[The following is an open letter to Anthony Monaco, current President of Tufts University.]
Dear President Monaco,
I am writing to convey to you, with as much candor as decency allows, my extreme disgust with the treatment of the Tufts Christian Fellowship by members of our broader community and my hope that you will ignore those community members. To be clear, I have no personal investment in the existence of the TCF. I am an atheist of the sort who would not even bat an eye if Evangelical Christianity vanished from the face of this Earth tomorrow. But I also believe in the principle of free association without any reservation, whether it be free association with someone of my own gender in a marriage contract or free association with a group of similarly principled individuals to select our own leaders.
Over the past year, I have observed a narrow, noisy cabal of individuals interfering with the peaceable operation of the TCF at every possible turn. These privileged individuals, though they would claim a noble devotion to rooting out absolutely all discrimination anywhere and everywhere, have an axe to grind when it comes to Evangelical Christianity. I know because I was once just such an angry extremist. I would publicly ridicule Evangelicals and Evangelical organizations on the basis of an ideal of secular government and society. Privately, I would hope to break Evangelical Christians and all the perceived repression they stood for. I am fortunate that, by my senior year in high school, I had found security in my own beliefs by accepting that there were those who would never share them with me. I am forced by both observation and an uncanny feeling of déjà vu to conclude that the individuals decrying the TCF and its Constitution have not yet done the same. Those individuals are locked into an epic, mortal, imagined, childish struggle to tear down all Evangelical articles of faith which will not bend to accommodate their own moralities and to transform Evangelical Christianity into something more to their liking.
The serene reaction of evangelical students in the TCF to this long and bitter assault on their peaceful association could not strike a more extreme contrast when held up next to the noisy cabal, its venom, and its vitriol. I would never be so kind to individuals dead set against my exercise of individual rights, though that fact about myself may be a large part of why I am not a Christian.
I could certainly dive into the various technical arguments which cloud the core of this controversy. The meaningless distinction between moral principles codified and moral principles implied. The manifold reasonable exceptions to nondiscrimination already present on campus along the lines of gender, political conviction, and nationalism. The nonsensical no-doubles rule that the Chaplaincy apparently holds with respect to student religious group recognition. The apparent desire of secularists to join and lead a religious organization. The demand that not one red bloody cent of student activities money go to an organization which doctrinally opposes homosexual behavior. I could even make silly passing references to the grave of Charles Tufts. But to engage in a trench war of minutiae would indulge the noisy cabal. At the end of the day, no definition of discrimination this side of the known universe would include a group of individuals selecting its leaders based on objective moral standards — based on their aspiring leaders’ actions and behavior. Alas, we are not on this side of the known universe. We are at Tufts.
I have disclosed to you and the public, as the contents of this letter are now on my blog, a rather private part of my own history with Christianity. It is not something I have done before. I cannot predict what future employers may think or decide about me when they find this letter in a Google search. But I have made this disclosure public because I feel morally obligated to call bullshit — yes, bullshit — on the behavior and motivations of all those opposed to the TCF’s continued recognition on campus, as well as its continued operation in accordance with its members’ articles of faith.
This controversy should not be worth your attention, and it should not be worth mine. Unfortunately, there are students on this campus who cannot leave those different from themselves to exist and practice their religion in peace.