Reprinted with permission from Baptist Bulletin, May/June, 2010. All rights reserved.
My older daughter is pursuing a degree at the local extension of one of our state universities. Not surprisingly, the course offerings are more limited than at the main campus, and since she is pursuing a career in social work, she signed up for one of the required courses in Women’s Studies.
Women’s Studies is a relatively recent and notoriously doctrinaire addition to university departments, and I had warned my daughter about what she was likely to encounter: the most shrill, angry, and even irrational fringes of the feminist movement. Indeed, some of the more extreme apologists for Women’s Studies have claimed that rationality is a male way of thinking and should not be imposed on females. Still, we were both taken aback at the unbending and unapologetic polemics of the course, which turned out to be primarily a barrage of propaganda in support of all manner of nonheterosexual identities and behaviors: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual (those who through surgery and hormone treatments have tried to alter their gender). There was little of what would normally be called scholarship, and, in any event, scholarship—the discovery, examination, synthesis, and application of information—was not the aim of the course. The aim was the propagation of a set of attitudes about the subject, and the acceptable set was not simply tolerance, but approval and advocacy. It was a course that violated everything universities claim about themselves: places where truth is pursued and disseminated objectively and fairly, and where differences of opinion are welcomed as part of this pursuit. In point of fact, dissent was bullied into silence, and probing questions were shuffled off as inappropriate to the course’s aims—as, of course, they were. Small wonder, then, that my daughter came to refer to this course as an encounter with the Lesbian Gestapo. read more