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In fact, you could take the same argument I made for BYU and make it for the hundreds of smaller Christian colleges, whose students make the conscious choice to attend those colleges because of the Christian views and values promoted on those campuses -- not necessarily to the exclusion of other views, but obviously encouraging some over others.

I agree completely, although having said that I think there is something to be said to being exposed to ideas that challenge your own. The problem is that at many universities there is far too much dogma that doesn't do that at all. That is, despite espousing diversity they really just favor replacing one hegemony with an other. Some universities do better than others, but clearly many promoting diversity don't really favor diversity.

This sort of reminds me of the stance of those who are opposed to religious proselitization.

I had a high school Humanities teacher who made a point of telling the class on numerous occasions that he was opposed to religious proselyting. It occurred to me later that I should have asked him if he was actively trying to convert us to his point of view.

Dave - the link to the article is broken, so didn't get to read their side of the story, but I don't think "religion" should shelter racist and sexist discriminatory behavior in hiring decisions or admission practices. I'm sympathetic to your "diversity police" argument, but I don't see how encouraging more diversity at BYU and other religious institutions that have historically stereotyped and discriminated against women and racial minorities could be anything but a step in the right direction.

Elisabeth, the link isn't broken, it's that the entire BYU NewsNet site is down this morning. Try again later.

As a practical matter, I'm not arguing that institutions that have previously discriminated against women or minorities shouldn't reform. I think the argument is more about the content of the curriculum than about hiring and promotion practices. The problem is that critics from that side of the debate will label any and every practice or point of view they disagree with as discriminatory, thus unintentionally gutting their own term of much of its moral sting.

Sometimes refocusing the argument changes the effect: Should the Amish be forced to abandon their approach to education and adopt the standard diversity curriculum? If not, then why should a Catholic high school, a Christian college, or a Mormon university?

Great post, Dave! I think "diversity" is the current number one example of a trendy euphemism that almost always leads to sloppy rhetoric.

Thanks, Dave. It's up now.

According to the article, the exemption would allow institutions (1) to not employ gays and lesbians, (2) to not teach information contradicting religious beliefs, and (3) to not embrace standards that are out of line with "the basic values of the institutions".

With the exception of not employing gays and lesbians, these are pretty broad exemptions, and could be used to shield religious institutions from adopting all manner of generally reasonable accreditation standards.

Your question about the Amish is tricky. I'm not aware of the specific standards that BYU is protesting against (besides the gay and lesbian employment issue), but I don't think a blanket exemption such as the one proposed is helpful in fostering an intellectually rigorous education. The excessive entanglements argument doesn't necessarily work here either, since we're dealing with an SRO and not a governmental organization.

In any event, seems to me there is a middle ground here where BYU can maintain its unique approach to higher education without exempting itself from basic accreditation standards.

I am reminded of a friend when I was working for a large corporation that insisted all employees attend "diversity training." He refused to go stating that the company didn't want "diversity", they wanted confomity. From then on, it was called "conformity training."

Elsabeth, could you give us an example where the above three requirements run into difficulty with accreditation in practice? (i.e. not in some thought experiment)

I do agree that (2) is rather broad. Would this mean that say an Evangelical college could have a geology program that teaches only young earth views? I can see this being a worry, but I think in practice it doesn't happen.

I'm reminded of the episode of the Simpsons that I saw years ago where Bart gets his ear pierced. Lisa says something to the effect of "How delightfully non-conforminst of you--in a conformist kind of way."

The whole "we're fostering our vision and only our vision of diversity" drives me nuts.

It's somewhat akin to the whole paradox of the desire for free speech running hand in hand with the anti-hate movement. Both of them come down to you can do or say anything you want so long as WE agree with it and feel that it is politically correct. Mind you, I'm no conservative, and I have no opposition to either free speech or anti-hate crimes movements. It's just the paradox of the people who are adherents of both. Bad logic, bad logic.

This kind of nonsense is a lot of what keeps me from academia.

Clark, I think you just answered your own question. As I said in my comment, I'm not familiar with specific accreditation standards, but exemptions for "curriculum that contradicts religious beliefs" and for "standards that are not in line with the basic values of the institutions" are overbroad, in my opinion.

Naiah and others -- diversity training is typically the butt of many jokes railing against "political correctness", but it's important to establish neutral norms in the workplace and in an educational setting where people from diverse backgrounds may work together comfortably. For example, people from certain cultural backgrounds find physical contact between co-workers (kissing on the cheek, hugs, handshakes) to be extremely offensive. People need to be educated and aware of these cultural differences so as to not unwittingly offend. Affirmative action, on the other hand, is a separate issue.

But Elisabeth, I asked about in practice. I can think of lots of potential examples but I don't see any evidence it is occurring. The worst I can think of is Pres. Benson trying to keep Marxism from being taught at BYU.

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