1. At Bowdoin College, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, a tiny Evangelical group that has been on campus for 40 years, will be de-recognized by the college because it will not allow non-Christians to run for leadership of the group. Excerpt:
In a collision between religious freedom and anti-discrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college’s demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association.
Similar conflicts are playing out on a handful of campuses around the country, driven by the universities’ desire to rid their campuses of bias, particularly against gay men and lesbians, but also, in the eyes of evangelicals, fueled by a discomfort in academia with conservative forms of Christianity. The universities have been emboldened to regulate religious groups by a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that found it was constitutional for a public law school in California to deny recognition to a Christian student group that excluded gays.
At Cal State, the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders. And at Vanderbilt, more than a dozen groups, most of them evangelical but one of them Catholic, have already lost their official standing over the same issue; one Christian group balked after a university official asked the students to cut the words “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” from their list of qualifications for leadership.
This is egalitarian ideology run amok. An organization must allow people who don’t share its core beliefs to have a chance to run it? That makes no sense. I say this is egalitarianism run amok, but there’s probably a great deal of spite against conservative Christianity here. All campus groups, religious and secular, ought to be objecting to this nonsense, to protect their liberty to govern themselves according to their own vision. Why aren’t they?
2. The FDA has declared that cheesemakers are not allowed to age their cheeses on wooden boards, because this practice, which has been used for centuries by cheesemakers in Europe, is “unsafe”. A cheesemaker discusses the implications:
For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
While most cheesemakers have, perhaps, begrudgingly accepted most of what has been coming down the FSMA pike, including the requirement of HACCP plans and increased federal regulations and inspections, no one expected this giant regulation behemoth to virtually put a stop to innovation in the American artisanal cheese movement.
Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.
Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemakers, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.
What’s more, the FDA’s interpretation of the law stands to halt the importation of all foreign cheeses aged on wooden boards. This is potentially massive. It must not be allowed to happen!
What bureaucrats can destroy when they apply utopian ideals to life as it is actually lived is a lot.