‘The recently founded University of Austin is reinventing higher education, with plans that include banning tenure, ditching doctorate requirements for faculty, and hiring the “leanest possible administration.”
The College Fix spoke by phone to President Pano Kanelos about the process of building a new university in the heart of Texas, from staffing to admissions to facilities.
Fourteen months ago, the university’s founders “promised an education without the censorship and enforced ideology present at most traditional universities,” The Fixreported November 2021.
Since then, the university has collected $105 million in funding. The institution was only an “idea” a year ago with no alumni to draw support from, said Kanelos (pictured), former president of St. John’s College in Annapolis.
There are a lot of religious teachers I have never heard of and Kevin Young was one of them until now.
‘Kevin Young, an up-and-coming false teacher among Evangeleftists, regularly uses progressive talking points to advocate for radical anti-biblical positions. Young believes that Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction was not related to sodomy but rather due to the lack of hospitality. Such scripture twisting has led to such bad conclusions as the idea that Jesus and Paul were proponents of “Gender Fluidity”.’https://protestia.substack.com/p/evangeleftist-kevin-young-tells-bible
Young lists Cedarville University and Dallas seminary as schools he has attend or graduated from but whether they applaud his teachings or not is not known by this blogger.
From what I have read of his teachings it is best to stay as far away from Kevin Young and his teachings.
2Corinthians 6:11 ¶ O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
‘A chaplain who lost his job at a Church of England school has given evidence to a tribunal that “truth, Christian faith, freedom of faith and speech” were “ridden roughshod over” as the school disciplined him and eventually made him redundant.
Today, Rev. Dr Bernard Randall told East Midlands Employment Tribunal that Trent College, where he worked as a chaplain, that the school had shown “absolutely no regard for the concern [he] had for those upset or confused by the implementation of Educate and Celebrate” – a charity that provides training “to embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric” of their organisations.
Staff training from Educate and Celebrate
In the summer of 2018, Dr Randall became aware that Educate and Celebrate was due to lead a staff training session at the Church of England school. When he visited the charity’s website to understand what the session would involve, he saw that it “went beyond a neutral stance of inclusivity, into active promotion of ideas”. Alarmed by the group’s intention to “smash heteronormativity,” its promotion of identity politics and ‘misleading’ claims, Dr Randall considered writing to the Head, suggesting that the invitation be delayed until there was time to address his concerns.
However, Dr Randall decided instead to attend the Educate & Celebrate training when it took place in September. Although he had no objection to some of what was taught by Ms Elly Barnes, the charity’s founder, he “considered some areas impossible to reconcile with Christian principles, and therefore with the stated objects of the school”.
This included “the notion that ‘love is love’, without further definition” and “having the staff chanting about the need to ‘smash heteronormativity’”.
Dr Randall challenged Ms Barnes over “selective” use of statistics about intersex/Differences in Sexual Development. “I pointed out that, contrary to the list produced by E&C, gender identity is not a protected characteristic, to which Ms Barnes smiled and responded, ‘Well, it should be’”.
Implementing Educate and Celebrate
After the training session, Dr Randall spoke to his line manager and the Head to explain his concerns. They gave assurances that they had not known the full content of the session and were also concerned by the chanting. They said that they “would not simply implement the entire Educate and Celebrate programme as presented, but would make selective use of whatever fitted with the Trent ethos.”
Dr Randall was told that he would be part of a group looking at what aspects of Educate and Celebrate’s programme the school would use. However, in November, after mentioning the lack of meetings he was told he had “not been invited to discussions because [he] ‘might disagree with it.’” He later discovered that the school had since committed to pursuing the charity’s gold award by implementing their entire programme.
Dr Randall picked up on concerns among the school community about aspects of the programme. “Some objected to elements on religious grounds; others found the aggressively political approach concerning, feeling that beliefs were being forced on them; others were simply confused about what they could, or could not, believe.”
