By Steve Baldwin
A recent poll of millennials reveals that 51% reject capitalism, 44% support socialism, and even 7% preferred living in a communist country. http://victimsofcommunism.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/YouGov-VOC-2017-for-Media-Release-November-2-2017-final.pdf Such startling statistics makes it obvious that America’s public universities and colleges are failing to teach the most basic fundamentals of the free market system, individual freedom, and the great principles of Western civilization that inspired our founding fathers.
The growth of “progressive” collectivist liberalism at America’s institutions of higher learning has been well known for generations, and a number of forward-thinking men responded by forming private conservative Christian colleges. Indeed, men such as Jerry Falwell, George Pepperdine, Pat Robertson, and many others did so in the hope of producing graduates grounded in the great ideas and moral truths of our 2000-year-old Western tradition, knowledgeable about America’s historically rare constitutional order, and the importance of our Christian culture. They sought graduates imbued with strong Christian character, a sense of service to others, and informed about the virtues of market economics. Such graduates would become leaders across a broad spectrum of endeavor, helping to counter America’s leftward drift and restore the country to its original constitutional order.
Many of these private Christian institutions have continued to be faithful to their founding mission, such as Hillsdale College, Harding University, Grove City College, Regent University, Liberty University, etc. Unfortunately, others have drifted away from their core foundational principles and have become mirror images of the politically correct and socialist-drenched public universities. Sadly, one of them is Pepperdine University, which recently shocked many of its donors and alumni by acquiescing to the cultural-Marxist left when it removed a beautiful bronze statue of Christopher Columbus from its undergraduate campus, also called Seaver College. For the purposes of this report, “Pepperdine” is used in referring to Seaver College, unless otherwise noted.
In the left’s narrative that many at Pepperdine now embrace, Columbus is considered an evil oppressor, a racist, and a man of “white privilege” due to his efforts to spread the gospel of revelation and reason to the New World. The effort was part of a larger movement on the left that seeks to eviscerate and redefine America’s great Western heritage. http://dailysignal.com/2018/02/01/san-jose-caves-to-iconoclasm-will-remove-columbus-statue-from-city-hall/
The removal of the Columbus statue itself represents the conflicted heart of Pepperdine. If the university really believed the left’s logic that it would be morally contaminated by keeping this statue, then it would have destroyed it. But instead, the school tried to appease everyone by transferring the statue to its satellite campus in Italy, where Columbus is revered. In other words, Columbus is morally acceptable if you attend Pepperdine’s Italian campus but not if you attend the Malibu campus. This demonstrates the failure of Pepperdine to develop a coherent argument about what Columbus represents or why the school should keep the statue. This incident received national attention and, frankly, was embarrassing for many Pepperdine alumni, a group largely of the conservative persuasion.
A less publicized but perhaps more troubling example of Pepperdine’s drift is when, in July of 2016, Pepperdine removed a large beautifully carved wooden relief of Father Serra from Seaver College’s cafeteria. Serra was the courageous Spanish Catholic Franciscan priest who brought Christianity to California in the 1700’s and settled much of the state by founding 21 missions extending from San Diego to San Francisco. Apparently, Serra, like Columbus, was also a racist European, a label constantly used by the left without any historical context to further its own political agenda.
We should not be shocked or even dismayed that radical students make demands at Pepperdine. It is a major university and its mission includes engaging many points of view and allowing wide latitude in expression. However, it is distressing that the administration feebly accommodated these demands and by doing so did great damage to academic freedom and respect for the history of our civilization. The Vice President for Administration, Phil Phillips, told the Graphic that the artwork was moved because “we had students who were offended by this example of ‘conquest art’ in our cafe.” http://pepperdine-graphic.com/wooden-mural-removal-sparks-hope-for-change/
But if this art represents “conquest art” then the Pilgrims and others who settled America were also “conquerors” and therefore, for Pepperdine to be morally consistent, they should ban all textbooks and instruction with anything to do with America’s founding. This is what happens when a school loses sight of its founding principles and starts babbling illogical leftist narratives. Pepperdine has been unable to mount a coherent defense of its own founding principles.
What is truly ironic is that the left depends on liberties, freedoms, and protections (speech, assembly, press, etc) that are distinctive products of the very Western civilization they attack. Indeed, our founding fathers who enshrined these rights in the constitution were inspired by great European thinkers such as Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Sir William Blackstone, Charles Montesquieu, David Hume and others, not to mention documents such as the English Charters of Liberty grounded in the Magna Carta.
