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The Failure of Religious Universities

September 14, 2019

The record of faithlessness of Protestant and Catholic colleges and universities disappoints those who believe that Christian faith should make us better. As a close follower of religious colleges and universities, I am not surprised by any of their failings. And I am an active reader of reports by the Sycamore Trust about betrayal of the Church by University of Notre Dame administrators.

Because I know some good and bad Catholic colleges, I’ve always extolled the accomplishments of Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson’s Liberty and Regent Universities.

I once dined with Fallwell Sr. at a meeting of the Council of National Policy. Sitting to my right was the President of Palm Beach Atlantic University and I was impressed when Fallwell asked why Palm Beach Atlantic wasn’t a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. In Protestant religion, a membership of that sort is the equivalent of Orthodoxy among Catholics. Fallwell was a believer and wanted to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the ways he tried to do that was by founding a Protestant university.

Politico has published several essays by a former Liberty University undergraduate, Brandon Ambrosino, that reveal some slippage in the morality of Jerry Fallwell, Jr. and his son, Trey.  It seems that the Fallwells are very human, proving that the sons of Great Men have a very tough time of it.

Keeping any religious or philosophically “conservative” college or universities on the straight and narrow, is very difficult. Intellectuals, even committed Christian ones, are non-conformists and something, indeed most things, they write will offend. We accept that because we believe that over a lifetime they’ll get some things right.

That is not the case with the Progressive Left that entered higher education in the late 19th century, dominated higher education in the Great Depression and today are engaged in indoctrination of college students in Progressive ideology that some trace to the Marxist Frankfort School in Germany.

How then can you keep the faith and administer the gifts of higher education to students. As Protestant preachers, Fallwell and Robertson, maintain a rigorous social code that every employee agrees to adhere to. “No drinking,” of alcohol, of course, is a big one that I find intolerable. But there are other strict policies that, from my perspective, miss the point.

If you are educating students for life, you want traditional scholars who intentionally have resisted the ideologies that go back to the French and Bolshevik revolutions.

How do you find them? Read their books and essays. And what if you can’t find ones your looking for? Go to Europe and you’ll find some who are not infected by Political Correctness.

I did something of the sort and recruited scholars in Classics, Art history, Philosophy, Politics, Business, History–some thirty scholars who made up our first curriculum in Government at Yorktown University.  Eventually, I met with every single one of them and confirmed that I had done a good job.

I didn’t ask a single one if they accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior or whether they regularly imbibed alcoholic beverages.



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