When one child asked if he could use a sermon to address the question “How come we are told we have to accept all this LGBT stuff in a Christian school”, he carefully wrote an explanatory, moderate sermon emphasising the importance of “respecting those with whom we disagree”.
He gave the sermon twice in chapel, once with minor alterations, and spoke to various members of staff and pupils. Dr Randall recalled, “They broadly said the message was interesting, enjoyable, and thought-provoking. None seemed to have been upset.”
He even spoke to a pupil who was public about his homosexuality, who also spoke positively. “At no stage did any member of staff or pupil give me any indication of wanting to express negative views, or ask to meet with me to discuss what I had said.”
Nevertheless, within a week, Dr Randall had been asked to attend a meeting with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead. He was given a glancing look at concerns which Dr Randall says “were from people who simply disagreed with Church teaching, or disagreed with it being taught.” He explained that there were factual errors in the complaints about what he had said, but this was brushed aside and Dr Randall was questioned about Church of England doctrine.
Asking what they considered was wrong with his presentation, Dr Randall said that two issues were raised: first, they incorrectly contended that gender identity was a protected characteristic; second, they claimed that psychology textbooks say there are three genders. But the real problem, according to the school was not what Dr Randall had said but how the sermon made people feel.
Dr Randall felt ambushed. While being accused of lacking empathy, he says he “was shown absolutely no empathy during the course of the meeting … There was absolutely no regard for the concern I had expressed for those upset or confused by the implementation of Educate and Celebrate”.
Christian schools unfortunately change through the years as do churches and preachers. Some change for the better and others for the worse. This is the story of Bob Jones University.
‘Earlier we documented Bob Jones University (BJU) stepping into ecumenical compromise with Franklin Graham. See BJU Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement. That was the latest among many excursions, engineered by BJU president Steve Pettit, into non-separatist evangelicallism and the ecumenical movement. From Dr. David Beale’s new book Christian Fundamentalism in America I included a brief excerpt in the BJU/Graham article above and in the BJU: Compromised Spiritual Sanctification for Secular Pragmatism article. Dr. David Beale has written an article to expand on and bolster his argument. That article follows. (Originally appeared 12/14/21).
“After being the premier fundamentalist academic institution for eighty-seven years, BJU elected Dr. Steve Pettit in 2014, as the president who steered the University out of separatist Fundamentalism into the inclusive, Broad Evangelical movement,” David Beale, Christian Fundamentalism in America (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2021), 179, 530.
• Dr. Andy Naselli, in his 2006 BJU dissertation, scorns independent, Fundamental Baptists for giving invitations to “surrender oneself to God.” Naselli criticizes the practice and calls it a “second blessing.” Naselli unsuccessfully tried to identify the Fundamentalist movement with Keswick extremes on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Naselli then identified with Broad Evangelicalism. He now serves on the faculty of John Piper’s College and Seminary, which are Reformed Charismatic schools urging every Christian to seek all NT gifts, including tongues and healing. Piper claims that “Signs and wonders” and all spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are valid for today and must be “earnestly desired.” Piper says, “Prophecy and tongues will continue until Jesus comes.”1 Naselli is a pastor of Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Naselli seeks to transform Fundamentalists into Evangelicalism. In 2019, Dr. Pettit brought Naselli back to BJU to present the lectures for the annual Steward Custer Lecture Series. Naselli’s books were promoted. The late Dr. Custer all his life had been a stalwart Fundamentalist. Naselli represents Broad Evangelicalism. The bond between BJU and Evangelicalism has been clear since the beginning of Pettit’s administration.
• Dr. Sam Horn was executive vice president for enrollment and ministerial advancement at Bob Jones University when, on 2-7-2020, Dr. Pettit announced to all, “Dr. Horn is greatly honored today, and BJU is honored to have one of its own become the next president of The Master’s University and Seminary.” Horn succeeded Dr. John Stead. Dr. John MacArthur, a leading Evangelical, had led The Master’s University and Seminary as president from 1984 to 2018. Dr. Pettit preached for John MacArthur in a conference that year (2020). John Street, Chair of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University, spoke at BJU’s CoRE Conference March 9–10, 2020. Street is an adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. By claiming that the word Fundamentalism can have no single definition,2 BJU leaders claim the label separatist but practice non-separatism (inclusivism). With such a notion, BJU attempts to sit on both sides of the fence—Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism—at the same time.
