Chega de dar a outra face: discriminação na academia contra os de subjetividades religiosas

sábado, agosto 14, 2010

Opinion: Stop turning the other cheek

3 August 2010

The US academy should treat discrimination against Christian students or scholars as seriously as it would racism or sexism, according to Timothy Larsen, for Inside Higher Ed.

I had lunch this summer with a prospective graduate student at the evangelical college where I teach. I will call him John, because that happens to be his name. John has done well academically at a public university. Nevertheless, as often happens, he said that he was looking forward to coming to a Christian university, and then launched into a story of religious discrimination.

John had been a straight-A student until he enrolled in English writing. The assignment was an “opinion” piece and the required theme was “traditional marriage”. John is a Southern Baptist and he felt it was his duty to give his honest opinion and explain how it was grounded in his faith. The professor was annoyed that John claimed the support of the Bible for his views, scribbling in the margin, “Which Bible would that be?” On the very same page, John’s phrase, “Christians who read the Bible,” provoked the same retort, “Would that be the Aramaic Bible, the Greek Bible, or the Hebrew Bible?” (What could the point of this be? Did the professor want John to imagine that while the Greek text might support his view of traditional marriage, the Aramaic version did not?) The paper was rejected as a “sermon” and given an F, with the words “I reject your dogmatism” written at the bottom by way of explanation.

Thereafter, John could never get better than a C for papers without any marked errors or corrections. When he asked for a reason why yet another grade was so poor, he was told that it was inappropriate to quote C.S. Lewis in work for an English class because he was “a pastor”. (Lewis, of course, was actually an English professor at the University of Cambridge. Perhaps it was wrong to quote Lewis simply because he had said something recognisably Christian). Eventually, John complained to the department chair, who said curtly that he could do nothing until the course was over. John took this to mean that the chair would do nothing and just accepted the bad grade.

I suspect that many readers are already generating “maybe... ” scenarios that pad out this story so that John was actually treated fairly. Blaming the victim is a familiar response to reports of discrimination. Maybe John is just one of those uppity believers who don’t know their place.

Maybe. Maybe John got an F purely as an academic judgement. I’ve seen the marked paper (and my own view is that it is academically weak, but certainly not deserving of an F), and I’m not in a position to hear the professor or the chair’s explanation of the broader context. But the wider point is that those of us in Christian higher education often hear such accounts. We also experience similar incidents ourselves. Here is a story of my own:

Postscript :

Timothy Larsen is McManis professor of Christian thought, Wheaton College, Illinois. His most recent monograph, A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians, will be published in January by Oxford University Press.


Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Times Higher Education


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