Some full disclosure here: I’m a graduate of Pepperdine; so is my mother. My father served on the Board of Regents in the 1980’s. My parents were close friends with former Pepperdine President Howard White and my grandparents were good friends with the Pepperdines and former President Norvel Young and his wife Helen. My family roots go back to the origins of the Church of Christ, the church that played the key role in founding Pepperdine.
Indeed, the founding of Pepperdine in 1937 by conservative Church of Christ members was a result of a larger movement of conservative evangelicals to the West. As the book From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism by Darren Dochuk, relates, this movement was about “how transplanted southern evangelicalism, itself revitalized and recreated in the Golden State, moved from the margins of the Southern Bible Belt to the mainstream of America’s first sunbelt society.” Members of Christian denominations with deep roots in the South, such as Church of Christ, Four Square, Nazarene, Pentecostals, and Baptists moved into Southern California in large numbers in the latter half of the 20th century and in the process remade California’s theological and political landscape.
As Dochuk writes, the “southern evangelicalism’s ascent on the West Coast coincided with the beginning of a conservative revolution that gathered momentum in Southern California during the early Cold War period before breaking through nationally in the 1970’s.” This movement was derisively referred to by the media as the “Christian Right,” a values-based grass-roots movement which brought political sophistication to millions of conservative Christians who were not otherwise politically active, and who contributed greatly to the election of Ronald Reagan — first as Governor of California and then later as President of the United States.
Dochuk continues: “At the center of the action were self-made men like George Pepperdine whose evangelical commitments extended beyond their local communities into the world of high finance and higher education… convinced that an overbearing, bureaucratic New Deal state threatened their belief in the primacy of individualism and local community, these entrepreneurs worked to create a network of institutions that could begin reversing the trend.”
Indeed, George Pepperdine himself was, as with almost all Church of Christ members in those days, politically conservative. Pepperdine University itself was deeply involved in building the conservative political movement in Southern California, even hosting rallies for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. Moreover, in the 1950’s, Pepperdine hosted a series of speeches by conservative leaders titled the “Freedom Forum,” which were not just for students but for residents of the Los Angeles community. By 1970, this culturally enriching program grew into an ongoing public conversation called the “Great Issues Series,” which continued to feature leading thought-provoking conservative scholars and leaders such as Thomas Sowell, George Gilder, Russell Kirk, William Simon, Donald Rumsfeld and many others. The series ceased to exist by the mid 1980’s.
It also needs to be pointed out that Pepperdine was instrumental in the publication of perhaps the best book ever published that traces America’s constitutional order to the great ideas of Western civilization. In 1967, Pepperdine commissioned conservative scholar Russell Kirk to write the Roots of American Order, with the intention that it serve as a textbook at Pepperdine and other Christian colleges. More on that later.
While Kirk was the preeminent conservative scholar of the day, Ronald Reagan was the era’s leading conservative politician and it was during the 1970’s that Pepperdine developed a special relationship with him. In the course of his political career, he spoke to various Pepperdine entities a total of seven times. On February 9th, 1970, Governor Reagan was the keynote speaker for the historic “birth of a college” dinner during which plans were unveiled to move Pepperdine from South Central Los Angeles to a spectacularly beautiful new campus in Malibu Beach. He also spoke at the dedication of Seaver College in 1975, and again at Pepperdine’s School of Law in 1979, during the kick-off of his presidential campaign. He knew many of Pepperdine’s early leaders and he supported the institution because its goal was to conserve the great civilizational gifts that we enjoy and to preserve the American order dedicated to freedom, opportunity, natural rights, and constitutional limits.
After Pepperdine Moved to its New Malibu Campus, the Seeds of Change Were Planted
When Pepperdine sold its South Central Los Angeles campus and moved to its new setting in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Malibu Beach, things began to change. George Pepperdine and most of his core founding associates had passed away the decade prior to the move, and a whole new generation of board members, faculty and administrators were brought on, many of whom desired to steer Pepperdine away from its conservative roots in the Church of Christ. Whether there was an organized effort to hijack the institution or a slow unfolding of non-deliberate events, that is open to debate, but there is no doubt there were fundamental changes at Pepperdine in the 1970’s. There was also little doubt pressure was brought to bear by large donors and board members seeking changes in order for Pepperdine to become a nationally recognized university. At least that was the thinking of some.
