We have conducted seminars on university and college campuses since 1968. But, unfortunately, in recent years, we have experienced and seen in the media increased censorship on American college campuses.
In 1968, we could go onto virtually any university campus, rent an auditorium or classroom, and give a presentation of evidence for the existence of God. We could prepare and distribute posters on the campus and advertise in the student newspaper. Workers could pass out brochures and invite students and faculty to attend.
Our sessions always included a question/answer session. We did this on hundreds of university campuses, including major state and private schools like Stanford, Princeton, University of California, Virginia Tech, University of Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State. These sessions were associated with a local Church of Christ or campus group and brought in a sizeable audience.
In the past ten years, we have seen a militant attempt by these schools and others to stop presentations like ours. An organization called the “Foundation for Individual Rights In Education” (FIRE) has released a report about the state of free speech on college campuses that is very critical of American education. They evaluated 481 colleges and universities on a scale with 100 meaning a totally free-speech campus. The colleges studied were all under 73 on that scale. That says a lot about censorship on American college campuses.
One of the highest-ranking schools was Texas A & M. President Michael Young of A & M said, “A free exchange of ideas is not only the cornerstone of our democracy, it is the surest path to truth, discovery, and scholarly advancement.” How can a young person grow and expand their understandings of others if the university only promotes what The Atlantic magazine calls a “New Puritanism.”
The Dallas Morning News” summarized this situation by saying, “…we should prepare our students to enter a world where they are unafraid to consider and discuss ideas from many perspectives. That is simply not the case on too many college campuses, where an orthodoxy of thought, usually but not exclusively progressive, has led students to silence themselves, each other, and their professors and administrators.”
Jesus Christ challenged his listeners with questions. See, for example, Matthew 17:25, 18:12, 21:28, and 22:42. Censorship on American college campuses does not allow the free exchange of ideas, especially when someone tries to present a Christian view.
— John N. Clayton © 2022
References: FIRE website and South Bend Tribune, 12/22/21, page 5A.