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Preserve your God-given ignorance

This was going into one of my posts on Horowitz and the Academic Bill of Rights (No. 1, No. 2), but since that series is in abeyance, I’m posting it separately. Dr. Theresa Whitehurst recounts a conversation overheard at a Starbucks in Nashville:
“But you do have to be careful about one thing,” he said more quietly, coming closer and speaking in hushed tones, “My professor—I have this great professor—told me that you have to be careful not to get too much education, because you could lose your foundation, your core values.”
The neophyte nodded solemnly, his eyebrows raised with worry.
“If you get a bachelors,” the seasoned student reassured, “you’ll probably be okay. But my professor said that when you get a master’s, and definitely if you go beyond that, you can lose your values. He said that college students have to be watchful because if you get too much education, you could turn LIBERAL. He’s seen it happen to a lot of good Christians.”
In Florida, thank heaven, the hazards of too much education may soon be a thing of the past. As Rep. Dennis Baxley says, “Freedom is a dangerous thing, and you might be exposed to things you don’t want to hear.” Under his sponsorship, a version of the Bill of Rights (H 0837) has been passed by a Florida House subcommittee (on “Choice and Innovation”, of all things). It is now in the hands of the Colleges & Universities Committee. A companion bill (S2126) is under consideration in the Senate ().
Stable-cleaning gets tedious when the horses keep mucking it up. The moral here is that some of them don’t give a damn.
() See James Vanlandingham, “Capitol bill aims to control ‘leftist’ profs”, Alligator Online 23 Mar 2005, also at Access Denied; Scott Jaschik, “Academic Freedom Wars”, Inside Higher Ed News 25 Mar 2005 (via Crooked Timber 25 Mar 2005; see also Ted Barlow, “The war on pointy-headedness”, 23 March, and Pesky Apostrophe). The House sponsor of the bill, Dennis Baxley is profiled in “Man on a mission”, Florida Baptist Witness 24 Mar 2005:
Getting involved is something Baxley encourages all Christians to do. “We’re here in the world to be leaders and influencers,” he said. “We’re here to influence our culture for the cause of Christ. In all we do, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Is this obeying God? Is this God’s will?’ If it is, all the rest is just details.”
Baxley encourages believers to get out of the four walls of the church.
“The battle’s out there,” he said. “People can get so busy inside a church that they forget that the main event is to go out and confront the world with the Gospel. That happens in lots of ways. To the believer, everything needs to be seen as spiritual, and we must ask ourselves, ‘Where are we going to engage?’
“Let’s not stay in a private or country club, fortress mentality. Let’s get out and be agents of change and be grateful we live in a country where we can still do that.”
“Everything needs to be seen as spiritual”. Rightly construed, that is not prima facie irrational. Spinoza teaches us to see God in all things; Malebranche that we see all things in God. Wrongly construed, it leads to theocracy—to a mirror-image of the extreme versions of the shariah state. Will that be what the US has to offer the world in this once-promising millenium?

LinkMarch 27, 2005 in Academic Affairs · Current Affairs · Society