Academic integrity 3 – the Rollston saga continues

I learn today from Paleojudaica that Christopher Rollston, who works for Emmanuel Christian Seminary but published an article attacking biblical values, is now under investigation by the college.  The story is at the Chronicle of Higher Education here:

In an undated letter to Rollston, forwarded to Inside Higher Ed by a person who does not work at Emmanuel, Sweeney writes that the professor’s teaching style and the effect he has on his students “have demonstrably exacerbated our current financial problems. That, along with your recent blog, puts you at odds with the purpose and goals of the school… If you feel that you are unwilling or unable to change any of this, and, frankly, I am not even sure it is possible for you to do so at this stage, I strongly suggest you increase your efforts at finding a position in a university where people are not studying for the ministry.”

That seems entirely proper to me. 

What I find much more shocking, however, is the level of intolerance expressed by many commentators towards the college.   They do not share the values of Emmanuel, so they demand that Emmanuel should abandon its own, in order to continue giving Dr Rollston employment.  They would, of course, be the first to protest if they were the victims of a similar demand.

At the simplest level, this is bigotry.  I myself probably do agree with Emmanuel.  But whether I did or did not, I would certainly endorse their right to expect their staff to uphold the principles of the institution that pays them.  If they do not, I would expect them to be fired.  As I remarked earlier, there is no special principle at work here: it is simply a matter of honesty.

When I read, as I have seen in several places, this bigotry justified by claiming that attacking biblical values is just the “consensus of modern scholarship”, I learn that those making that claim are not scholars, and care nothing for scholarship.    For of course scholarship, as such, can have no view on a purely religious or political claim. 

It is the hallmark of the bigot that he refuses to acknowledge that those with whom he disagrees have a right to disagree.  And I see this all over the hostile commentary on this issue.

It’s disturbing to see such narrow-minded intolerance.  If this is, as some have written, what biblical studies is all about, then it is no scholarship at all.  Such pseudo-scholarship should not be funded by the tax-payer.


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