Mandatory chapel became less frequent and the number of professors who were Church of Christ members declined significantly. Many of the Christians hired were certainly more liberal, theologically, than Church of Christ professors and even many Church of Christ professors were more liberal than earlier generations of Church of Christ professors. Indeed, liberal Christians from all denominations flocked to the school, both as professors and students. As one former Abilene Christian University administrator told me, “by the late 1970’s the other Church of Christ affiliated universities no longer considered Pepperdine a real Church of Christ school.”
But many of Pepperdine’s supporters were overjoyed with the new enlightened Pepperdine. With a beautiful new campus above the ocean and a more relaxed theological worldview, Pepperdine had little problem attracting students. The thinking of many was that within the context of the very liberal California culture, the school’s movement toward a more liberal position, both theologically and politically, was the right thing to do. Besides, the argument went, unlike the small Los Angeles campus, the school now had to attract twice as many students in order to meet full capacity and pay the bills.
Liberal Christians are Attracted to Political Liberalism
But theological liberalism can be a tricky thing. Theological liberals often migrate toward embracing both cultural and political liberalism primarily because they all share the same view regarding the nature of man. Conservatives believe that mankind is easily corrupted due to the presence of evil in the world and therefore needs checks on his power. This is why conservatives have always been associated with constitutional concepts such as limited government and separation of powers and are vigorous supporters of law enforcement.
But both liberal Christians and political liberals believe that mankind can be perfected and, by extension, society can be perfected, even if that means jettisoning organically grown traditions and mores en route to a supposed utopian society. This is why the left is always on a crusade. Whether it’s demanding corporations pay higher taxes, advocating bigger government, undermining the traditional family unit, promoting gay rights, co-sharing female bathrooms, advancing global warming, attacking the concept of merit, dividing society into racial and gender “victim” groups, or assaulting anything remotely having to do with alleged “white privilege,” there’s no end to the left’s rampages though traditional institutions because with each victory they believe they are one step closer to perfecting heaven on earth.
This is also why when one digs deep into the history of socialist and communist dictators, they are always, at least early on, surrounded by naive liberal Christians who were attracted to them due to their promises of “transforming” society by remaking man. It is also why many in the hard left leadership in America today profess to be Christians, albeit a variety, I would argue, that’s alien to traditional biblical Christianity. We must remember that for liberals, government is God and supplants the God of Abraham as the ultimate authority for how we conduct our country and ourselves.
The irony is that while American values are often attacked politically by the liberal Christian community, it happens to be the most civil, prosperous, freeist and charitable country in the world, while the regimes typically favored by the theologically left, such as Cuba and Venezuela, are among the biggest violators of human rights, the rule of law and the freedoms we take for granted. But let’s not let facts get in the way. As one Pep professor confided to me, “the school is full of faculty members who claim to be Christians but they have no problem promoting leftist ‘social justice’ causes that ultimately work against our Christian-inspired constitution and our Christian-based culture.”
By the 1980’s, Conservative Theological and Political Views became Scarce at Pepperdine
The evolvement of liberal Christians into political liberalism within the Pepperdine world led to very subtle but potent changes that are evident today. The seeds were sown. Indeed, by the late 1980’s, Pepperdine was dominated by liberal professors even though its own Board of Regents and big donors never got the memo about this take-over by political and theological liberals. Even today, it is common to meet board members who think Pepperdine is one of the most conservative colleges in America.
Pepperdine though, continued to dilute down its Christian atmosphere in the 1980’s with the hiring of professors who weren’t even Christians or Christians so liberal they had little in common with traditional Christians. It should be pointed out that there are also theologically liberal Christians who hold conservative viewpoints politically and culturally, but Pepperdine has few of those. But there is little doubt that by the early 1990’s, there was a clique of liberal professors hired who had little in common with Pepperdine’s original vision, either theologically or politically. One example of this mission drift was a 1993 legal document sent to all Religion Department professors that prohibited them from “attempting to convert students to, or maintain their adherence to, the tenets of beliefs of the Churches of Christ or ANY other recognized or identified religious group…”
So if a student doubted his faith and asked his religion professor some questions, the professor was prohibited from interacting with that student. What’s the use of having a Christian university if the faculty is not allowed to help a student discover or rediscover his or her faith? Indeed, even professors at state colleges have more freedom to share their faith than do Pepperdine’s religion professors. Perhaps this directive is ignored by some professors, as I have been told, but the fact the school even issued such a directive is troubling.
