Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Rank Hypocrisy of the CAUT

TWU President Jonathan Raymond is quite right to perceive (what I'm calling) the CAUT witch hunt as "anti-Christian discrimination." Here is the beginning of a story from Christian Week. What I want to call attention to is the statement by CAUT Executive Director James Turk in the last paragraph. (More below)

LANGLEY, BC—Trinity Western University (TWU) president Jonathan Raymond believes a move by Canada's largest union of teachers to censure the university amounts to "anti-Christian discrimination."

In a recently published report, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) questioned TWU's commitment to academic freedom because of the statement of faith that faculty are required to sign. As a result, it placed TWU on a list of institutions "found to have imposed a requirement of a commitment to a particular ideology or statement as a condition of employment."

CAUT is also investigating the statement of faith policies of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg and Crandall University (formerly Atlantic Baptist University) in Moncton.

"In our view," says CAUT executive director James Turk, "the role of a university is not to make disciples, whether of a religious viewpoint or an ideological viewpoint. They're to create the context in which people can make their own decisions."

Turk adds, "If a fundamentalist Christian were barred from working at a university because of their religious beliefs, we'd be every bit as outraged."

Please, Mr. Turk, spare us the theatrics. I'm calling you out; you are lying through your teeth. You would not defend a fundamentalist Christian anymore than you would fly to the moon in pink tights. Give me a break. You would bar a fundamentalist Christian from teaching or even lecturing on your campus.

You want to prove me wrong? There is nothing I would like better. I would be happy to apologize. Here is how you can do it.

1. You can condemn the University of Victoria Student Society's decision to strip a legally constituted pro-life campus club of its official club status. Maybe you could put U Vic on a "list." If you are so concerned that universities be places of free speech and not be "making disciples" then how about concerning yourself with a growing trend toward taking away the rights of pro-lifers (some of whom are fundamentalist Christiains) to free speech and dissent. You want to defend free speech and dissent against the heavy hand of conformist orthodoxy. Great, I'll help you.

2. You can make a statement saying that a fundamentalist Christian (or anyone else) who believes that there is no scientific proof of Anthropogenic Global Warming can be a member of a university faculty of science in Canada and that if any such person feels chilled or threatened because of his or her non-mainstream belief that he or she can call up CAUT and get support. You want to support persecuted minorities whose beliefs are not validated by the mainstream of society. Great, let's see it.

3. You can launch a campaign to make sure that every university in Canada that has a Gender Studies or Woman's Studies Program also has a Family Studies program that relates to the traditional definition of marriage and family in exactly the same way that the Gender & Woman's Studies programs relate to cultural Marxist theory and feminism, that is, as advocates for that theoretical perspective. You want diversity? Let's have diversity.

But I know you won't do these things Mr. Turk. You won't do them because you operate within a left-wing orthodoxy that stifles thought, prevents free speech and encourages group think. And you are offended that a university exists in this country that operates outside your little bubble. You wrap yourself in fine robes of "rights" and "tolerance" and "openness" but all this is code for expelling points of view deemed insufficiently leftist to you and the cadre of self-appointed political correctness police.

You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to bring one of the few intellectual communities in Canada that is not marching in lockstep with the leftist brown shirts into line.

You show me some real diversity, tolerance and pluralism on secular Canadian university campuses and then maybe I'll trust you to start giving orders to the dissenting universities about what they are allowed to do and not do.

When someone asked Ghandi what he thought of Western civilization, he wryly replied that he thought it would be a good idea. That pretty much sums up what I think about academic freedom on Canadian university campuses. It would be a good idea to have some.

1 comment:

David said...

Agreed Craig, I've been bothering our association at AST to send a letter to CAUT flagging our disgust at what's happening (with very little success thus far!:) )

Your critiques are all spot on, additionally I'm surprised at the sheer uneducated ignorance of Jim Turk when he says, "the role of a university is not to make disciples, whether of a religious viewpoint or an ideological viewpoint. They're to create the context in which people can make their own decisions."

He doesn't seem to realize that this is itself an ideological viewpoint! It's a fideistic appropriation of a modernist belief in individualism, autonomous reason and the hegemony of "choice"!

And so he's saying that only those of one particular ideological viewpoint get to decide what a university is and that this one viewpoint should be imposed on all universities, annihilating all diversity and difference!

I have a faculty meeting in an hour and will add this to the agenda, I'll be aghast for 10 minutes, everyone else will tolerate me politely and we'll move on without doing anything, still, I'll feel a bit better afterward :)