The Corner

Do They Really Believe This Nonsense?

Many years ago — early in my litigation career against campus censorship and repression — I challenged in court a policy that confidently declared, “Acts of intolerance will not be tolerated.”

Think about that sentence for a moment — would the university violate its own policy against intolerance by not tolerating intolerance, and then be forced to punish itself? At any rate, a federal judge struck it down, and that particular phrase of repressive college doublespeak started to disappear into the memory hole.

The impulse to cloak censorship and repression in high-minded nonsense remains, however. Yesterday the New York Times covered the plight of Christian groups on campus, where groups at dozens of universities — including in the California State University System, the nation’s largest — face exclusion from campus because they refuse to submit to demands that they not use their religious faith when determining the leaders of religious groups. As if it should be irrelevant whether a Christian bible study leader is actually Christian. Justified as a diversity initiative, it is motivated by nothing but malice — the desire to force Christian groups into a corner so that they either leave (the preferred outcome), water down their faith to accommodate university-approved ideologies (a decent second-best alternative), or lie about their policies and actions (an immoral response that also leaves the groups vulnerable to school discipline).

But universities can’t tell the truth about this hostility, so they make utterly nonsensical statements like this, from Cal State’s lawyer, “Our mission is education, not exclusivity.”

What does this even mean? Cal State’s policy is fundamentally and intentionally exclusive, motivated by “education” only to the extent that it educates its students that there’s something wrong with faithful Christian students, that the exercise of their faith is harmful to the campus. In other words, exclusion is the point of Cal State’s “education.”

And students learn this lesson well. Do you wonder why so many of our citizens are convinced that you shouldn’t even hold a job unless you have the proper views on the sexual revolution? Look no further than your local campus, where intellectually bankrupt ideologues have spoken, loudly and clearly: Acts of intolerance will not be tolerated, and the “exclusive” shall be excluded.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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