I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Well, it looks like the holidays really are over. This week was full of action, from ineffective left-wing college brainwashing to God’s endorsement for 2020:

Are lefty professors turning college students liberal? Short answer: No. The Economist.

Although the survey responses oscillated from year to year, the effects were not big enough to be statistically significant. Such a lack of evidence should discourage people from believing that academic elites push their left-wing agenda onto their impressionable young pupils. But given how often conservative-leaning media rail against leftist indoctrination in universities, it almost certainly will not.

economist college influence

Not a lot of change there…

IS God’s hand on America? A review of Michael Medved’s new book at WaPo.

With every bullet that didn’t hit an intended target and every carriage or car accident that did not end in a fatality, [Medved] sees the hand of God. . . . The shameful, racist, violent aspects of the American narrative are swept away or excused. . . . for good or ill, the book will mostly appeal to listeners of right-wing radio and viewers of Fox News.

medved gods handSome people think it is. A skeptical look at the Evangelicals for Trump rally at USAT.

Trump the strongman was on display. Like autocratic leaders before him, he stirred fear among his people and offered them safety under his regime. . . . I was stunned when I witnessed evangelical Christians — those who identify with the “good news” of Jesus Christ —raising their hands in a posture of worship as Trump talked about socialism and gun rights.

Bernie: Ban high-stakes testing, at USAToday.

The most serious flaw of high-stakes testing . . . is that it ignores the real problems facing our teachers and students: social inequality and underinvestment in our schools.

How to teach history right, at EdWeek.

[Baltimore’s] emphasis on this [local history] approach that allows students to see themselves in history puts their own lives and people they know at the center of what can feel detached and distant. The consequences for this approach, if done right, can be profound, [Superintendent Sonja Santelises] argued. . . . it allows children to see complexity in history and not just (in the case of black Americans, for example) one long and painful struggle against oppression.

Well….yeah. More secure housing helped students do better on high-stakes tests, at Chalkbeat.

“Housing policy is education policy,” said Amy Ellen Schwartz, one of the researchers and a professor at Syracuse University. “We want to improve kids’ outcomes — sometimes what we’re going to have to do is look outside of the schoolhouse door and think about housing.”

God weighs in on 2020 elections:

“Evangelical Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith have never had a greater champion, not even close, in the White House, than you have right now,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve done things that nobody thought was possible. Together we’re not only defending our constitutional rights. We’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege.”

Student #2 sues evangelical Fuller Seminary for anti-LGBTQ bias, at CT.

“It’s a very important case at this time in our nation’s history,” said Paul Southwick, the attorney representing Maxon and Brittsan. “This case could set an important legal precedent that if an educational institution receives federal funding, even if it’s religiously affiliated, even if it’s a seminary, that it’s required to comply with Title IX prohibitions on sex discrimination as applied to LGBT individuals.”

Richard Mouw comes out against Trump, at R&P.

When Trump’s evangelical supporters tell us that in presidential elections we are not voting for candidates for sainthood, I agree. . . . But Christians do have a responsibility to promote the cause of moral leadership in public life. And I do want Christian leaders to be guided in their decisions by keeping the “What would Nathan do?” question clearly in mind. The writer of the Christianity Today editorial has now done just that in the case of President Trump. I am grateful for the prophetic message.

Methodist split over LGBTQ also a split among colleges, at IHE.

“The younger generation will not want to continue to be involved in a church that continues to discriminate against the LGBQIA community,” said the Reverend Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, the president of Claremont School of Theology. “This will allow for our seminaries to focus on our mission in training leaders regardless of human sexuality.”

Same publisher. Same authors. Different states = different textbooks, at NYT.

Texas says that white Southerners opposed Reconstruction because of tax increases as well as racial resentment. California instead includes primary-source quotations from black historical figures about white resistance to civil rights.

NYT TExtbooks CA TX

What students see in CA is not what they see in TX.

Squaring the LGBTQ Circle

I thought I understood it, but this story has me stumped. I’ve wrestled with the complicated history of LGBTQ issues at evangelical universities, but I just don’t understand recent news out of evangelical flagship Fuller Seminary.

Fuller entranceHere’s what we know: The storied seminary is facing a lawsuit from a former student who was kicked out for being married to another woman. As SAGLRROILYBYGTH know, I personally support greater LGBTQ rights at all institutions, civil and religious. But I also sympathize with the position of conservative religious schools for whom this issue poses an authentic moral conundrum.

In the twentieth century, evangelical universities had a shameful history of dealing with LGBTQ students, but so did non-evangelical ones. As historians Maggie Nash and Jennifer A.R. Silverman have argued, all sorts of universities conducted vicious purges of non-heterosexual students in the middle of the twentieth century.

In this century, many evangelical institutions have come to an uneasy and awkward position on LGBTQ rights. At many universities, for example, LGBTQ identity is welcomed, but LGBTQ “practice” is not. To my mind, this is not a very sustainable position. It feels like a temporary holding plan until institutions decide whether to support LGBTQ rights or to oppose them.

I don’t support that compromise, but at least I understand it. What I don’t understand is the position taken by Fuller Seminary. According to the LA Times,

Though the college does allow same-sex relationships, it does not allow “homosexual forms of explicit sexual conduct” and has made clear that it believes sexual intimacy is reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman….

What is the distinction here? Did the reporter maybe just muddle the explanation of Fuller’s true position? Or maybe does Fuller allow students and faculty to be engaged in non-sexual same-sex relationships? That would explain the distinction between “same-sex relationships” and “homosexual sexual conduct.” In effect, that would be just another, more complicated way of stating the distinction between identity and practice made by several universities.

But even if that’s the explanation, it doesn’t seem to make sense in this case. How would Fuller know that the expelled student was engaged in “explicit sexual conduct” with her wife? According to the article, the student was expelled when her same-sex marriage was discovered by Fuller’s administrators. As everyone knows, however, there have been plenty of celibate marriages. That leads me to wonder if there is some other distinction being made in this case. Perhaps the problem comes from the student’s marriage. Maybe by Fuller’s definition, a “marriage” automatically implies “sexual conduct.” . . . ?

I’m honestly stumped. Can anyone explain it?