A common tactic of politicians is to present their own views as the mainstream, while painting their opponents as extremists. Christianity Today magazine calls them "thought police"--people who relentlessly search out offenses against the liberal ideology of the day. They're turning up these days on all the college campuses. Take Middle Tennessee State University--not exactly a hotbed of liberalism. Not long ago, the university formed something called the Advisory Committee for Curricular Transformation. The "transformation" it has in mind is to bring the university curriculum in line with feminist ideology. The first step was to mail a survey to professors, in order to designed to uncover any lingering hints of bias against women. Now, I don't like bias against women--or against anyone else, for that matter. But this survey had all the subtlety of an inquisition. It consisted of 4 pages of single-spaced questions digging into every conceivable aspect of a college course. Professors were asked to evaluate their textbooks and answer questions like, How often was the pronoun she used? How often were females shown in positions of power? How often were female authors cited? In classroom lectures, were women used in nontraditional examples? If visual aids were used in class, did they focus on female characters and experiences? Professors were even asked to evaluate the behavior of their students. Did students feel hesitant about raising women's issues in class? When female students were speaking, how often were they interrupted, compared to male students? The survey ended with some old-fashioned, Bolshevik-style self-criticism: When students raised women's issues, the survey asked, did you make it clear to them that you take the subject very "seriously"? And here we get to the survey's hidden agenda. Like so many surveys, the goal was not just to gather information. It was also to change the attitudes of the person taking the survey. After filling out 4 pages of leading questions, the professor inevitably feels a little defensive and guilty if he can't answer, "Yes! women are cited as often as men; Yes! they are portrayed in all the same positions as men; Yes! I made sure my students understand `changing gender roles.'" And once the professors' consciousness has been raised--they now feel they should be doing all these things--the university kindly offers workshops to teach the correct attitudes. What this story reveals is that the feminist ideology has become all-encompassing. These surveys weren't sent out only to professors of sociology and history, but to professors of math and chemistry and physics, subjects that have little to do with women's issues. That's because ideological feminists see male bias in every area of scholarship. For them, feminism has become an all-embracing world view. You can only wonder what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot--if universities were forming special committees to promote family values or biblical Christianity. What if surveys were being sent out urging professors to scrutinize their courses and record how often Christians are cited, how often Christians are portrayed in illustrations, how often Christian students feel free to discuss their faith in class. And how about workshops on how to include the Christian perspective in all university courses. That won't ever happen, of course--at Middle Tennessee State University or anywhere else. For the "thought police," bias against Christians doesn't count.


Chuck Colson


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