It’s hard to untangle exactly what the objections are to a course on “Application of Biblical Insight into the Management of Business/Organization.”  Or perhaps not.

If the issue is quality, then an ordinary faculty course-vetting process should take care of that.  Such a process is intended to make certain that all courses a department or institution offer conform to professional standards of rigor.

If the issue is advocacy, I agree that a “Sunday School” class has no place in a university.  But then neither does any other course that substitutes advocacy for inquiry.  Are we certain that the Iowa State University curriculum contains no other classes that exhort to a certain moralistic point of view or encourage a kind of activism?  I’m not.  Are any the professors who objected to this course similarly interested in protecting the integrity of the academic vocation from similar threats in other quarters?  I doubt it.

Opponents of the course constantly cite the First Amendment.  But merely permitting a course to be offered as an elective hardly amounts to “endorsement,” a problematical test of constitutionality in any event.  The university permits inquiry into a variety of points of view without thereby “endorsing” any of them.  No reasonable person thinks that because an elective is offered a department or university is thereby promoting that point of view at the expense of or to the exclusion of others.

Perhaps the objectors haven’t examined the finer points of First Amendment jurisprudence or theory.  But they should before they invoke it.

UPDATE: Here is the professor’s explanation of the course, which strikes me as unobjectionable, indeed as perfectly within the ambit of a college class.

Articles by Joseph Knippenberg

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