Saturday, September 01, 2007

Religious Education (Oil) and Academic Freedom (Water)

Creighton University recently cancelled a speaking engagement for author Anne Lamott after university officials (priests) read her work and realized that she wrote in one particular instance about helping someone who was terminally ill commit suicide. Creighton is a Jesuit University, which basically means that the priests that run Creighton are among the most progressive and educated priests in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, these particular Jesuit priests are not educated or progressive enough to give people credit for having their own opinions and thoughts.

The situation with Creighton's reaction and cancellation of a speaker that in my mind is not all that controversial is a prime example of why religious education and academic freedom cannot co-exist. The priests at Creighton have said that they feel they shouldn't endorse ideas that are in conflict with Catholic doctrine, as if there is no other acceptable worldview aside from what a bunch of incredibly conservative individuals whose current pope was a member of the Hitler Youth as a child believe in.

The entire point of education is to develop your own views and opinions on matters, not just what the guys in black shirts and collars want you to have access to. If you're one of the students paying $20k a credit hour to attend Creighton, you should ask for a refund, because what the University has done in this situation is the antithesis of education.

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