Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tolerant Liberals – 107

Sociology Department Chair Who Hates Christians

Is it acceptable for the Chair of the Sociology Department at a large public university to express hatred, actual visceral hatred, for religious people, and especially Christians?

This issue is raised by one Timothy Shortell, who has been elected to chair the Sociology Department at Brooklyn College. Shortell said the following about religion:
On a personal level, religiosity is merely annoying — like bad taste. This immaturity represents a significant social problem, however, because religious adherents fail to recognize their limitations. So, in the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers and doing real harm to others. One only has to read the newspaper to see the results of their handiwork. They discriminate, exclude and belittle. They make a virtue of closed-mindedness and virulent ignorance. They are an ugly, violent lot.

American Christians like to think that religious violence is a problem only for other faiths. In the heart of every Christian, though, is a tiny voice preaching self-righteousness, paranoia and hatred. Christians claim that theirs is a faith based on love, but they’ll just as soon kill you. For your own good, of course. Those who believe that they are acting out the divine plan are the most dangerous sort in the contemporary world. Make no mistake.

Can there be any doubt that humanity would be better off without religion? Everyone who appreciates the good, the true and the beautiful has a duty to challenge this social poison at every opportunity. It is not enough to be irreligious; we must use our critique to expose religion for what it is: sanctimonious nonsense.
Shortell’s rant appears to be a classic case of the psychological mechanism of projection. He is projecting onto Christians the self-righteousness, paranoia and hatred in his own heart.

Brooklyn College is being cagy in its reaction. According Inside Higher Ed :
[College President Christoph] Kimmich deplored the “offensive, anti-religion opinions” of Shortell. “While his right to express these views is protected, what is not protected is the injection of views like these into the classroom or into any administrative duties he might assume as chair of the sociology department.”
Kimmich appointed three college officials to “investigate” the situation and report.

Does anybody doubt that, had Shortell said things like this about blacks or homosexuals he would have been immediately dumped as department chair? A college would not wonder whether these views might intrude into the classroom or administrative decisions, it would assume they most likely would.

Indeed, would he keep his job? Since academic freedom still means something, a similarly virulent anti-black or anti-gay faculty member might not be fired, but he or she would most certainly be harassed, denied pay raises, denied the opportunity to teach “sensitive” classes, and generally given the message “you should leave.”

Interestingly, Shortell especially attacks American Christians, and has nothing bad to say about Islam. This while militant Islamicists are killing people in terrorists attacks, and activist Christian conservatives in the U.S. are mobilizing their cohorts to get out and vote.

Shortell seems to resent the latter more. Indeed, Moslems are now among the politically correct, part of the Axis of Grievance. They are official victims, and the objects of special solicitude in places like Marquette’s Office of Student Development.

Shortell represents the ugly underside of liberal Democratic politics. His views are close to being mainstream in the Democratic party among the fans of Howard Dean, the people who applauded Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” regular listeners of Air America, and indeed regular listeners of National Public Radio.

Conservatives should not get upset at the rants of people like Shortell. They should, rather, bask in the sight of the liberal movement and the Democratic party destroying themselves.

Two final notes on Shortell: he got his Ph.D. at that fine Catholic school, Boston College, and his publication record is very poor, showing only one article in a semi-reputable journal. One of the things that sometimes makes the ideological bias of academics less pernicious is that so many are careerists, concerned with professional advancement, and not with the indoctrination of their students. That’s certainly a good thing, although it doesn’t begin to substitute for real intellectual diversity in academia.

But this doesn’t seem to apply to Shortell.


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