from accountability, because it opens him, not them, to legal liability for telling the truth about their wrongdoing. Even oversight bodies with a legitimate interest in knowing, such as accreditors and the institution's own trustees, can be kept in the dark.  By using this method, SBTS and SWBTS are proclaiming to the world that they are substandard institutions, frightened to subject themselves to the ethical norms recognized by reputable institutions.

If money fails to shut their mouths, Christian institutions have devised even more diabolical weapons against their own faculty.  Employment contracts now contain mandatory arbitration clauses, requiring that "employment disputes" be adjudicated in secret by a private arbitration firm. Here too, the ejected professor can voice objections only in a secret commercial proceeding consisting not of colleagues but of lawyers, who will ensure that no one else hears the truth, because the procedure is without record, and public disclosure is legally punishable.  In effect, the professor is treated as if he signed an NDA even if he did not.

This subterfuge is breathtakingly cynical for a Christian institution.  Purporting to apply "biblical" principles of "Christian Conciliation" - principally Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 6 - it is really nothing more than secular forced arbitration, sprinkled reassuringly with Bible verses but leaving nothing of what Jesus prescribes.

In the name of reducing "animosities," lawyers curtail due process protections and basic constitutional freedoms (like speech).  Rules of evidence are explicitly discarded, and arbitrators (enjoying legal immunity) have no specified limits on what they can inflict, including punitive damages and lawyers' fees.  Nothing requires that they follow the Bible or even the law.  The secretive decisions are then enforced by civil courts (flouting Paul's instructions to avoid courts), without challenge or appeal, and parties have no redress.  The larger church community, where Jesus places jurisdiction, is cut out altogether.  In short, the Bible command is appropriated and inverted to serve the very evils it was provided to remedy: to conceal wrongdoing and shield wrongdoers from the moral judgment of the community.

This too was devised for secular business contracts.  Pitting lone employees against organized interests like universities has already provoked sharp criticism.

But the "Christian" version is especially pernicious, not only because it invokes religious faith to disguise commercial gain, but because it exploits goodwill and betrays good faith by deceiving Christians with the illusion that they are being relieved of their own "animosity," when they are really being relieved of their access to public justice and their constitutional rights.  It also grants profit-making ventures a captive market on any arbitration labeled "Christian" and an incentive to collude with any self-styled Christian employers who support the monopoly by writing forced arbitration clauses into their employment contracts.  Ironically, this even blocks employees from invoking Matthew 18 as written or even calling attention to its subversion.  The aim is not reconciling people who disagree, but eliminating them.

This makes it the perfect tool for airbrushing professors who resist liberalization out of the picture.  If a professor speaks out, a "conciliation" procedure can be launched, and he can be "conciliated" into silence and secretly plundered.

When one understands how strikingly appropriate is Jesus's own straightforward conflict resolution method for administering educational establishments - because it requires that differences be resolved by exchanging ideas rather than inflicting punishments - one can realize just how devious are the institutions that pervert it.

* * *

The implications of all this extend well beyond Christian academies.  It simultaneously violates both Christian ethics and secular academic ones.  In higher education, Christian institutions are the last redoubt of not only Christian faith itself and the classical liberal arts, but basic academic integrity.  Even open-minded secularists find it difficult to understand why institutions grounded in religious doctrines are the last to become corrupted by politicization.  But it is logical that institutions lacking such a foundation should be more vulnerable to importing substitute creeds in the form of political ideologies.  This is why Christianity is largely responsible for the Western university as we know it.  When they throw in the towel, higher education becomes a seminary of leftist ideology.

* * *

By shrinking from the opportunity to openly engage and challenge ideas in the administration of their own institutions, and instead banishing dissenters under dishonest pretexts, while hiding their mendacity behind a battery of legal fortifications, these institutions are undermining their own reason for existing.  This is the main function of learned institutions after all: to weigh and critique ideas and teach their students and the rest of us how to understand and evaluate them.  But that is precisely where these institutions show themselves inadequate in managing their own affairs.  They are proclaiming to the world that they are too intellectually feeble (and perhaps morally arrogant) to articulate a coherent defense of their own principles and actions.  Who would trust the word, let alone the scholarship, coming from a university that cannot engage with inconvenient ideas ?  And who would trust such a college with his education or that of his children?

This in turn raises larger questions.  Christian institutions have already been accused of intellectual cowardice because of their refusal to stand up and be heard on highly salient public issues that most threaten the integrity of higher education today, and that directly impinge on their Christian identity - namely, today's radical sexual ideology.  It is no accident that most of these firings concern faculty who stand their ground on Christian sexual morality and take a public position on the current controversies.  Having first abdicated their own responsibility, the institutions must then purge the faculty who demonstrate the embarrassing integrity to insist on doing their job.

All this casts into serious doubt on the claim of such institutions to be either Christian or academic at all and instead makes them appear as little more than employment schemes for diffident administrators and pliable faculty - or as one critic puts it, hedge funds "with classrooms attached."

[colour fonts and bolding added.].

Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., has over 30 years' experience teaching in universities in the United States and Europe, and he writes extensively about the reform of higher education.  Last July he was dismissed as professor of government after twelve years at Patrick Henry College.




All writings by members of AbundantHope are copyrighted by
©2005-2020 AbundantHope - All rights reserved

Detailed explanation of AbundantHope's Copyrights are found here


Top of Page

Education
Latest Headlines
Penn State Deletes Tweet Welcoming Conservative Students After Outcry
"Our Children Should Be Educated, Not Indoctrinated" - Trump Threatens Tax-Exempt Status Of Leftist-Biased Colleges
In Their Eagerness to Destroy Trump, Dems Are Destroying Black Lives and Black Futures
Princeton University Faculty Seek to Establish Racial thought Police & Punish Insufficiently Diverse Disciplines
BREAKING: Supreme Court Upholds Religious Schools’ Right to Hire, Fire Religious Teachers
California Faculty Demands "Free Tuition For All Black, Native, & Indigenous Students"
Netflix Orders Queer-Friendly Animated Children’s Series ‘DeadEndia’
Heralded Orchestra Conductor Traces Musical Gifts to Training in the Womb
An Astounding Tale of Slavery and Deceit: Yale University’s Madras Connection
Cambridge University Defends, Promotes Academic After 'Racist' Tweets Removed From Twitter
New Zealand Unveils Web Safety Ad Featuring Two 'Porn Stars'
UK School Apologizes After Asking 11-year-olds to Define ‘hardcore pornography’
The Work Of Pippa King
What is Celibacy?
Poor History Teaching Means Young Don’t Know Britain Stamped Out Slavery Worldwide
"Take Your Benzos, Watch Your Porn": Sunday Night Advice For Self-Righteous Failures
Why Does A Cartoon Sponge Need A Sexuality? Nickelodeon says SpongeBob SquarePants May be Gay
Anonymous Berkeley Professor Shreds BLM Injustice Narrative; Berkeley Responds
Already-Broke Colleges Being Bullied Into Hosting Costly "White Privilege" Workshops Amid Virus Crisis
BLM Wants to Get Into Schools. Here’s What They Plan to Teach.