Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hypocrisy in the Highest Places

Despite its protestations that it is open and tolerant, Western Secularism has become utterly repressive. Our universities are a good barometer of this. Increasingly,

• Students and free-speech advocates wrangle with school administrators over academic freedom every semester as students defend their rights to form student clubs, pass out literature, and even send religious emails that might offend someone…The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed 390 colleges and universities and found that two-thirds have policies that “seriously infringe” on students’ free speech rights.
(WORLD, Feb. 12, 2011, 54).

This is both tragic and ironic. The university is supposed to champion truth and free inquiry and speech like doctors champion health and courts champion justice. When the university devotes itself to the suppression of free speech, it’s like a doctor secretly administering poison.

Viewpoint discrimination is also flourishing within the university like weeds in an untended field. The example of the rejection of the highly qualified Martin Gaskell is illuminating:

• A University of Kentucky faculty member warned her colleagues in an email she sent about a potential employee: “Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with—but potentially evangelical.” Astronomer Martin Gaskell, the man in question, sued the University of Kentucky for choosing not to hire him because of his Christian beliefs. In a rare outcome, the university settled the case for $125,000.”

This outcome was “rare” because it’s generally difficult to obtain hard evidence for religious discrimination. However, in this case, the evidence was copious:

• In one email, Gaskell’s lone defender protested that Gaskell’s qualifications far outweighed his competitors’: “The real reason we will not offer him this job is because of his religious beliefs.”

This is very revealing of the university culture. The disdain of evangelicals is so entrenched and accepted that there was only one “defender,” despite the illegality of what the university faculty was doing. And it’s not just a matter of the bigotry of one school. The problem is ubiquitous:

• Internal e-mails and other documents obtained under the Iowa Open Records Act completely contradict public claims by Iowa State University (ISU) that the denial of tenure to astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez was unrelated to his support for the theory of intelligent design. According to these documents: Dr. Gonzalez was subjected to a secret campaign of vilification and ridicule by colleagues in the Department of Physics and Astronomy who explicitly wanted to get rid of him because of his pro-intelligent design views, not his scholarship. Dr. Gonzalez’s work and views on intelligent design were repeatedly attacked during department tenure deliberations. Dr. Gonzalez’s colleagues secretly plotted to evade the law by suppressing evidence that could be used against them in court to supply proof of a hostile work environment…In voting to reject tenure for Dr. Gonzalez, members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy all but ignored recommendations made by the majority of their own outside scientific reviewers, who thought Gonzalez clearly deserved tenure.

Hypocrisy has become so blatant that it no longer causes shame. What looks good from the outside is filled with rot, reminding us of the words of our Lord:

• "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
(Matthew 23:25-26)

What’s the answer? Expose the hypocrisy: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephes. 5:11-13).

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