Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two Related Remarks on Academic Freedom

The V monologues isn't about academics; it's about propaganda. Refusing it a venue actually enhances freedom, since young minds are not being troubled by tendentious sloganeering that's a substitute for genuine thought.
"Romulus," on Catholic University of America's policy towards a new seasonal play

At secular universities, a professor who in class sought to analyze prayer as a human experience of relating to God, or who sought to understand the Bible as God’s saving revelation for humanity, would quickly find herself censured. A Solemn Authority would admonish her that such notions were “inappropriate” in class and that she must keep her “personal beliefs” to herself. Secular universities restrict academic freedom because they exclude from the classroom engagement with religious beliefs precisely as religious. The secular academy thus puts itself in the curious position of excluding from non-reductionist consideration the beliefs by which the overwhelming majority of the human race lives. Such self-censorship is dangerous. Because of the sometimes threatening manifestations of religion in our world, the stubborn refusal even to acknowledge religion as religion and to study it as such amounts to an ivory-tower dereliction of intellectual duty.

Brad Gregory, history professor at Notre Dame

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