• Under Dr. Pettit’s administration, BJU students are permitted to bond with churches of denominations harboring apostasy.3 The following churches (underscored below) are among those approved for BJU students to attend.
• Covenant Community (Taylors, SC): An Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). On one of their website videos, the pastor poured water on a little child’s head and said, “This is like Abraham’s ‘baptizing his whole house’” (Genesis 17). The pastor substituted the word baptism for the word circumcision and called it regeneration. Augustine and Roman Catholicism devised and standardized this doctrine, which assumes an OT circumcisional regeneration for Jewish males.4 Romanism transformed that doctrine into NT water baptismal regeneration to elect infants. Forms of that doctrine passed into Reformed theology. John Calvin insisted that OT circumcision engrafted the Jewish infant into the covenant [elect] family of God; thus, NT baptism engrafts a newborn child into the body of Christ.5 Reformed doctrine leads many to believe the seed of regeneration is implanted at infant baptism, though salvation might occur later.6
• Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (Simpsonville, SC), PCA church.
• Second Presbyterian Church (Greenville, SC): A Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). This church’s senior pastor is Dr. Richard Phillips, adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Theological Seminary, which enforces no dress codes and allows the use of alcoholic beverages.7
➢ Richard Phillips is also on the Board of Directors of (1) the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; (2) the Council of The Gospel Coalition, and (3) the Council of the Gospel Reformation Network.8
➢ On October 12, 2019, at Phillips’ Second Presbyterian Church, Dr. Pettit participated in a Conference on Reformed Theology.
• To begin chapel on February 5, 2018, Dr. Pettit announced, “We are honored this morning to have as our guest Dr. Gene Fant,” president of North Greenville University, a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) school. Fant was welcomed with a standing ovation.9 The so-called “SBC Conservative Resurgence” has now spiraled into a deadening mix.10
• Calvary First Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): SBC church.
• Roper Mountain Baptist Church (Greenville): SBC church.
• Rock Springs Baptist Church (Easley, SC): SBC church. Dr. Pettit, BJU President, spoke here October 6, 2019.
• White Oak Baptist Church (Greenville, SC): Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the Greenville Baptist Association. Their lead pastor is Lonnie Polson, BJU Division Chair of Communication of the School of Fine Arts. Their music director is Jeff Stegall, BJU Associate Professor in the Theatre Arts Department.
• For the article, “Bob Jones University Embraces Franklin Graham’s Ecumenical Movement: HaveYou Finally Seen Enough?” click the following link: BJU Embraces Franklin Graham….
• Dr. Steve Pettit permits dress style, music, and entertainment of the world’s style. For the Artist Series of January 27, 2015, he brought in the music group, “Cantus,” which includes beer drinkers and known homosexuals.11
• The following letter was sent to me on 10-14-2021 from a concerned grandfather who has grandchildren at BJU:
In 2021, at Bob Jones University, the first of the fall semester’s artist series was conducted on October 7 in the FMA. The program was titled “Symphonic Hollywood: Featuring the Music of Lee Holdridge.” The guest conductor was Richard Kaufman. The featured selections were beautifully done, and each was announced by Kaufman, interspersed with lavish praise on BJU and its leadership. Kaufman mentioned his background which included his participation with a Los Angeles orchestra in which he played violin for the recording of music for “Animal House,” a raunchy R-rated movie. He expressed no regret for its production. On the contrary, he mentioned that his contribution helped launch his career as a conductor. Not once did he mention any conflict between Christian beliefs and the moral cesspool of Hollywood. Nor did he give any confirmation of Christian belief. Yet he gave the impression that a believer could function contentedly in such an environment. Toward the end of the program, Jay Matthews and another representative, on behalf of the University, awarded Kaufman with a certificate and plaque granting him lifetime membership as an honorary alumnus of BJU. In the program notes on Kaufman, the bio states that “his wife Gayle is a former dancer and actress in film, television, and on Broadway, and his daughter, Whitney, is a highly successful singer and actress.”
