Thursday, January 17, 2019

California Completes March Toward Secularism

The University of Washington is Washington’s flagship university.  The school is one of oldest on the West Coast and features one the most prestigious medical schools in the world. The school also has a lavish library in the structure of a cathedral with three arches. Along the cathedral there are statues of Voltaire, Rousseau, and other Enlightenment thinkers. The library is a place of worship, a charged atmosphere, but its god is secular reason. The library acts as a synecdoche for the whole university that seeks to baptize students into the worldview of materialism and secularism.  The school may not advocate such a purpose, rather they may even proclaim themselves as objective or modern; but it’s clear that they are inducting their students into the cult of Secular Enlightenment.

Universities are charged environments that have distinct rituals and institutions that seek to teach its students the values of the university. This model makes no university neutral or objective but rather biased toward a particular worldview. This is why the notion of a Christian university makes sense. It is an institution that through its rituals, teachings, and structures teaches its students a Christian worldview. Like any coherent worldview, the Christian discriminates between what is right and wrong, which may be different than the values of the secular. The separation of church and state protects the possibility of the state regulating which ideas and values are allowed.

In California, this possibility is becoming a reality. Senate Bill 1146 would make exemptions to Title IX, the non-discrimination law for educational institutions, for only seminaries and divinity schools. As the bill says,

Existing federal law, known as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits a person, on the basis of sex, from being excluded from participation in, being denied the benefits of, or being subject to discrimination under, any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Both the federal and state laws do not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization

Christian schools such as Biola would be forced to succumb to Title IX, which has the inclusion of transgender bathrooms, limitation on expressions of faith such as requiring theology classes and attendance to chapel services. This bill would make the idea of a distinctly Christian college or liberal arts university effectively illegal. The Christian worldview would be replaced by dogmatic secularism.

Firstly, this is an attack on the right of freedom of association. This freedom is the right to associate with groups of an individual’s own choosing, and for groups to take collective actions to pursue their interests. Part of the reasoning behind this freedom is that society benefits by having a diverse set of ideas which individuals can choose to identify with. SB 1146 would infringe on this right as it makes it illegal for Christian universities to integrate faith and practice according to their conscience. Moreover, by freedom of association, students should have a right to decide the terms of their education; however SB 1146 rules out the choice for a distinctly Christian education.

Freedom of association prevents tyranny because it prevents the state from interfering with religious institutions and the consciences of its adherents. The adoption of this bill is effectively California's adoption of the cult of reason.  Furthermore, this bill is an ominous sign for the future of the country as California is the pioneer of social policy and issues. You want to see the future of religious liberty? Look to California. The long march toward secularism and the marginalization of religion is coming to an end, and the result is neither freedom nor liberty, but the enforcement of dogma akin to premodern times. The sexual revolutionaries take no prisoners and are willing to label any opponent as bigoted, ironically premodern, and on the wrong side of history. Whereas it was once promised that individual lives and institutions wouldn’t be affected, it would be impossible to defy the new sexual regime.

As said before, this marks the end of a long march; this development was not arbitrary or spontaneous, but the logical outworking of the leftist ideologies that pervade government, the media, and academia. While there is some hope as rising tuition, tremendous student debt, academic censorship, and political bias become ever increasing, issues that threaten the liberal academy, the near future looks grim. In this time it is becoming more important to fight for freedom and stand up against the tyrants of this dark age. 

Author

Stiven Peter

Stiven Peter is a student who has a passion for culture, theology, and philosophy. His favorite authors are Herman Bavinck and Carl Henry.