How Politicized Are Divinity Schools?

Policy

Duke Chapel at Duke University (Bjoertvedt/Wikimedia/GFDL)

Leftist groupthink has invaded all of American higher education — English, music, chemistry; you name it, and you’ll find its practitioners working to transform disciplines into training camps for true believers.

What about divinity schools?

You might think that “wokeness” has saturated them, but in today’s Martin Center article, Chris West, a student at Duke’s Divinity School, says that while leftism is present at many divinity schools, it isn’t ubiquitous.

West writes, “Yet this fear of corrosive ‘wokeness’ in some parts of the academy, does not generally apply to divinity schools aside from small pockets of students and professors. Across the political spectrum, principles like academic freedom, free speech, and Christ-like love rule the day in seminaries. The critical race theory cathedral has not come to fruition.”

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While some divinity schools seem to have been captured, divinity students have many choices that mostly “play it straight.”

Duke has a reputation for rampaging leftism and, a few years ago, a well-regarded professor in the Divinity School was driven into retirement by faculty zealots when he objected to “diversity training.” But West did not find any pressure to conform to any particular set of beliefs. “It seems that Duke,” he writes, “is not quite what I expected. Despite the warnings from others, not one person has tried to convert me to Methodism — I’m still not sure if I should be concerned. But more importantly, the professors I have interacted with, as an outspoken and self-identified conservative, have been nothing short of hospitable, kind, and welcoming.”

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