All of this conveys to BJU students that a vocation in the worldly Hollywood scene is perfectly acceptable and, indeed highly commendable. The artist series productions have in recent years included more Broadway-type productions, mingled with the brilliant work of such Christian artists as Dan Forrest. “Broadway” sums up the philosophy of the new Bob Jones University— broad and inclusive.
Students are not learning to distinguish the true from the false kinds of entertainment, evangelicalism, and life-styes. This is lamentable and tragic. There was a day when Bob Jones University could be trusted to instill in its students the virtues of a separated godly lifestyle. Now the University simply wants to “fit into” the culture, to accommodate and even imitate its behavior.
Believers identified with the SBC, PCA, OPC, etc. are lending credibility to false teachers and false gospels. The believer who willingly does such is living in sin. People all over the country know that BJU is Evangelical. It is old news. Evangelicals often say, “Identification is a non-essential.” That mindset constitutes the difference between Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism! Indifference is dangerous! It is a path God forbids! “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John verse 11). One’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ determines his church identification! “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John vs. 8). We must never entangle the message of the gospel with man-made organizations and institutions that harbor false gospels.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…. After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28–30).
Every moment of our lives, we are building our ministries upon either the foundation of gold, silver, and precious stones, or upon a foundation of wood, hay, and stubble. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:11–13). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10–11a). “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (First John 2:28). In Romans 1:1, Paul introduces himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”
Charles H. Spurgeon promised his church, “That I might not stultify [invalidate] my testimony, I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. What more can I do to be honest with you?”12
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. so often cried, “Earnestly contend for the faith. Stand up and fight.”
David Beale (Enlarged 12-8-21)
David Beale taught courses on Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism for some thirty years at Bob Jones University and Seminary. He is a prolific writer and historian. Since Dr. Beale retired in 2010 he has taught and preached in schools and churches.
4) Augustine, City of God, 6.26–27; Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love 43; cf. 93; Sermon 294; and On Forgiveness of Sins, and Baptism 1.27.
5) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (4.15.1—22).
6) L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 632–42.
7) Letters from a recent graduate to David Beale (2021); see Paul M. Elliott, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2005).
10) George Houghton, “Are Conservative Southern Baptists Fundamentalists?” Faith Pulpit, January/February 2004 at: https://faith.edu/faith-news/are-conservative-southern-baptists fundamentalists/; J. Gerald Harris, The Rise and Fall of the Conservative Resurgence: The Southern Baptist Convention: 1979-2021 (Taos, NM: Trust House, 2021); and David Beale, “SBC Today,” in Baptist History in England and America: Personalities, Positions, and Practices (Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2018), 581–83.
When school boards promote filth what may one then expect from the students? Garbage in; Garbage out!
‘Waukee Northwest High School has another book containing sexually explicit messaging. The district previously decided to pull “Gender Queer” from the school library due to its vulgar content, which Google calls adult sexual content and Facebook says violates its community standards for sexual activity.
This article is quite lengthy but well worth the read so just click the link and enjoy the rest of this inspiring testimony.
‘He never desired to be an educator, this remarkable man whose distinguished academic career spanned 68 years and eight decades. And yet, as Dr. David R. Boylan turns 100 on Friday, July 22, 2022, he is still teaching to anyone who will lend a listening ear. And he is still brilliant.
“I never expected, intended, or even thought about being in education,” said Dr. Boylan in a recent interview with Faith Baptist Bible College. “I was an engineer. I had no idea I was going into teaching.”
