Political correctness was born in American colleges and universities. Imagine the outrage that would ensue if a college newspaper printed articles containing blatant prejudice toward ethnic minorities. Picture the scandal that would erupt if a college journalist published an anti-Semitic article or attacked the faith of an Islamic student. Such speech is considered hateful, discriminatory, and inappropriate for publication on any college campus. Apparently, however, one can remain within accepted boundaries of political correctness on the college campus while directing inflammatory and hateful speech toward Christians. It is possible to open a copy of The Harvard Crimson (the student-run newspaper at Harvard University) and read an editorial declaring Southern Baptists irrational and possessing a senseless belief system. It is also possible to open a copy of the Vanderbilt Hustler (the student-run newspaper at Vanderbilt University) and read an article dismissing people who believe in the Genesis account of creation as "backward yokels."
On college campuses in particular, speech that would never be tolerated of any other group is being hurled at Christians. As Southern Baptists recently sought to fulfill God's Great Commission by sharing the gospel with Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, many commentators criticized the efforts as intolerant. Increasingly, however, that "tolerance" has not been extended back to evangelical Christians. When seeds of anti-Christian prejudice are sown in America's most influential universities, should we be surprised as they germinate, grow, and produce a harvest of hatred in the highest levels of business, society, and government?
The following are samples of anti-Christian speech from various college newspapers around the country.
"I know most of us consider creationists as harmless backward yokels. Someone who could interpret the story of Adam and Eve — a beautiful parable about the loss of innocence — as literal truth is someone whom most of us pity. However, events like the recent Kansas school board decisions have shown that, far from being harmless, creationists pose a dangerous threat to American education.
"Now, the fact that anyone could possibly be a creationist in 21st century America is shameful, but understandable. After all, people still believed that the sun revolved around the Earth long after the idea was thoroughly debunked. Religious dogma will always be around, and it will always hold some sway over people — usually the uneducated." - The Vanderbilt Hustler, "Creationism is a threat," February 23, 2001
"When the Rev. Graham's prayer of invocation finally ended in: 'We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen,' I was thoroughly disgusted. This inauguration service (yes, service) was a blatant mockery of our supposed separation of church and state. To follow all this up, President Bush, the head of our secular country, made a speech that prayed to and thanked God." - The Harvard Crimson, "Taking God Out of Government," February 9, 2001
"Can anyone justify for me the need to make one's religion public? Does faith mean more if you choose to burden other people with it? ... Once power has been attained, tools such as religion have been used to keep rulers in power. And this is all that school prayer is meant to accomplish when you get down to it. It is a method of indoctrination so that wealthy white people can get everyone believing the same things and maintain control over this country's political and commercial institutions.
"And the fact that religious leaders have any opinion about the influence of violence on children is laughable. For centuries, wars have been fought based on religious hatred (do the Crusades ring a bell?). This debate over the morality or immorality of sex and violence is simply another way of infecting people's minds with the idea that they are evil or wrong and should not be what they choose to be, but rather what Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson wants them to be." - The Digital Collegian (Penn State University), "Religion used as hurtful tool in some cases," February 27, 2001
"I read the chapter in which Gumbel wrestled with the issue of how Christians should treat the unfortunate souls who profess faiths other than Christianity. The tortuous logic of the section argued that all religions could not be right since there were direct contradictions between many religions. Therefore, only one religion could be right, and by some leap of logic (or faith, as it may be), the writer affirmed that the Bible proved it was Christianity.
"The circular logic of many fundamentalist arguments struck me, as they consistently referred back to the Bible as proof of their pronouncements, the literal truth of which text is actually what is in question." - The Cornell Daily Sun, "Finding Spiritual Solace Without Crossing Cultural Lines," February 9, 2001
"Being told to participate in a ceremony that refers to and supports the existence of God is no way for the University to welcome its incoming students.
"A speech by President Shapiro, welcomings from several of the deans and a presentation of academic awards would provide a suitable start to the year without evoking the perils inherent in a religious ceremony." - The Daily Princetonian, "Opening Exercises: A time for Hal, not God, to welcome frosh," September 15, 2000
"The problem was, since I never allowed my beliefs to be challenged, I never had to formulate them rationally, never had to make them make sense. Hey, I figured, it works for the Southern Baptists." - The Harvard Crimson, "Jesus Week for You, But Not Me," April 18, 2000
David Roach will be a senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. this fall where he will also serve as president of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries.