According to Katha Pollitt, in an article in the February 8, 2016 edition of Nation magazine, named, Where Free Speech is Ignored, shows us that the biggest offenders of avoiding the practical, legal, & constitutional issues around separation of church & state, are religious institutions.
Their denial of one of the realities of life—that citizens of the U.S. have a legal & constitutional right to live in a land that keeps religion & ethical principles from forming into some kind of plankton-like beast that has no idea of how to keep church & state separate, and we have to play the game of trying to figure it all out, “and get it right.”
If one questions–perhaps a student from a private, religious college or university–whether or not she really feels that Admission turn-downs, due to applicants’ non-compliance to certain religious rubrics & dogma, of the private, Christian institution, yield/or stem from equality, justice, unbiased & open perspectives, women’s rights issues, disabled persons’ rights, GBLT issues & rights? Not by a long shot.
It’s also this writer’s opinion, that institutions (followed by examples) such as Pollitt recounts in her article, are doing an immense disservice to their own students; to become educated is to be ready to go out & meet the real world, after learning theory & knowledge in their Academics through the educational process, having a clearer sense of one’s own identity, critical thinking, debate & dialog, you begin your practice with those who may hold very different, sometimes conflictual (sometimes diametrically-opposite), views on how they see the world; this is just a mirror-reflection of the “world out there” so I’d say they definitely qualify and moving forward along their way!
But, let’s say an indeterminate amount of graduates of these institutions, have ingested the exclusivist & separatist notions of their “mother,” that is to say, the institution’s core values—do they suggest the institution’s desire to welcome all, divest themselves of any privilege floating around, and treat other human beings with dignity, inclusion, & respect?
We can’t ever forget that our personal freedom of speech is our inviolable human & civil right (and perhaps we should add spiritual), to speak our truths, even if we journey from a very different place, there is a path called the internalization of oneness. This means recognizing the essential humanness of each of us. Recognizing our similarities & differences. It means de-constructing all of the prejudices, the racialized thinking & acting, the unhealthy social conditioning that bar us from advancing on our path.
©Christopher Bear-Beam January 29, 2016