Boylan excelled in his career, both in research and in teaching. An oil canvas photo of him as the sixth dean of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University hangs in the conference room of Marston Hall as evidence. Advancements in the fields of fertilizer and agriculture are results of his extensive research and patents. The changed lives of those who sat under his teaching in his college Sunday school class are living testimonies. And Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, has a 100-year legacy of its own whose longevity can be partially credited to the contributions of Dr. Boylan as a former president, faculty, and board member.
David Ray Boylan was born in Belleville, Kansas, a city of 2,000 people located 155 miles northwest of Topeka near the Nebraska border. His father, an accomplished man in his own right, was an Air Force major who flew combat missions in World War I. The Boylans moved from Belleville to Kansas City early in David’s life, and he spent the majority of his childhood there.
“My young career, I picked up the idea of building things, mechanical things,” said Boylan. “I remember as a young kid in Belleville, Kansas, (I was a little kid), they dug the ditches for the pipelines by hand. I noticed they were using tree limbs to clean their shovels out, so right then, I made little shovels out of orange crates. That was the only place I could get some wood as a kid. I guess I had a desire to do things and that grew. Even until now, I still like engineering.”
Boylan accepted Christ when he was in his early teens. Both his mother and father were Christians, and he was raised in a Christian home. They attended a Baptist church in Kansas City during most of his teenage years and later attended Central Bible Hall where he sat under the teaching of Walter L. Wilson, who co-founded and was the first president of Kansas City Bible Institute, which later became Kansas City Bible College, and finally merged with Midwest Bible College to form Calvary Bible College. The spiritual nourishment David received while attending Central Bible Hall wasn’t the only positive development that occurred. It was also where he met his eventual wife, Juanita.
Following graduation from high school, David attended the University of Kansas where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1943. He and Juanita married on March 24, 1944, around the time she also graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Bacteriology. The newlyweds moved to the East Coast where David began his engineering career with the General Chemical Company in Camden, New Jersey. He advanced rapidly in his field, becoming a project engineer at General Chemical, then a Senior Chemical Engineer at American Cyanamid Company. David was successful and happy with his work. He had no intention of changing careers. God had other plans.
“All of a sudden, things began to happen,” said Dr. Boylan. “Some would call it coincidence. When coincidences begin to pile up, it’s no longer coincidence.”
The Boylans had settled into life on the East Coast. Mrs. Boylan was a homemaker with a two-year-old and a new baby. A young married couple with multiple children and a stable income did what most people do at that stage of life: they bought a new washing machine. By the 1940s more than half of American households had electric washing machines. Many of these featured new technology; not all of it was perfected, from an engineering standpoint.
“We bought a new washing machine with a powered wringer,” recalled David. “My wife caught her arm in the wringer. She had a new baby and couldn’t take care of the baby, and a two-year-old she couldn’t help.”
It was right at this same time that David had changed jobs to another company as a plant manager. As fate would have it, the company unexpectedly went out of business. The combination of unfortunate events all at once convinced David that these happenings were no longer just coincidences.
“I didn’t have a job,” said Boylan. “We had a baby. We had a family…but no income. I had no choice but to go home (to Kansas).”
Before they settled back into life in “The Wheat State,” David was approached by a friend who gave some advice that changed the course of the rest of his life.
Moving to Ames, Iowa; Early Years at Iowa State College
“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you go up to Ames, Iowa, and see if you can get a job?’” recalled Boylan. “I had never been to Iowa. I went to Ames on a weekend and got a job as a graduate assistant at Iowa State College (as it was called in those days) and stayed there 60 years. I started off getting my PhD in engineering, and I taught in engineering. I enjoyed every moment.”
Boylan’s illustrious career at Iowa State began in 1948. The College of Engineering (one of the oldest and largest programs in the nation) was so impressed with his real-world experience that he was named Assistant Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and a graduate assistant in Chemical Engineering. Boylan completed his Doctor of Philosophy from Iowa State College in 1952 (it was renamed Iowa State University on July 4, 1959).
By the time he finished graduate school, Dr. Boylan was promoted to Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and eventually Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1956. The three years that followed were some of the most pivotal of his career as his reputation in the engineering field soared to new heights due to his research and development in fertilizer processes and technology.