However, it should be pointed out there was a revival of sorts in the 1990’s under the Presidency of David Davenport. He did make an effort to reverse the liberal trend and made great strides to return Pepperdine back to its roots by hiring more professors of a conservative persuasion, both theologically and politically. Efforts were also made to bring nationally renown conservative speakers to campus. Moreover, Davenport took steps to emphasized Pepperdine’s Christian mission, both in terms of faculty hired and the campus culture in general. But after Davenport’s presidency ended in 2000, the mission drift returned and today’s Seaver College’s academic atmosphere is more liberal than at any other time in its history.
This is not to say that Pepperdine does not continue to make religion an integral part of campus life. It has several programs that work on this, from the Office of the Chaplain to the excellent Pepperdine Bible Lectures, to the activities of the Center for Faith and Learning. Moreover, the school has an on-campus chapel that hosts worship services. The problem is that these admirable programs have little to no impact on the curriculum and course instruction at Pepperdine.
The reality is that George Pepperdine’s goal was to integrate the Christian worldview into the instruction itself. That was the main reason he founded Pepperdine. In his own words, “I am endowing this institution to help young men and women to prepare themselves for a life of usefulness in this competitive world and help them build a foundation of Christian character and faith which will survive the storms of life…There are many good colleges and universities which can give you standard academic training, but if our school does not give you more than that, it really has no reason to exist.”
After all, one can find plenty of Christian activities at any church but what motivated Mr. Pepperdine to start a college was the idea of creating generations of students who were imbued with a solid Christian worldview. He understood that students taught theologically conservative worldviews would naturally gravitate toward rejecting political and cultural liberalism. But as it stands now, most of the Christian worldview promoted at Pepperdine today is carried on outside of course instruction. As one student leader confided to me, “90% of the student body has absolutely nothing to do with any extracurricular religious activities.”
For example, one cannot accurately teach the history of our constitution without reviewing the biblical principles that inspired our founders to include concepts like Montesquieu’s Separation of Powers and a judicial system based upon the idea that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty (5th Amendment, Bill of Rights). But Pepperdine’s textbooks do just that. They distort history by ignoring the Christian principles behind much of America’s history. George Pepperdine‘s vision that “all instruction is to be under conservative, fundamental Christian supervision…” has ceased to be an operating principle at Pepperdine. Indeed, the liberal Christians who dominate Seaver College’s faculty today – many of whom were Obama cheerleaders – would never have been hired in George Pepperdine’s day.
Nevertheless, Pepperdine has managed to create a national reputation as a conservative Christian institution, but that is illusionary. One may have heard about various nationally recognized conservative scholars who at one time have taught at Pepperdine such as Michael Novak, Bruce Herschensohn, Victor Davis Hanson, Steve Hayward and James Q. Wilson, but that was at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy (SPP), a graduate program affecting only a 100 students. Even today, this excellent graduate program features outstanding scholars such as Ted McAllister, Joel Fox, Robert Sexton and others, thanks to former Pepperdine President David Davenport and Jim Wilburn, the first SPP Dean, who were the founding visionaries for the School of Public Policy in 1997. Unfortunately, in the grander scheme of things, that’s not where the action is when it comes to influencing the greatest number of students.
Indeed, it was George Pepperdine’s vision that the entire Pepperdine community would embody the vision and the principles of the Graduate School of Public Policy. One of the great mysteries here is how the Board of Regents was able to oversee the creation of a nationally-renowned conservative Graduate School of Public Policy but then allowed the undergraduate school to become captive to the political and cultural left.
In one exchange I had with President Andrew Benton a few years back, he argued with me that Pepperdine remains a fairly conservative school and to prove it, he sent me a list of conservative speakers who had addressed the school. However, every speaker listed had addressed the School of Public Policy, not Seaver College. He proved my point. Nor do the superb conservative speakers that Pepperdine’s clever PR and fundraising people schedule for “Pepperdine Associates” dinners and other off-campus fundraisers have anything to do with the growing liberalism of Seaver College.
