Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Patrick Reilly is Right


Following up on Candace’s post on Georgetown’s ejection of several evangelical Christian groups from campus, I think Patrick Reilly’s point is spot-on.  Reilly (president of the invaluable Cardinal Newman Society) makes the point that “Georgetown’s campus ministry could much better reflect Georgetown’s Catholic identity by enthusiastically embracing and teaching the Catholic faith—and only the Catholic faith—while encouraging non-Catholics to worship privately on campus, and gather publicly with off-campus groups, churches, temples, etc.”

Religious schools have a near-absolute right to maintain a distinctive (and exclusive) religious mission.  My own alma mater, Lipscomb University is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive Christian education and requires students to take daily Bible classes and attend chapel services daily.  The problem comes when Christian universities, often as a result of an insatiable thirst for the greater prestige (and, yes, wealth) of a functionally secular educational environment, compromise the founding mission of the college.  And the Catholic schools are not alone in this.  The landscape is littered with Baptist schools that have either shed their official religious affiliations or are in the process of doing so.  

In this case, Georgetown is trying to have it both ways — on the one hand, it supposedly embraces free speech and religious pluralism (even going so far as to actually employ a Muslim Imam) but when it comes to welcoming evangelicals, the message not that free speech and not that much religious pluralism.   

Georgetown University (and the other Christian colleges that have followed the same path) could offer a distinctive education.  It could stand out as the exception in a higher education community that increasingly despises people of conservative or orthodox faith, but instead it is just another leftist college engaging in just another act of ridiculous and unjustifiable censorship.


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