On March 1, 1959, Dr. Boylan was named Associate Director of the Iowa Engineering Experiment Station at Iowa State University, where he oversaw 160 engineers, graduate assistants, and hourly staff. The purpose of the station was to do research and provide engineering solutions for projects that were relevant at that time, which included the digital computer, soil analysis of highway construction, the manufacturing of fertilizer, and the color television.
Spiritual Life; Impact as a College Sunday School Teacher
While Boylan was rising in the ranks of academia during the 1950s, he didn’t let his career take priority in his life. He kept his spiritual life in a condition that would have passed the strictest Rockwell hardness testing—an important trait for one who consistently taught creation in a public university, often facing resistance from colleagues. He never caved under pressure.
As the cards have poured in for Dr. Boylan’s 100th birthday, many have mentioned his commitment to creation science in a public school environment, according to his daughter, Elizabeth McKee.
‘Even nonscientists can face problems for suggesting that there might be a serious intellectual debate over Darwinism. At Baylor University, philosopher and legal scholar Francis Beckwith was initially denied tenure despite an outstanding record of academic research and publications.1 Although Professor Beckwith was well known for his prolife views, he was most controversial for his law review articles and an academic book defending the constitutionality of teaching about intelligent design as an alternative to Darwinism.2 It is important to note that Beckwith did not advocate that intelligent design should be taught in public schools — only that it was constitutional to teach it in an appropriate manner. But that nuanced position was too much for some of his colleagues, who were defenders of Darwin’s theory. Fortunately for Beckwith, after a public outcry, the president of Baylor later granted him tenure.3
A Dissertation in Limbo
College professors are not the only targets in academia who face discrimination because of their skepticism of Darwinism. Students can be even more vulnerable. Ohio State University doctoral candidate Bryan Leonard had his dissertation defense put in limbo after three pro-Darwin professors filed a spurious complaint attacking Leonard’s dissertation research as “unethical human subject experimentation.” Leonard’s dissertation project looked at how student beliefs changed after students were taught scientific evidence for and against modern evolutionary theory. The complaining professors admitted that they had not actually read Leonard’s dissertation. But they were sure it must be unethical. Why? According to them, there is no valid evidence against evolutionary theory. Thus — by definition — Leonard’s research must be tantamount to child abuse.4
Outside of academia, there have been similar cases of discrimination in government-funded science organizations. David Coppedge was a senior computer systems administrator for the Cassini Mission to Saturn at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California. He faced demotion and discharge after he offended his supervisor by occasionally offering to loan colleagues DVDs about intelligent design.5 No one had ever complained to Coppedge about his offers of DVDs, but when the supervisor found out, Coppedge faced a punitive investigation. His employment evaluations, which had been outstanding, suddenly became negative, and ultimately he lost his job. Coppedge’s dismissal was justified as a budgetary reduction unrelated to his views on intelligent design, but that explanation was questionable given the facts of the case.
