The college secularization plot

Damn!  Rick Santorum is onto me.  Not only has he discovered the goal of college professors to take all our students and turn them into liberals, he also realized that we’re out to beat their religious faith out of them.

But, Santorum is a smart guy, he’s taken it to the next level.  He’s figured out that President Obama, in wanting more kids to go to college is not interested in having a more educated workforce in an increasingly globally competitive world (pshaw, who needs that!), but rather, Obama just wants to send more kids to college to be indoctrinated into liberalism and socialism!

First, the religion business:

“It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college. The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America,” Santorum said at a rally last month in Florida. “As you know, 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it.”

That number Santorum threw out — that 62 percent of kids who go to college with religious beliefs leave without them — would seem to prove his point. The number comes from a 2007study published in the journal Social Forces looking at the relationship between education and religious faith.

But as it turns out, later in that same study, the authors came to the complete opposite conclusion: They found that 76 percent of kids who don’t go to college end up attending church less often, a higher percentage than those who do go to college. “Higher education,” as they put it, “is not the enemy of religiosity.”

Another study published in The Review of Religious Research last year, found that kids who went to college were slightly more likely to pray and read the Bible more often.

Hmmm.  Just a little bit misleading.  Perhaps Santorum needs a policy to prevent young adults from aging from 18 to 22.  That might solve the problem.   Love Kevin Drum’s take:

Now, this is a new one to me. It’s commonplace for movement conservatives to believe that universities are dens of depravity and radical left indoctrination. So far, so normal. But as far as I know, most of them don’t believe that efforts to get more kids into college are motivatedby a desire to destroy their faith. That’s a step beyond even normal wingnut land.

This stuff leaves me kind of speechless. I already know what hardcore conservatives think of academia and university life in general. Nothing new there. And let’s face it: the political mood at most universities is pretty liberal. So fine. But what kind of person actively believes that the president of the United States favors more access to higher education as a plot to secularize the country? This is 10-page-single-spaced-crank-letter-to-the-editor territory.

Nice.  Reader DJ sent me this TPM piece that highlights some of Santorum’s other absurd statements on this higher education matter and how the idiots (yes, I use that term quite purposefully) in the Michigan Tea Party are all on board:

But for the tea party crowd gathered here as part of an Americans For Prosperity rally, Santorum’s words about higher education were right on point.

“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob!”

Seriously?!  You’d think this was a scene from a Mike Judge satire making fun of a fictional Republican candidate.

“There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor… That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image,” Santorum said. “I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”

Of course not everybody is cut out for college (no need to remind me when I’m in the midst of grading papers), but to act like trying to get more Americans into college and to make it more affordable and accessible to people of all backgrounds is somehow a bad thing is sheer lunacy.  Welcome to Tea Party America.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to The college secularization plot

  1. Mike Barr says:

    College is dangerous in spite of your so-called “facts”. The kids might encounter information that suggests people and dinosaurs did no coexist, and that the earth is more than 10-12000 years old. We are finally coming around to see things the way the old order Amish and the Taliban see them — education undermines faith in God. What’s worse is, it gets the young-uns used to the idea that knowledge is the accumulation of facts that are themselves subject to empirical verification, testing, and revision, and even the occasional falsification. You can’t possibly maintain a cult if members are accustomed to reality-testing and are allowed to question the received wisdom of cult doctrine without the risk of ostracism.

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