Phi Beta Cons

Coming Out of the Conservative Closet

Todd Hartch, an associate professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, writes in Public Discourse about his experience coming out publicly as a conservative. For him, it was worth facing “derision and rejection” from his liberal peers in order to stand up for what he believes. The consequences are even worse, he argues, when conservatives remain cowed:

For at least two generations, Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals, and other religious conservatives have sought to “get along” with the prevailing American campus culture of relativism and moral license. We have dedicated ourselves to academic excellence, to fair and balanced teaching, and to keeping a low profile. We have kept quiet in department meetings, in the faculty senate, and on university committees. We have bitten our tongues when colleagues disparaged our religion, our morality, and our most cherished beliefs. We have convinced our colleagues that religious conservatives can be surprisingly thoughtful and urbane.

In the end, what have such actions won for us? . . .

Holding our tongues might have allowed us to advance professionally but it has contributed to the near death of the American campus. Yes, progressives bear much of the blame for the stultifying sameness of contemporary academia, but we let them do what they wanted. It’s time to speak up. It is time to make a public case for truth, for human dignity, for academic standards, and for the joy of learning. I guarantee that students will not be bored when they see us defending the truth.

For both professors and students, the pressure to remain silent on college campuses is often intense. Click here to read the full story of what happened to Hartch after he publicly criticized the university’s decision to grant benefits to domestic partners.

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