A New Crime Wave at American Universities: What has China to do with State U?
Contact: Lyn Perez, Reformed Theological Seminary, 407-366-9493, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 7, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — The following commentary is submitted by Dr. Michael A. Milton.
A sinister wave of crime is sweeping American university campuses. Even the most prestigious universities like Vanderbilt University in Nashville are not exempt. Indeed, these types of criminal activity have spread like a hideous contagion to state universities, SUNY Buffalo being the most recent site. And the most alarming part of it all? The criminals are those who are running the schools. No, I am not talking about white collar crimes. I am not talking about violence. I am talking about what Dr. Michael M. Jordan of Hillsdale College has called “pedagogical crime” – that is educational crime – which can result in his sobering phrase: “cultural suicide.”
Yes, I am talking about the recent and escalating discrimination policies against Christian college campus ministries. If this absolutely sinister and anti-American crack-down on Christians is not stopped then we will commit “cultural suicide,” indeed. All other freedoms are grounded in this fundamental freedom to worship God as we understand it, and to assemble freely to do so. All other religions flourish (and the “idea of the university” is allowed to exist) when Christianity’s beacon of light shines brightly.
The discrimination against Christian groups is ironically cloaked under the guise of university policies of nondiscrimination. Such “politically correct” policies demand that student Christian groups, even long-standing ministries such as InterVarsity Fellowship and others, must change their constitutions and allow unbelievers to not only join but be able to lead the groups. In other words those who are atheists, agnostics and those who would oppose Christianity with both their beliefs and their lifestyles, must, according to this new religious police force, be fully accommodated. Or? Or the Christian groups must disband as official campus ministries. These recent anti-Christian actions not only violate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but are textbook cases in “the worst public relation blunders ever!”
After a more than three hour meeting with Vanderbilt’s provost, students failed to find any compromise. One report I read cited a Chinese student who recognized the American university’s demands to quell free speech and seek to control the faith and practice of conservative evangelicals and devout Catholics. The Communists in his home country have created an entire movement of underground churches by their similar repression of religious freedom. But his insight may be the final divine disposition of this matter. If we have learned anything from two millennia of church history and from 20th century history, we have learned that whenever any government or any organization or any power structure seeks to stop Christianity it actually ends up promoting a vibrant faith in Christ.
Yes, Christian campus groups may have to go underground at universities like Vanderbilt and SUNY Buffalo and other campuses. But the Gospel pattern is that the very thing which seeks to destroy Christianity becomes the instrument that promotes it. It was this way with the cross which was an instrument of shame and became a symbol of victory.
Could it now be that in seeking to quiet the faith and practice of believers on some of our nation’s top campuses those individuals responsible are in fact lighting the fires of a revival that will soon begin to sweep across a nation? And maybe even some university officials who are seeking to stop the faithful will become, Paul-like, converted to that which they oppose? We have every reason to be alarmed at this recent attack of religious liberty and freedom of speech in our nation. But as Christians we also have every reason, biblical and historical, to suspect that God is up to something good.
“You meant it for evil,” Joseph told his criminal brothers, “but God intended it for good, so that many will be saved.” And that is a faith that overcomes and transforms antagonists into saints. Let our voices be heard by those who seek to stop the campus ministries who declare that Jesus is Lord. Let’s also let our voices be heard by the One we worship: “Lord, do it again on our college campuses!” Then the lion will lie down with the lamb and the university president will lead in singing “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” at the Wednesday night campus Bible study group. That would be a lesson we would never forget.
Michael Anthony Milton (Ph.D., University of Wales) serves as the chancellor/CEO elect of Reformed Theological Seminary (one of the largest accredited seminaries in the country), a U.S. Army chaplain (instructing at the Armed Forces Chaplain School) and the James M. Baird Jr. chair of pastoral theology at RTS/Charlotte. He is an author, songwriter, singer, ordained minister, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., and he previously served as the president of RTS/Charlotte. Dr. Milton also hosts a national Bible teaching television program, Faith For Living, broadcast on the NRB Television Network, and a radio program broadcast on several stations in the southeast. For 16 years he served in the business world and has also served as a top-secret Navy linguist.