From Politically Correct to Religiously Correct?


Mark Taylor, a professor of religion and humanities at Williams College, writes in a New York Times op/ed about an interesting phenomenon on college campuses–the alleged rise of religious correctness. Taylor claims:

MORE college students seem to be practicing traditional forms of religion today than at any time in my 30 years of teaching.

At first glance, the flourishing of religion on campuses seems to reverse trends long criticized by conservatives under the rubric of "political correctness." But, in truth, something else is occurring. Once again, right and left have become mirror images of each other; religious correctness is simply the latest version of political correctness. Indeed, it seems the more religious students become, the less willing they are to engage in critical reflection about faith.

The chilling effect of these attitudes was brought home to me two years ago when an administrator at a university where I was then teaching called me into his office. A student had claimed that I had attacked his faith because I had urged him to consider whether Nietzsche's analysis of religion undermines belief in absolutes. The administrator insisted that I apologize to the student. (I refused.)

Shame on the craven administrator! Taylor continues:

In the most egregious cases, defenders of the faith insist that only true believers are qualified to teach their religious tradition.

My question to the religiously correct is: If you already know the Truth, why bother going to college anyway? In college, professors will just try to confuse you.

Assuming Taylor really has identified a worrying trend, he did nevertheless fail to note a big difference between religious correctness and political correctness. Political correctness is generally imposed by uncritical professors and administrators on their dissenting students.

Whole New York Times op/ed here.

Additional PC note: While we're on the subject of campus orthodoxies, Jesse Walker, Reason's managing editor, pointed out earlier this year that the Right has fully embraced political correctness.