The Sternberg Case
Evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg faced similar retaliation by officials at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) after accepting for publication a peer-reviewed article supportive of intelligent design in a biology journal he edited. A research associate at the museum, Sternberg said that after the article was published, he was told to vacate his office space and was shunned and vilified by colleagues. Efforts were also made by administrators to discover Sternberg’s personal religious and political beliefs.6 Investigators for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that “it is…clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing [Dr. Sternberg]…out of the [Smithsonian].”7
Smithsonian officials denied any wrongdoing, but Sternberg was demoted from a research associate to a research collaborator without explanation.8 A 17-month investigation by subcommittee staff of the House Committee on Government Reform subsequently confirmed and elaborated on the previous findings of the US Office of Special Counsel. In a detailed report released to the public, subcommittee investigators concluded that they had uncovered “substantial, credible evidence of efforts to abuse and harass Dr. Sternberg, including punitively targeting him for investigation in order to supply a pretext for dismissing him, and applying to him regulations and restrictions not imposed on other researchers.”9
Congressional investigators further accused NMNH officials of conspiring “on government time and using government emails…with the pro-evolution National Center for Science Education (NCSE)…to publicly smear and discredit Dr. Sternberg with false and defamatory information.”10 The NCSE even provided a set of “‘talking points’ to…NMNH officials on how to discredit both Sternberg and the Meyer article.” In addition, the NCSE was asked by senior museum administrator Dr. Hans Sues “to monitor Sternberg’s outside activities…The clear purpose of having the NCSE monitor Dr. Sternberg’s outside activities was to find a way to dismiss him.”11 Congressional investigators concluded that “the extent to which NMNH officials colluded on government time and with government resources with the NCSE to publicly discredit Dr. Sternberg’s scientific and professional integrity and investigate opportunities to dismiss him is alarming.”12
When asked about Sternberg’s plight by the Washington Post, Eugenie Scott of the NCSE seemed to suggest that Sternberg was lucky more was not done to get rid of him: “If this was a corporation, and an employee did something that really embarrassed the administration, really blew it, how long do you think that person would be employed?”13
Teachers at Risk
Science teachers in K-12 schools also face challenges if they criticize Darwinian theory. In Minnesota, high school teacher Rodney LeVake was removed from teaching biology after expressing doubts about Darwin’s theory. LeVake, who holds a master’s degree in biology, agreed to teach evolution as required in the district’s curriculum, but said he wanted to “accompany that treatment of evolution with an honest look at the difficulties and inconsistencies of the theory.”14
In Washington State, longtime high school biology teacher Roger DeHart faced continuing harassment from pro-Darwin activists, who succeeded in getting his school district to prohibit him from discussing scientific criticisms of modern Darwinian theory with his students. DeHart was even banned from sharing mainstream science publications with students that corrected textbook errors about evolution. Although DeHart complied with his district’s gag order, ultimately, he was removed from teaching biology. When he took a job in an adjoining school district so that he could continue to teach biology, the harassment continued. He was eventually reassigned from teaching biology in that district as well, even though there were no allegations by his new district that he was not following the prescribed curriculum. DeHart finally was driven from public education altogether.15
See, for example, Francis J. Beckwith, Law, Darwinism, and Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); Francis J. Beckwith, “Science and Religion Twenty Years After McLean v. Arkansas: Evolution, Public Education, and the New Challenge of Intelligent Design,” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 26 (Spring 2003), 455-499; Francis J. Beckwith, “Public Education, Religious Establishment, and the Challenge of Intelligent Design,” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, & Public Policy 17 (2003), 461-519; Francis J. Beckwith, “A Liberty Not Fully Evolved?: The Case of Rodney LeVake and the Right of Public School Teachers to Criticize Darwinism,” San Diego Law Review 39 (November/December 2002), 1311-1325.
For information about the Bryan Leonard case, see Catherine Candinsky, “Evolution debate re-emerges: Doctoral student’s work was possibly unethical, OSU professors argue,” The Columbus Dispatch (June 9, 2005); “Attack on OSU Graduate Student Endangers Academic Freedom,” Discovery Institute (April 18, 2005), https://www.discovery.org/a/2661/ (accessed November 24, 2020); “Professors Defend Ohio Grad Student Under Attack by Darwinists,” Discovery Institute (July 11, 2005), https://www.discovery.org/a/2715/ (accessed November 24, 2020).
Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian: Smithsonian’s Top Officials Permit the Demotion and Harassment of Scientist Skeptical of Darwinian Evolution, Staff Report Prepared for the Hon. Mark Souder, Chairman, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources (Washington, DC: US House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform, December 11, 2006), 3, 20-21, https://www.discovery.org/m/securepdfs/2020/11/IntoleranceandthePoliticizationofScienceattheSmithsonian.pdf (accessed November 26, 2020).
Intolerance and the Politicization of Science At the Smithsonian, 4.
Intolerance and the Politicization of Science At the Smithsonian, 5-6.
