Moral Vacuity At Moralistic Colleges
For anyone wondering how traditional Christianity is going to fare in the culture in future, even within many Christian institutions, the disturbing tale of Dr. Bradley Nassif, formerly of North Park University, an institution formally connected to the theologically conservative Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), offers an interesting case in point.
Dr. Nassif is a well-known Orthodox theologian, a respected scholar, and a gracious contributor to ecumenical dialogues between Protestantism and Orthodoxy. Such is his standing that the Washington Post consulted him for commentary on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications for religious liberty. As a Lebanese American, he is a member of an ethnic minority. And until recently, he was also the only tenured Orthodox faculty member in the Bible department of an American evangelical institution. None of this protected him from dismissal, however.
In May 2021, North Park University (NPU) discontinued its Christian Studies Department (CSD) due to low enrollment, and consequently dismissed four tenured faculty, including Dr. Nassif. However, an investigation by a neutral outside organization demonstrated that the CSD was in fact in a strong financial position. Three of the four professors were rehired, but Dr. Nassif was left out in the cold. Now, adjunct faculty teach his courses.
The reason is no mystery. Nassif maintains that all this occurred because he expressed his reasoned, orthodox views on marriage and human sexuality. He was the only faculty member in CSD who went on record in support of the ECC’s views of marriage and sexuality, and held that they should be included in the curriculum. Certain members of the faculty and administration responded to his perspective with hostility. And this stand on sexuality became a constitutive part of why he was dismissed.
These aren't empty accusations, as Trueman explains. There is documentation. it seems crystal clear that Brad Nassif was fired because he upholds his university's sponsoring denomination's views on homosexuality. And, as Trueman points out, NPU destroyed this man as his wife is dying of stage four lung cancer. Such fine Christians, the leadership of North Park University. As Trueman points out, this is the new order under which we live:
Under this regime, you can indulge in the lazy and sophomoric practice of dismissing a man from an ethnic minority [Nassif is Arab -- RD] as being “white” merely because you do not like his views. You can claim to be a Christian institution while refusing Christian teaching on sexuality a place in the curriculum. And you can do all this with impunity, perhaps even with the applause of the wider culture, because of the logic of the regime of truth within which you operate.
The good-faith advocates of pluralism need to take note: This new regime of truth does not respect Enlightenment principles of tolerance and fair play. It considers those to be cynical masks for power and privilege. Yet it is not self-aware enough to realize that its own rhetorical mask of DEI is far more cynical and its own privileges far less transparent and honest than the mask it has replaced. The goalposts are always changing. One's status as an ethnic or religious minority can be either a decisive factor or utterly irrelevant depending on what those in power think on any given day. It’s an unpredictable game of gotcha with no stable set of rules, as Dr. Nassif has discovered to his cost.
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Meanwhile, ultrawoke Oberlin University lost its appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court over a $36 million judgment against it for its part in destroying a beloved local family business with false accusations that it was a nest of Kluckers. Lorna Gibson asks, "Will I ever see the $36 million Oberlin owes me?" Excerpt:
David met with the President of the school, along with other administrators, to try to get Oberlin to retract its baseless claims that we were racist, and to quell the small group of students who, in their passion, had gotten us so wrong. But Oberlin would not even consider issuing a statement, and allowed the public to believe that we were in fact “racist,” even after the students pled guilty.
Instead, the school proposed a deal where, in the future, if a student were caught shoplifting, we’d call the dean instead of the police. My husband and his dad believe firmly that everyone should be treated equally, so they refused. Eventually, in 2017, we felt that we had no choice other than filing a lawsuit against Oberlin (for libel, among other things) because David’s 89-year-old father, who had dedicated his life to the business, did not want to die being falsely branded a racist.
By the time the trial started, things were falling apart. We couldn't make payroll, so we had to let go of half of our employees and cut our operating hours way back. My father-in-law, who made bagel deliveries to the college into his eighties, loved to sit outside the store all day and talk to whomever went by. He was a fixture in the community. Since word about the business with the college had spread, he’d sit outside for hours and hours, but no one would talk to him. It broke his heart, and mine. Calling us racists wasn’t just wrong, it was deeply painful to our core.
Now their business is ruined -- and woke Oberlin, which she has has a billion-dollar endowment, still won't pay them. Being progressive means never having to say you're sorry, not if the people you wronged are white.