According to the American Spectator, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is set to endorse Mike Huckabee for president. The Spectator article says it will happen in Iowa and is sure to help offset Sen. McCain’s endorsement from Sen. Brownback as well as the Giuliani endorsement from Pat Robertson. Expect to see more endorsements from social conservatives as this unfolds.
Christian Broadcasting Network leader Pat Robertson has decided to endorse Rudy Giuliani for president, the Washington Post is reporting.
“I thought it was important for me to make it clear that Rudy Giuliani is more than acceptable to people of faith,” said Robertson. “Given the fractured nature of the process, I thought it was time to solidify around one candidate.”
So it’s official the Christian right is fractured. See the Post article for more, including video.
Lillian Kwon integrates several lines of reporting to craft an article about trends among youth and attitudes toward homosexuality.
She first notes the Exodus International Allies Too campaign and then quotes Jared Barber from the same article by older brother Matt Barber that I cited in a recent post. Finally, she mentions the research from the Barna group which suggests that youth believe opposition to homosexuality may be out of balance.
Speaking of this tension, Peter LaBarbera posted on his website some of the discussion on the topic from this blog.
Paul Cameron went to Britain last month to tell about his new research studies of newspaper clippings. The title for this talk was a cheery one: “Homosexuals Account for 29 Percent of Rape and Murder of Kids.” All of that based on reading the paper. Recently, I addressed the problems with his methodology regarding another similar “study” he posted on his new online “journal” (read: website).
Anyway, Peter Ould has an interesting post about the group he spoke to — the Christian Council of Britain. He takes a romp through a history of ideas regarding race and apartheid that are worth considering.
Although this article in the Ventura County Star doesn’t predict a new Jesus Movement, the conditions described seem to be a good foundation for such a prediction. And the information relating to homosexuality should be read by every evangelical leader.
Last night at GCC, I gave a talk to a group called God and the Gay Neighbor. This article dovetails very nicely with that talk and with what I heard from the students. A couple of students asked questions about how to counter activism but mostly, the interest was in how to love.
And then there is there is this column by Matt Barber which includes an excerpt from a paper by his little brother Jared Barber, age 19. This illustrates nicely the type of sentiment described in the polling by the Barna group, noted in the Ventura newspaper piece above.
Jared Barber wrote:
Another problem arises here, though; and it is this: Christians, as a whole, focus too much on the homosexual issue alone. They attack it solely, denounce it, and live whichever way they please. Adultery, fornication, racism, pride, jealousy, selfish ambition, drunkenness; all of these immoral acts take to the background in view of homosexuality, and so we as Christians are set up as anti-gay instead of anti-immorality. We need to end our own hypocrisy, all of us, I as much as any, so that we can more blamelessly broach this subject and others.
And foremost, we must remember that Christ preached one thing above all else: Love. We must love others, with, as [C.S.] Lewis said, “…a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.”
Mark Morford, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, writes that “hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country…” Wow, so how do you really feel, Mark? In an otherwise on-target assessment of youth culture, he connects problems in our nation’s education system with Christian lemmings. In my response, I note that those “lemmings” could help lead us out of the morass.
I received an email from Robert Shibley, Vice President of FIRE, this evening indicating that the President of the University of Delaware had stopped the controversial residence life curriculum.
Here is the letter from UD President:
A Message to the University of Delaware Community
Nov. 1, 2007
The University of Delaware strives for an environment in which all people feel welcome to learn, and which supports intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, free inquiry and respect for the views and values of an increasingly diverse population. The University is committed to the education of students as citizens, scholars and professionals and their preparation to contribute creatively and with integrity to a global society. The purpose of the residence life educational program is to support these commitments.
While I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, there are questions about its practices that must be addressed and there are reasons for concern that the actual purpose is not being fulfilled. It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review.
Upon the recommendation of Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert and Director of Residence Life Kathleen Kerr, I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted.
Vice President Gilbert will work with the University Faculty Senate and others to determine the proper means by which residence life programs may support the intellectual, cultural and ethical development of our students.
Here is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer that gives student and faculty reaction to the program.
The University of Delaware appears to be taking seriously some of the concerns from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) regarding the student life ideological education program. In a letter from the school, Vice President for Student Life, Michael Gilbert, says
I do acknowledge that there have been some missteps with the implementation of our program. This is a new effort involving over two hundred staff. As with any University educational endeavor assessment and feedback measures have been established to identify issues or concerns. Each of the issues FIRE presents are currently under review. In fact, we recently became aware that students in several residence halls were told their participation is mandatory at these activities and we have taken steps to clarify this misconception and to notify students of their rights in this area.
Time will tell what their review brings but the group bringing the concerns public, FIRE, believes the letter to be insufficient.
FIRE’s Response: FIRE unequivocally stands by its description of the University of Delaware’s “curriculum” for student housing residents. We invite the public to view the full curriculum of the residence life program—available in PDF format on our website—in its entirety, and to judge for themselves whether we have misrepresented any aspect of the nature of that program through selective quotation. In fact, as readers will see upon examination, the concerns that we have raised pervade every one of the hundreds of pages that constitute the University of Delaware’s residence life curriculum.
From my initial glance, I do think FIRE has a point. There are some issues of definition and emphasis that go beyond raising issues but rather prescribe an acceptable point of view. This seems what one would expect at a sectarian school, but not at a taxpayer funded public school.