SANTA CLARITA, CA, JUNE 7, 2017 – The ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day this year came as a calm in the eye of the political hurricane. The national graveyard for the bodies and memories of warriors who shed their life blood to purchase and protect our freedom was on that day far from a silent ground. It was filled with remembrances, testimonies to courage, bravery, and sacrifice along with the accompanying sighs and tears of those families whose losses are so fresh they still feel the initial pain. Again, stories, often recent, were told of the bravery and sacrifice of heroes worthy of honors, medals, and medallions that will have to hang on someone else’s neck because those who earned them are gone forever. That iconic ground is revered as a campus for the bravest, the least selfish and the most sacrificial of this nation’s young. Below the surface, the ground is filled with the bodies of those who were willingly in the line of fire, those who were mortally wounded and sent into eternity. The brave, who died, all knew the danger and ran to the fight anyway, to protect a nation of people they couldn’t even know. They did it because they believed evil must be stopped in its destructive path. They were noble warriors, protectors giving their lives for strangers who shared their homeland, their flag, and their dream of peace and goodness. Many lost their lives because they rushed into the triggers of the enemy, in an effort to save their comrades.
Contrast that noble, manly courage in the face of deadly danger and murderous enemies with the attitude of another campus of young people who are demanding to be respected. Students at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who compose the student senate, recently passed a resolution calling for (out of all ironies) “trigger warnings.” What is that? Is it a warning system to alert students to a campus shooter or some kind of terrorist assault? Not hardly. Here is what the students are demanding: “trigger warnings” are cautions from professors alerting students that the lecture or syllabus might include something that would trigger feelings of emotional or physical distress. Any discussion that could offend must warrant that the professor excuses the potentially offended student from class with no points deducted from his or her grade. It is left unclear how students would complete assignments or answer test questions based on the information they were excused from hearing. “Trigger warnings” were first used on the internet by feminist websites to keep women from post-traumatic stress disorder because they heard something that offended them. Such warnings have spread to a wide variety of websites.
Radically liberal Oberlin College has officially established “trigger warning” guidelines for professors for “anything that might cause trauma including racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues of privilege and oppression.” Certain books deemed offensive because they deal with colonialism and religious prejudice are removed from university libraries, especially those presenting biblical Christianity. The conspiracy against biblical Christianity lurks behind most of this demand to silence offensive speech. These efforts at emotional protection will guarantee a future generation of weak, self-absorbed, narcissistic, victims who will not be warriors willing to fight and die for life, liberty, and divine truth. Those who go to battle know the danger from the enemy. They know there are triggers to shoot or detonate in the hands of those who hate them, but they go and they fight anyway.
At Brown University, a protest mounted against a speaker who opposed liberal feminism because “bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” it could be “damaging.” Thus from an Ivy League university comes the admission that truth is relative. It’s one’s experience that must be protected. No one is free to question personal experience achieved through the means of feeling. At Brown, student volunteers put up posters advertising “safe spaces” for students who found the event or even the idea of the event too upsetting. Here is a quote from the New York Times indicating the remedy: “A safe space was intended to give people who might find comments troubling or triggering a place to recuperate. The room was filled with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, play dough, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.” One student left the safe space and went to the lecture hall but after awhile she had to return to the safe space. She said, “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.”
This past fall, a homosexual student at Columbia University put “anti-homophobia” fliers under each dorm room door and asked that students tape them to their windows so that the whole campus would be safe from anyone criticizing sodomy. At Oxford University, Christ Church College a debate on abortion was canceled because both debaters were men. The student union spokesman said the cancellation was right for “the safety, both physical and mental, of the students.” At Hampshire College, student groups rejected the invitation to a band because it had “too many white musicians and that made students feel unsafe.” Some have called this insanity “self-infantilization.” A United Kingdom university student union banned sombreros passed out by a Tex-Mex café near the campus because the owners of the café were not Hispanics, so they had violated strict cultural appropriation rules. Similarly, a restaurant in Portland, Oregon featuring burritos was shut down by students because its owners were non-Hispanic. They too had violated the code against cultural appropriation. By the way, this doesn’t begin at the university. The nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (written in 1744) was recently banned from a kindergarten because the line “one for the little boy who lived down the lane” had sexist overtones.
There are no “safe spaces” for those who enter battle and come under the fire of real deadly threats and often lose their lives. On the other hand, there is no weaker, more cowardly, and fragile category of people than university administrators and professors. It’s hard to imagine graduates under their influence coming out of their self-centered “safe spaces” to have any impact on society, other than to push it more toward socialism, as they continue to demand that society meet all their felt needs and censor all that could violate their feelings.
The Master’s University and the Master’s Seminary has a strong commitment to our nation’s veterans who seek a Christian education to provide the finest academic training possible, as well as partnership with the US military in an approved ROTC program that graduates officers in the service branch of their choice. On a broader level, we produce people of conviction, strength, determination, boldness, and willingness to confront danger from physical enemies and spiritual enemies. Many universities are catering to entitled, narcissistic, self-absorbed, indulgent, weak students who will enfeeble an entire nation in the future. There also seems to be no shortage of weak, indulgent Christians. At The Master’s University and Seminary, we graduate Christian men and women who stand fearlessly against evil and danger in the world, while fighting the good fight for the kingdom of heaven.
Joshua 1:8-9 says:
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The apostle Paul wrote: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” And added, “let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13,14). In an increasingly evil, secular culture, with weak churches, there is a scarcity of strong Christian leaders who will stand for and sacrifice for the Lord and His truth. Our mission is to attack that scarcity and supply generations of believers who are bold for their Savior and the gospel and who will strengthen the church. Our graduates have been spreading all over the country and the world for nearly a century, making churches stronger. Some serve in the military. All serve their Lord and Master.
John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s University and Seminary, and featured teacher with Grace to You.
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