Friday, March 26, 2010

Being a Christian in Academia

I was praying today for the other Christian faculty members on my campus. Not that I don't pray for the nonChristians--I do--but I pray that the Christians would be strong and winsome and wise. The ones I know are nice people and good colleagues and, while perhaps not the coolest people on campus, have good reputations. I would hope for more than just a good reputation, though, but spiritual influence.

Being a Christian on a secular campus means conflict in a couple of areas. Sometimes it's in terms of politics, but it shouldn't be. I really try to keep my conservatism under raps because I don't want it confused with my faith. While there are connections between the two, I don't have a "what would Jesus do" view of how I vote. Perhaps I should, but I don't, at least not totally. I don't know how Jesus would vote on health care reform. I suspect He would prefer a fiscally solvent government system, no way for irresponsible women to kill their babies, but also that poor people who are trying to work and make a living and care for their families are not excluded from reasonable medical care. But my suspicions may be really off; they often are.

I try to keep my politics to myself, but I haven't done a good job this week; I even admitted in class to voting Republican most of the time (although I have voted for democrats). Since I teach about political rhetoric, it's hard. However, one of the other teachers, a rabid Democrat and a Christian also, makes no bones about it. I have tenure now, so I'm not so afraid for my status. I just don't think it's ethical to be vocal about your politics in the classroom.

Related to the political one is sexual orientation. I'm good about this one, because I respect people and don't want any derogatory statements made in my class (one boy, not too bright, referred to "queers" the other day, which got a "watch-it" look from me). I oppose same-sex marriage; however, I don't mind a speech on it if it's done well (not one of those "people should be free to love whoever they want" kind of ditties).

More to the point, the other major issue is evolution. It's the elephant in the room. Many disciplines are influenced by it. I am not a biologist, so it doesn't directly affect me, but I know any credibility I have gained in the last six years would plummet if I told some of the biology teachers that I don't accept a 6 billion year old earth (nor do I accept a 6,000 year old earth). More on this later.

No comments:

Post a Comment