Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turmoil at Cedarville University Exposes the Ugly Nature of Religious Fundamentalists

And Let’s Hope the Exposure Continues

This Forum has no knowledge of Cedarville University (no Rose Bowl games, no Final Four appearances), but it is a private religiously affiliated college near Dayton.

For much of its history, Cedarville, which was founded in 1887, was affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a fundamentalist organization wary of association even with other conservative groups.

The college has attracted the attention of the New York Times for a series of controversies that have engulfed the campus.  For example, despite the fact that the law requires these types of institutions to be apolitical,

Last fall, two philosophy professors caused a stir with “Why I Am Not Voting for Romney,” an editorial in the university newspaper that upset many on this right-leaning campus.  . . .

Meanwhile, philosophy has been eliminated as a major, which will most likely mean the departure of Shawn Graves, the untenured half of the duo that wrote the anti-Romney editorial.

obviously that is not the case here.  And the science program is rather suspect

Last summer, the contract of another professor, Michael W. Pahl, was not renewed because he had written a book that some critics asserted failed to make strong enough claims for the creation of the world in six days.

Dr. Pahl’s “doctrinal views were inconsistent with doctrines the university holds,” was how Mark D. Weinstein, a spokesman for Cedarville, explained Dr. Pahl’s departure.

Gosh, we wonder how well students expressing those beliefs do when applying for a job.  And while we have not checked, we doubt if there is a geology department at Cedarville. 

Of course, the issue of gay and lesbian people is always present at a place like this.  The former President, Mr. Ruby who resigned may have come afoul rules that say gay and lesbian people should be persecuted,

But a longtime faculty member, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing his job, enumerated several factors that may have sealed Dr. Ruby’s fate. In an interview at Young’s Jersey Dairy, a landmark hangout in nearby Yellow Springs, he said that in 2007, when Soul Force, a gay rights group, announced that its “Equality Ride” would stop at Cedarville’s campus, Dr. Ruby was, some felt, a bit too welcoming. He helped organize a series of chapel talks about homosexuality, and he encouraged Cedarville students to welcome Soul Force with love.

Dr. Ruby told me, “The Bible condemns homosexual acts, but we also thought that this was an opportunity to teach our students how to gracefully engage those with whom we may disagree.”

Yeah, everyone can see how his behavior would offend religious oriented people who say they believe in goodness and mercy.

And finally there is this which describes the fundamentalist support of a peaceful and tranquil world.

Dr. Ruby also conceded that in 2008, he gave in to pressure from university officials to cancel an invitation he had extended to the evangelical Christian writer and activist Shane Claiborne, the author of “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical.” Mr. Claiborne’s teachings against war and poverty struck some critics as incompatible with Cedarville’s conservative message.

Yep, can’t have religious people going around being against war and poverty, why the next thing they might oppose is bigotry and hatred, and we all know where that would lead to.

And lest anyone think otherwise, this Forum strongly supports the right of people like those who run Cedarville University to not only have these beliefs but to publicize them in the strongest possible way.  See the rest of us may regard people like this as harmless quirks in society, but if they are allowed, and indeed even encouraged to pontificate in the manner above everyone will see them for what they really are.  And that is the only way to defeat their prejudices and intolerance.

And as a public service this Forum will denounce the rumor that the office of the President of Cedarville University has been renamed the Office of the Chief Ayatollah.  And no, there is no Professor holding the Torquemada Chair of Religious Studies.  At least not yet.

1 comment:

  1. Are you sure you're commenting on a religious university or the right wing of the republican party and Fox News viewers?