Why Free Speech Was Praised in the 60s and is Being Suppressed Today

The last couple of years I’ve done some adjunct teaching at Faith International University in Tacoma, Washington. Faith Seminary is the graduate division of the school and is the only biblically-based seminary in the state of Washington.

FIU is growing by leaps and bounds as are many other Christ-oriented schools across America. In fact, yesterday, we joined some 1000 campuses in America who have birthed prayer rooms on their campuses. Many call them “Furnaces”–where faculty and students can fire up their hearts for God.

That’s greatly needed today because many colleges and universities have been taken over by secular humanism, and not only don’t believe in prayer, but reject many aspects of truth including freedom of speech.

Say what?  No free speech on campus?

Free speech was praised in the 1960s. Why not today?

It was a joy to see our faculty and staff jam into the new Prayer Room at Faith yesterday for an official dedication. Lining three upper walls of the room were colorful flags of the 40 nations from whom we have received students the past fifty years.

The US flag (to which we gladly pledge our allegiance!) sits at the center of the room, reminding us of the blessing of being Americans. The flag of South Korea is to its left, depicting our large Korean division, and to the right rests the flag of Malaysia, symbolizing a growing Chinese division (led by a Malaysian professor).

Around the perimeter of the room are seven prayer stations that staff and students will frequent this year. Each station sports two chairs, a shelf with special items and resources, and a bulletin board with photos, artwork and slogans to help guide the prayer warrior. The seven stations focus on:

  • Worship and Praise – remembering who God is and worshipping Him with all our hearts.
  • Praying for the World – the Great Commission, unreached peoples, and the work of missions.
  • Praying for Leaders – practicing 1 Timothy 2:2 by interceding for “all who are in authority.”
  • Personal Renewal – a large altar sits against one wall where students can confess their sins, meditate and reflect on their personal walk with God, as well as take communion with others.
  • Praying for FIU – where we cry out for our faculty, staff, students, and future students.
  • Praying for Tacoma, WA – our “Jerusalem”–mayor, city council, first responders and area churches.
  • Praying for America – interceding for our nation, its leaders and our great need for revival.

Many group prayer meetings will also take place this school year in the “Furnace” where an electric piano and sound system stand ready for inspiration and use. Our goal is the eventually turn the new FIU Prayer Room into a place of 24/7 prayer for our city, nation and world.

If you’re interested in joining us at FIU, please visit our web-site here. The new Prayer Room at Faith is totally committed to freedom of speech and expression–both to God and to people.

I wish that were true for the rest of the country.

You may have recently noticed some very disturbing trends at many colleges. They include 1) cancelling  Christian and/ or conservative speakers from speaking on campus, 2) Creating “safe spaces” where free speech is no longer tolerated or allowed, and 3) promoting only secular progressive causes such as global warming and racial injustice without freedom for debate.

How times have changed.

I remember the turbulent 60s and 70s when college students demanded “free speech” and public schools like UC -Berkeley and Kent State became passionate cauldrons of political expression and demonstration. Those movements championed our treasured First Amendment which guarantees the right of open discourse.

Why the squelching of free speech now?

It’s pretty simple. The goal of free speech in the 60s was to tear down America’s biblical heritage and morals and replace it with secularism. It was all about power, not liberty. Now that secular progressives are triumphant in many of the public universities in America, their goal is to hold on to that power by eliminating all competitors.

The means has changed, but not the end–a post-Christian, narcissistic America.

Heather McDonald, writing for the City Journal, describes secular university environments this way:

“The pathological narcissism of American college students has found a potentially devastating new source of power in the world of education. The truth is that American universities are among the most coddled environments ever devised by man.”

The idea that one should attend college to be protected from ideas one might find controversial or offensive could only occur to someone who had jettisoned any hope of acquiring an education. Many commentators have been warning about a ‘higher education bubble.’ They have focused mostly on the unsustainable costs of college, but the spectacle of timid moral self-indulgence also deserves a place on the bill of indictment.”

To use Megyn Kelly’s phrase, today’s college kids have become “cupcakes” who don’t know how to compete in the real world and are not interested in the battle of ideas.

Not at Faith International University and many others.  We welcome freedom of expression, academic excellence, and we center everything we do on a desire to know and glorify God.

Another biblically-based institution is also leading the way back to free speech sanity, Hear the wise words of Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University:

“This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt ‘victimized’ by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.”

“I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’”

“I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.”

“So here’s my advice: If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.”

“If you’re more interested in playing the ‘hater’ card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land that will give you exactly what you want, but [ours] isn’t one of them.”

“Here we will teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue ‘trigger warnings’ before altar calls.”

“[We] are not a ‘safe place’, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.”

“This is not a day care. This is a university!”

Amen.

Same for us at FIU and many other fine Christian institutions.

Come join us–and help us bring about a re-birth of liberty in our schools through the power of Jesus Christ.

 

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