Intolerance and the Politicization of Science At the Smithsonian, 22, emphasis in original. The congressional report further explained, “Dr. Sues hoped that the NCSE could unearth evidence that Dr. Sternberg had misrepresented himself as a Smithsonian employee, which would have been grounds for his dismissal as a Research Associate: ‘As a Research Associate, Sternberg is not allowed to represent himself as an employee of the Smithsonian Institution, and, if he were to do so, he would forfeit his appointment.’”
Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian, 23, emphasis in original.
Quoted in Michael Powell, “Editor Explains Reasons for ‘Intelligent Design’ Article,” TheWashington Post (August 19, 2005), A19.
Quoted in Rodney LeVake vs. Independent School District #656, State of Minnesota Court of Appeals, C8-00-1613 (May 8, 2001); https://web.archive.org/web/20130314100547/http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/archive/ctappub/0105/c8001613.htm (accessed November 24, 2020). Additional information on the LeVake case can be found in James Kilpatrick, “Case of Scientific Heresy is Doomed,” Augusta Chronicle (December 23, 2001), A4. The Minnesota Court of Appeals found that the school district’s interest in maintaining its curriculum overrode LeVake’s First Amendment interest in teaching material critical of Darwinian evolution.
‘Last month, the New York Times published an article about Hillsdale College and its Barney Charter School Initiative. As we’ve grown accustomed to expecting from the past year of misinformation, the article was misleading and dishonest. The article serves, however, as an opportunity to remind everyone what exactly these charter schools are and illuminate their purpose.
Probably the occasion for this article was the state of the state address in Tennessee, where Governor Bill Lee mentioned that he was asking Hillsdale College to help with charter schools in the state. This set off a firestorm that touches the most powerful political and educational forces in the land. They are bureaucracies, ruling in the name of their “expertise.” Anyone not a member in good standing of this bureaucratic system is an invader. The articles critical of us and everybody else doing charter schools imply that this bureaucracy is the essence of public education. We hold to the old view that teachers, students, and parents make up the public schools.
Each of our charter schools is a civic project involving hundreds of people from their local community. Often, those involved have school-aged children or grandchildren. If not, they are citizens who care deeply for the families and children who live in their city or town. They educate these kids because they love them—they want to show them things that are beautiful, true, and good.
And so these people—most of them are volunteers, mind you—spend countless hours learning how to manage a school, how to start sports leagues and band programs, create budgets, establish a board, draft applications, or find a school building. Founding a school is difficult, but these people do it for the sake of others—that’s a noble thing.
Why do they work so hard to open these schools in particular? It is because these schools want to help their children become wise, but also become good. Hillsdale charter schools offer an education in the classical liberal arts, emphasizing science, mathematics, literature, and history, but also teaching the arts, Latin, civics, philosophy, and ethics. The purpose of such an education is to form the hearts and minds of its students—to strengthen their characters as well as their intellects.
By the time these schools open, they are big, effective, and excellent. They go on to hire headmasters who know how to build a school culture and make the trains run on time. They attract dynamic teachers who love their subjects because they too have been personally transformed by them. Within a few years, they rank among the best in their districts and states.
When he visited the United States in 1831 and 1832, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the American spirit of community in his book, Democracy in America: “In no country in the world do the citizens make such exertions for the commonwealth; and I am acquainted with no people which has established schools as numerous and as efficacious … better suited to the wants of the inhabitants.” At our charter schools, these efforts continue for the sake of an education better suited to the needs of the community.
Our charter schools are the work of their communities and those who live in them. They are built with love, and they take on the character of the people and communities that built them. And so, the students flourish there.
In stark contrast to much of what is reported in the news today, the students and parents at these schools are happy. Parents love seeing their children grow into fine young men and women, and the students are proud to see it in themselves, as well.
We use the Latin words alma mater when we refer to our former place of education. The words mean “nurturing mother”—I cannot think of a more nurturing educational environment than these schools.’ An Email from Hillsdale College’s president, Dr. Larry Arnn