The president of a Christian college in Oklahoma has condemned the rise of political correctness on college campuses and told students who seek to silence speech that offends them that they are "self-absorbed" and "need to grow up."
Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a Christian liberal arts college with about 1,200 undergraduate students, wrote a letter last week informing the school's students that college is "not day care" and that quests by "offended" students to limit freedom of speech will not be taken seriously.
Piper explained in his letter that one OKWU student recently complained after a chapel service that he felt "victimized" by a sermon focused on 1 Corinthians 13. Since the sermon dealt with the homily on love, the student argued that the sermon made him feel bad because he doesn't make a habit of showing love.
"In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable," Piper wrote. "I'm not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them 'feel bad' about themselves, is a 'hater,' a 'bigot,' an 'oppressor,' and a 'victimizer.'"
Being a Christian college, Piper further explained that sermons often are supposed to make people feel bad so that they are called to the altar to renew their spiritual commitment to living their life by God's design.
"That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad," Piper asserted. "It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins — not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization."
"If you want the chaplain to tell you you're a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you're looking for," he continued. "If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place."
As more liberal universities in the United States are creating rules to limit so-called offensive speech so that their students won't be offended, Piper further advised OKWU students that want to be coddled and "enabled rather than confronted" to go to other colleges.
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"This is not a day care. This is a university!" Piper wrote. "Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a 'safe place,' but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn't about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that's wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that's wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up."
Piper told Fox News that his letter was originally one of his weekly op-eds that is published in a local newspaper and on the school's website. He added that his message was directed more toward the university industry than at a specific student.
"Do we want ideological fascism where you are required to conform? You must agree with us. You must believe like we believe. You must agree with the ideas that we hold dear and if you deviate and have a contrary idea, we will squash you, we will crush you, we will expel you?" Piper asked. "That's ideological fascism, that's not academic freedom, that's not intellectual liberty. The liberal arts university was established some 1,000 years ago to educate a free man and a free woman and a liberated people and that liberty is found in the pursuit of truth, not the protection of opinions."
Piper's letter is the second time in recent months that the OKWU has indicated that it will stand with the institution's biblical convictions and won't cave to societal pressures.
In late August, the school announced that it was dropping its affiliation with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities because the association did not act swiftly to punish two Mennonite colleges that announced this summer that they altered their employment practices to allow for the hiring of openly gay professors and faculty who are in same-sex relationships.
"We believe in missional clarity and view the defense of the biblical definition of marriage as an issue of critical importance to Christian colleges," Piper said in a statement at the time. "The CCCU's reluctance to make a swift decision sends a message of confusion rather than conviction."