By Charbel Salako | Contributor
This past week an anonymous publication titled "Excalibur" was presented to the Taylor University public and has thus brought forth much debate and controversy.
In Excalibur, there are arguable positives which an individual Christian can agree upon regarding the overall message that there is a common consensus of doctrinal beliefs (such as those represented by the Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed and other ecumenical Christian creeds). There is a common good that is being done because of Excalibur. Some of the right conversations are now being had, understanding is being achieved and people's voices are being heard in the midst of all the turmoil and confusion.
But, certain positions were brought forth and undertaken in the name of "Western conservative political thought," and the Bible was used as a reference point - or, shall I be bold and say it was used as a "weapon" - to illustrate arguments on issues pertaining to social justice and race relations. We simply cannot use our own political posture to draw the basis for commonly held Christian beliefs and attempt to dismiss any opposing views as "false" and or adhering to "false teachings." The results of such thinking has already been tried in American history and the results are still in effect today.
In an interview with the Marion (Indiana) Chronicle-Tribune, assistant professor of theology Andrew Draper stated, "the letter seemed to suggest critical race theory and social justice thought are not drawn from Christian thought." Such topics of social justice are at the forefront of the Christianity's tenets and to be dismissive of them is leading towards incorrect assertions.
Many people can see the history of western notions of social justice and its foundations and speak of its flawed and broken remedies when it comes to these topics. The western conservative view has seldom at any point in history lived up to its own ideal in terms of social justice, and to go from one extreme to another is a lofty stretch to say the least.
Holding these principles of governance to such a universally high position of authority and utilizing Scripture to support only these claims is inaccurate, controversial and disrespectful to the faith of those who aren't conservatively western in their thinking. Alas, the problem does not exist in Excalibur's viewpoint, but the problem exists within holding this ideology to the highest degree of dealing with justice and that any other method is untrue and sheer heresy.
Nonetheless, the freedom of speech is arguably one of the greatest blessings a person can have whilst living in America; however, the methodology and means by which we portray and carry out the distribution of our thoughts must be done so carefully and under the highest level of correctness to ensure individuals are not targeted, as was done by the circulation of Excalibur newsletters.
The question that must be asked here is considerable. Why do the members of Excalibur feel the urge to go underground to be heard? Alan Blanchard, associate professor of journalism and adviser for The Echo claimed that if, "those associated with Excalibur approached the student newspaper wanting to publish some sort of piece it would have been welcomed."
Is this campus environment one where individuals can freely voice their opinions and deepest heartfelt convictions? In the words of our president, P. Lowell Haines, "We must engage ideas on their merit, and be willing to risk offense for the sake of truth."
We as Taylor University faculty, staff and students must continually strive to foster a community in which groups and individuals don't need to revert to anonymity to share their deepest views.