A Note on Dr. George's Visit To Campus
This article was written by Ricardo Huerta. Check out his bio.
On October 20th North Park University was privileged with a lecture in Anderson Chapel by distinguished legal scholar and Princeton University professor Dr. Robert P. George. Dr. George, a former presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights as well as a serving member on the President’s Council for Bioethics delivered a lecture entitled “Religious Freedom in the Culture Wars.”
Exploring complex issues at the intersection of the redefinition of marriage and religious freedom, Dr. George made the case for why the conjugal definition of marriage makes logical sense over the revisionist accounts that have recently developed. Citing the United States Supreme Court landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Dr. George argued that the court’s narrow majority decision has had adverse affects on how people of all faiths could honor their moral conscience in public life.
Dr. George’s visit to campus marked a point in my time at North Park where a speaker directly contradicted the majority political narrative that has been deliberately and intentionally curated. Through rallies, initiatives, curriculum, and university politics North Park has created an environment where a speaker like Dr. George is nothing short of an anomaly. Hiding beneath the guise of unassailable terms like tolerance, acceptance, and care for the other, these terms serve as a shield that renders critics of the dominant university political narrative heartless and intolerant. Put simply, to speak out against this specific form of identity politics is on par with speaking out against tolerance and acceptance as general concepts, an act so deviant that a person would be entirely estranged from the university community.
But Dr. George had no respect for such mores and our university is the better for it. Institutions of higher education weren’t created to insulate its students and faculty from the vast world of ideas, but instead to expose them to both good ideas and bad ideas. As individuals we are free to evaluate ideas and offer our rational critiques of them, but first we must allow them to step onto campus and make their case before us.
To this day I am deeply grateful for Dr. George’s lecture, not primarily because I hold similar views as him, but because his visit to campus was symbolic of what our university should strive to be—that is, a community of the mutual exchange of ideas. Whether these ideas are conservative or liberal, capitalist or socialist, atheist or Christian, as a university we must leave ourselves open to the world of ideas outside the current dominant narrative. North Park is a community capable of that and it is my hope that Dr. George’s visit would mark a turning point in our openness to even the most controversial of opinions.