Thursday, June 02, 2005

When Violence Comes to Campus

There's a lot to be said in conservative circles lately about the pitfalls of the college experience. I'll admit to feeling like an alien in the land of the university sometimes. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a certain stigma about being Christian (not just professing, but living) and/or conservative in the culture generally, and in certain humanities departments particularly.

However, it's really not as bad as it could be.

Time's most recent issue (June 6) had an article (see link) about recent incidents at Baghdad University, in which, essentially, the student body has descended to sectarian violence. A student tried to have a party to celebrate the gains of Shi'a in the new government and was killed by a group of Sunnis, setting off a cascade reaction.

What has been happening in the larger culture is happening in the campus now, too. The students (at least, according to the article) seem to be splitting into sectarian groups; violence, or the threat thereof, is on the rise; security is rising dramatically in order to protect the students. And it's not limited to students. Professors have become a popular target for violence or even kidnappings. It's an atmosphere that makes learning difficult.

I'm not saying that the marginalization of conservative voices on American campuses is acceptable, and I certainly decry the animosity (or sometimes apathy) of the American college culture to religion in general (and Christianity in specific), but we should not take for granted what we have. The alternative could be a lot worse.

No comments: