Why the university needs principled pluralism
The university—at its best—is a marketplace of ideas. It is a forum for the explanation and examination of various ways of understanding self, others, and the world in which we live. The university provides a context in which a wide variety of views can come into conversation and—in the end—produce a strong learning community.
In order for this forum to function to its fullest, there must be true diversity. This can only happen when individuals and groups are free to maintain those beliefs that are particular to them, the very thing that makes them diverse.
This is a principled pluralism, a pluralism that respects all views and permits individual and groups the freedom to delineate and differentiate themselves from others with whom they disagree. This sort of pluralism is being threatened on American university campuses today.
With increasing frequency, non-discrimination policies at both state and private universities are being applied to religious student organizations in such a way as to preclude those ministries from using religious criteria in the selection of officers and leaders. In the attempt to safeguard pluralism, it seems, universities are actually sacrificing it.
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