Choosing a College to Hear a Competing View - Island of Sanity

Island of Sanity

Liberals & Conservatives

Choosing a College to Hear a Competing View

When my daughter was in high school, one of her teachers asked her what colleges she was considering. This is a pretty typical conversation: I'm sure many teachers have this conversation with many students every year. She listed the schools she was most interested in, which were all conservative Christian institutions. The teacher replied that she should consider secular, more liberal colleges. After all, he said, she's heard the Christian viewpoint at home and church all her life. It would be good for her to hear the other side so she can have a balanced view.

Well, fair enough. I'm a firm believer in hearing what both sides have to say before coming to a conclusion. But I wish I had been there, because I would have loved to ask him, "So, are you then encouraging your children to attend a conservative Christian school? After all, your children have heard the secular liberal viewpoint at home and in school all their lives. Wouldn't it be good for them to hear the other side?"

Indeed, I think this line of reasoning is far more persuasive when applied to a young person from a secular liberal family than to one from a Christian conserviative family. Yes, it's true that my children hear the conservative Christian viewpoint at home and in church. But they hear the secular liberal viewpoint five days a week in school, and just about every day on television. I think my children have a pretty good idea what both sides have to say. Where do kids from a secular home hear the Christian perspective? Our courts hae ruled that public schools are prohibited from giving the Christian side. In practical terms, there hasn't been much Christian influence in Hollywood since the 1950s.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that this teacher is not telling his kids to go to a Christian school. Statistically, very few secularists go to Christian schools. Very few. Why not?

When someone hears just the conservative Christian viewpoint, that's propaganda and indoctrination. They should hear both sides so they can judge for themselves. But when someone hears just the secular liberal viewpoints, well that's good, because it protects them from being fooled by those crazy ideas.

Photo by W. Steve Shepard Jr, from

© 2012 by Jay Johansen


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