Marquette University here in my hometown has been the scene of a minor hoo-ha over a student’s right to offer an opinion in a classroom. In a class entitled Theory of Ethics, a teaching assistant mentioned three controversial topics of today—gay marriage, gun rights, and the death penalty—and then erased gay marriage as a debatable issue “since we all agree on this.” A student approached her afterward and said that he didn’t agree with the concept of a right to gay marriage and would have appreciated a more open classroom discussion. She called his views homophobic and said they would never be aired in her classroom (along with anything sexist or racist) because any gay person in the room would have been “offended.” She asked if he was recording the conversation, and he said no. But actually he was.
The student complained to a conservative Marquette professor who blogged about it, and thence it spread to the blogosphere, hitting the local Journal Sentinel, Fox News, and various education blogs. The conservative prof was outraged, as was another Marquette student who wrote this: “Thus the student is dropping the class, and will have to take another Philosophy class in the future. But this student is rather outspoken and assertive about his beliefs. That puts him among a small minority of Marquette students. How many students, especially in politically correct departments like Philosophy, simply stifle their disagreement, or worse yet get indoctrinated into the views of the instructor, since those are the only ideas allowed, and no alternative views are aired? Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university”
Ah, ethics. That word means “a system of moral principles or values,” “rules or standards governing behaviors and conduct.” Ah, moral principles. What might those be? The Oxford English Dictionary suggests, “roles or habits of conduct, with reference to the standards of right and wrong.” What dictionaries cannot tell you is where those principles and standards might be derived from. It is our misfortune to live in an age of fierce relativism, where each person wishes to be allowed to determine his own right and wrong, her own moral and immoral. No one may assert that there is a God-given moral standard to which all people are accountable, a standard that is universal and objective.
You know, there are no such things as timeless ethics or morals without the Bible’s revelation. There is just a mass and morass of personal opinion. Yesterday’s morals are today’s “homophobia.” My heart goes out to all biblical Christians who have to exist in a world of left-wing political correctness. Your world will be lonely and hostile. But at least you know right from wrong. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12-15).