A few days ago, I had a conversation with a neighbor who revealed to me that, insofar as she would like to exercise her right to bear arms, she doesn’t consider herself especially “liberal.” For this reason, she would eventually like to leave our painfully blue state of New Jersey.
Yet during the course of our exchange, she also shared that her daughter is away at college. I responded: “I hope that she doesn’t come home hating you.” I was half-joking, of course, but only by half. It was then that I told her that, being an academic dissident, I make it my mission to inform otherwise uninformed parents of what their children can expect to experience during their time in today’s university.
A glance at a couple of recent events from two schools, one secular, the other Catholic, suffices all too easily to leave an indelible impression of the contemporary academy:
At George Washington University, just days after much of the Christian world celebrated Easter, a training session was held for faculty and students. The purpose of this “diversity workshop” is to expound upon the thesis that Christians “receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country.”
The seminar is titled: “Christian Privilege: But Our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?!” According to the seminar description, Christians have “built-in advantages” over non-Christians.
Upon their completion of the workshop, participants should be able to “describe what is meant by privilege overall and white privilege especially;” “describe the role of denial when it comes to white privilege;” “differentiate between equality and equity;” “list at least three examples of Christian privilege;” and “list at least three ways to be an ally with a non-Christian person.”
Over at Providence College, a Dominican-founded, Roman Catholic institution, the school has succumbed to what Anthony Esolen, one of its former faculty members, characterizes as the “Totalitarian Diversity Cult.” Esolen is a practicing Catholic, a scholar who famously translated Dante’s Divine Comedy, who left Providence nearly a year ago because of what he insists is its abandonment of its Catholic Christian mission.
A year later, it no longer seems possible to doubt Esolen’s analysis.
Michael Smalanskas is a senior at Providence and a Resident Advisor. He is also a conservative Roman Catholic. Consistent with his job description, Smalanskas, shortly before spring break, placed a flyer on a dormitory bulletin board. It read: “Marriage: The Way God Intended It…One Man, One Woman.” The flyer also included quotations affirming marriage from both Pope Francis and the Gospel of Mark.
Smalanskas informed National Review that his intention in hanging the flyer was “to expose a double standard on campus that certain positions—mainly conservative and Catholic positions—are not welcome here and are treated with hatred.”
Furthermore, conservative and Catholic views “are just not protected in the same way” as the beliefs of others.
But within hours, Smalanskas was besieged by “all sorts of harassing text messages,” and, according to The College Fix, even his fellow RAs “keyed into his building after hours to undo his work as a Providence employee.”
When a mob began forming outside of Smalanskas’ room, campus security insisted upon escorting him to another building as “a precaution.” During his interview with LifeSite News, Smalanskas supplied a glaring example of the moral divide separating traditional conservative students from the campus left. “There had been a pro-lesbian bulletin board up for the entire month of February in one of the female residence halls,” he remarked. “But nobody was rioting outside of the girl’s door.”
Things got so bad for Smalanskas that he “couldn’t even go brush my teeth for several nights without facing a mob” in the hallway.
Smalanskas’ fellow RAs and other students are calling for his termination and, eventually, someone posted on the wall of Smalanskas’ dormitory bathroom a drawing of him about to be raped by a man.
Despite all of this, however, Providence College has allegedly done nothing so far to aid Smalanskas except to offer him “mental health services.” After he was whisked away in a squad car to an undisclosed location for his own safety from the left-wing mob, Smalanskas called the chaplain’s office for support. Yet the priest “didn’t even want to come. When he did finally show up,” Smalanskas recalls, “he basically begged and pleaded with me to ‘graduate in peace,’” and “told me that I was ‘throwing culture bombs.’”
To this priest’s credit, though, Smalanskas says that he is now “overcompensating” for the manner in which he treated the beleaguered student on the evening that he was targeted.
Not everyone has been willing to repent. In March, Smalanskas and his faculty advisor, James Keating, met with the Vice President of Student Affairs, Kristine Goodwin, the Vice President of Mission and Ministry, Father R. Gabriel Pivarnik, and Providence’s attorney. Smalanskas and Keating asked for the school to publicly condemn the treatment to which Smalanskas had been subjected; publicly reaffirm the Catholic mission of Providence, underscoring that Smalanskas’ exhibit comports with traditional Catholic teaching; and publicly insist that Providence is a safe space for “free speech.”
School officials refused to take any of these measures.
The Vice President of Student Affairs, Ms. Goodwin, did send out a rather lengthy email to the student body imploring for all of its members to treat one another with respect. She also mentioned that while Smalanskas’ position on marriage was consistent with that of the Church, it is “only a part” of Catholic teaching that, “when taken out of context,” “can have detrimental consequences, especially if it ends up alienating people from the truth that it serves.”
Goodwin then urged students to “walk in solidarity with SHEPARD” as it holds its demonstration to promote “unity, affirmation, and inclusion even amidst controversy.”
SHEPARD, you see, is the organization that called for the Providence community to “stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ*” in a “march against homophobia and transphobia.”
After nearly a month’s worth of outside pressure by those disgusted by Providence’s refusal to publically defend one of their students, the president of the college finally responded to Smalanskas’ request to repudiate the treatment to which the latter has been subjected while reaffirming the Church’s position on marriage. Father Brian Shanley sent out a lengthy campus-wide email. Three paragraphs into it he condemned the attacks against Smalanskas as “odious and reprehensible.”
Michael Smalanskas puts the point well. While he “appreciate[s] that he [Shanley] addressed the issue more thoroughly,” his “hesitation to speak forcefully on the matter speaks volumes [.]” Smalanskas adds:
“It took the president over three weeks to try and do something that could have easily been addressed immediately. He seems to suggest that his only reason for doing so was in response to the negative publicity and criticism from concerned Catholics, once again insulting anyone who is concerned about Catholic identity as uncharitable and angry.”
The hard left, stories like this should make obvious, has even taken control of many traditionally Christian institutions of higher learning. Fewer and fewer places are immunized against it.
This being so, parents who wish to send their children to “Christian” colleges should take care to insure that they aren’t the victims of false advertising.
Tragically, the odds are greater than not that they will be.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.