27 January 2006

Scott Jaschik from¬†Inside Higher Ed¬†reports on “The Wingspread Declaration on Religion and Public Life: Engaging Higher Education,” a manifesto-in-progress concerning the role of religion on college campuses. The declaration, written by the Society for Values in Higher Education, calls for colleges to provide students with “religious literacy” across the curriculum, in disciplines ranging from the humanities to the sciences; to foster greater tolerance in religious discussions and not favor a secular viewpoint nor that of any particular religion; and, perhaps most interestingly, to help students grow spiritually and work through their questions about “purpose” or “meaning.” Unsurprisingly, a number of the faculty representatives discussing the draft document at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities this week suspected the declaration’s wording against privileging secular perspectives was aimed at professors who defend evolution against Intelligent Design, and other professors challenged that “de-marginalizing” religion from its traditional campus enclaves of ministries and religion department might find a number of faculty unprepared to integrate religion into their own fields.