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May. 26th, 2007 @ 01:13 am Column: Editorials Should Be Read as Such
Published in the Daily Beacon April 9, 2007



Recently, I wrote what was intended to be a two-part Easter message, dealing with the Jesus' crucifixion, then with the historical evidence for His resurrection. Unfortunately, when Part One was published, it received some complaints accusing the Beacon of favoring a particular religious viewpoint. As a result, the editor chose not to run Part Two.


Let me begin by stating that I hold no hard feelings toward our editor, Mr. Thurman, for his action. He is an upstanding individual and he made that decision based on what he felt was in the best interest of the paper. I can certainly respect that. Furthermore, I fully agree with him that as an entity, the Beacon should not promote any partisan political or religious agenda. However, my article was not a news piece, it was an editorial and should have been interpreted as such. Neither I, nor any other member of the editorial staff, can claim to speak for the Beacon in any official capacity. Our respective views are our own.


In any good newspaper, the editorial department is deliberately made up of individuals from a wide variety of perspectives. Whenever one turns to the editorial page, he or she knows in advance that it may contain views that he or she may strongly disagree with. Whether or not to accept, reject or even to read the information offered is entirely up to the reader. Why then, does such an innate phobia surface if those perspectives happen to reflect the writer's religious beliefs?


In recent semesters, numerous columnists have trumpeted the "Christians are idiots" mantra ad nauseum. Although I found their characterizations to be nonsense, I never attempted to have their views censored or silenced. Rather, now that I have my own column, I simply used it to present the other side: That the Christian faith is based on what we believe to be very credible historical evidences. I also stated quite clearly that, regardless of the reader's own religious beliefs, I hoped that the columns would deepen their appreciation for the events that have shaped our world so dramatically.


The fact is that a proper education in Western culture is impossible without a working knowledge of the Bible and the Christian religion. Whether it be history, art, music or countless other areas, the Christian influence is virtually inescapable. For example, The writings of William Shakespeare contain roughly 1300 biblical references. Bach's "Passion of St. Matthew" and Handel's "Messiah" are some of the most cherished musical works ever produced. None of these great works can be fully appreciated apart from the faith that inspired them.


This is why there is a growing bipartisan effort to reintroduce nonsectarian Bible courses into our public school systems. Professors at Harvard, Yale and Princeton all affirm that "Students need to know the Bible." Many high school teachers also proclaim that Bible knowledge is crucial to a good education. For more on this movement, see www.bibleliteracy.org. Every person, regardless of their own faith, will benefit from a better understanding of what Christians believe and why we believe it. For this reason, I felt that my column on the resurrection was entirely appropriate.


You might say, "But you are speaking as a Christian. Would you want to extend this courtesy to people of other faiths?" Absolutely! If a Jewish student wanted to write a column about the significance of Passover, or if a Muslim student wanted to do the same for Ramadan, I would have no objection to that at all. In fact, I would welcome the opportunity to learn from their perspectives.


The free and open exchange of ideas, including religious ones, is something all of us should hold as sacred. To challenge ideas one may disagree with is the right of every American. However, attempting to silence those ideas is called censorship, which most of us will agree is never a good thing.

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