Lexie Lake | Contributor
It is an honor to have Vice President Mike Pence speak at Taylor University's 2019 commencement.
In an email sent to students and faculty, President P. Lowell Haines made the claim that Pence aligns with Taylor's mission. This has caused dissension on campus, as many beliefs are clouded by personal judgments or biases. It is vital that opinions on campus are adequately informed.
Taylor University's mission statement says: "The mission of Taylor University is to develop servant leaders marked with a passion to minister Christ's redemptive love and truth to a world in need."
Taylor desires that students gain a passion for love and truth. There are always people who disagree. Loving them is half of what God calls us to do. Seeking and speaking truth, is the other half.
As discerning humans, we form opinions daily. Each person has ideas, making us diverse. Having differing opinions does not revoke our obligation to speak truth. Allowing different views strengthens community.
These are the ideas Taylor University supports; therefore, it is a privilege to host someone who lives these out in his career, while not compromising the truths of the Bible.
Throughout his career Pence has stood for acts aligning with his faith. Though human, he has sought to love those in disagreement.
"My family and I have a view on marriage that's informed by our faith," Pence stated in "Mike Pence, facing criticism from 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg over his record on gay rights, says South Bend mayor 'knows better.'" "And we stand by that. But that doesn't mean that we're critical of anyone else who has a different point of view."
Pence follows truth - the same truth in the LTC.
Taylor's goal is to foster diversity of thought and inviting Pence to Taylor achieves that.
"My contention is that (diversity in race, sexual orientation, etc.) are not valuable in themselves but valuable because of a deeper good, namely viewpoint diversity, the plurality of perspectives which is so crucial to the advancement and enhancement of learning, which of course is the ultimate good of any academic community," James Spiegel, professor of philosophy and religion, wrote in his article "Viewpoint Diversity: Why Plurality of Perspective is Vital to the University." "Diversity of views is inherent to the original and on-going purpose of the university, as a place where many different perspectives and belief commitments co-exist and integrate in creative, cooperative, and innovative ways."
Most can agree that we value diversity. Will inviting the Vice President to Taylor's campus shut down diversity of thought? The same question can be asked of Katharine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist and professor of political science, who spoke last week on climate change. There is strength in diversity and diversity includes politics. It is an honor to host the vice president.
Mike Pence has sided with acts that attempt to promote peace in our country and achieve growth and Christian values - the most respectful way to uphold love and truth. He has sided with ideas that will best achieve security and prosperity in our country. The claim that Pence does not align with Taylor's views or is not a representation of our faith is unfounded. Pence supports the viewpoints of a conservative Christian school; the viewpoints each student had to sign, in agreement with, before attending Taylor.
Having the Vice President on our campus is not shutting down diversity, but rather fostering conversation and equipping students to debate and question ideas. It is opening conversation from a different perspective and will help Taylor achieve its goal of creating students with passion for love and truth.