Liberal Speakers, Liberal Professors and Liberal Textbooks Dominate Seaver College Today
Conservative institutions do not fear liberal thinkers but it seems that when liberals dominate an institution, they demand that every speaker and every professor represent a pre-approved ideology. As Pepperdine has moved left, it has lost its real diversity in favor of an ideologically-coded agenda. After all, the best university professors deal with political issues by making sure his students understand all sides of the issue. Ironically, 95% of the time such professors are conservatives.
When famed journalist Adam Housley of Fox News attended Pepperdine from ’90 -’94, he became so tired of hearing liberal guest speakers such as self-proclaimed socialist Tom Hayden that he persuaded Pep officials to allow him to schedule some conservative speakers. However, for the sin of simply trying to create some balance among campus speakers, Political Science Professor Stan Moore sent out an open letter attacking Housley as a threat to Pepperdine. Really.
Indeed, my memory of Professor Moore when I attended Pepperdine from ’75 -’80 is how he, along with the entire political science faculty, repeatedly attacked President Reagan. I still possess copies of the hysterical anti-Reagan flyers they would plaster on bulletin boards outside their classrooms stating things like “Reagan is as mentally dense as he is morally crippled…Register and vote to throw every Reagan Republican you can find on every level out of office this year.”
When a Pepperdine debate team debated the Soviet student debate team in 1986, Political Science Professor Dan Caldwell immediately wrote a guest column for the school newspaper, the Graphic, defending the Soviet position on just about every point. And this is at the height of the Cold War! While Caldwell is known to be a fair professor, he was a member of the Clinton-Gore Transition team and had written that America’s “lack of knowledge about U.S.-Soviet relations” is as serious a threat to the country as the Soviet Union itself was at the height of its military power. His required textbook is so biased it portrayed America’s liberation of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan as an “intervention” and America’s liberation of communist-controlled Granada as an “invasion.”
Former Pepperdine student Joyce Leppert attended Pepperdine ’89-91 and related to me that “my music professors were insanely liberal and I felt they were biased against me because I was a conservative Christian. For example, they did not include me in a music production due to my beliefs and rather than be discriminated against, I transferred to Harding my junior year.”
As over a dozen professors, former professors and students have confirmed to me, the undergraduate school – Seaver College — is today almost devoid of any outspoken conservative professors, with the exception of a few professors in the Economics Department. There are a few closet conservatives but they keep their views to themselves due to the liberal ethos that now dominates Seaver College. As one current student leader related to me, “I’ve never had a course at Pepperdine in which the professor was a conservative.”
Another current student said that while students at Pepperdine “are a mix of both liberals and conservatives, the liberals dictate the campus conversation.” This is because, he said, “culturally, the campus is dominated by the liberals.” He also added that “the Professors are all mostly openly liberal or ambiguous; there’s a few conservatives but they are reclusive and don’t speak out.” He also said conservative speakers or gatherings of any kind would be interfered with by the campus liberals.
Indeed, current students interviewed by this author told me the religion courses are completely watered down, oftentimes with the original meaning of various scriptures altered. As one student related, “In my Old Testament in Context class, controversial passages have been reinterpreted to be more politically correct, such as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
In January of 2017, America’s leading conservative student group, “Turning Point USA,” attempted to organize a chapter at Pepperdine but when they posted its literature on a bulletin board called “The Freedom Wall,” it was immediately defaced by leftists and then torn down by school officials. Apparently, the freedom to post anything on this wall does not extend to conservatives. As Turning Point President Charlie Kirk stated, “Pepperdine, should not only be accepting of ideological diversity, they should actively seek to encourage and promote it… college campuses have become islands of totalitarianism where anyone that disagrees with the majority is ostracized and attacked—disappointingly Turning Point USA’s attempt to organize on campus has reinforced that.”
When one accesses Pepperdine’s “Confessions” Face book page, one finds recent comments by students such as “I have never felt comfortable expressing my views at this school which is ironic… I said something in class once that was conservative and got eaten alive by the prof and my classmates.” Another post said “Why is Pepperdine so full of liberals?…if you have a different opinion you get shut down.” www.facebook.com/pg/peppconfessions/posts
It’s not just that liberal professors now dominate the school; they are actively suppressing conservative voices. This is what has happened at U.C. Berkeley and other state schools where the left dominates the campus: free speech is shut down, in particular viewpoints critical of the left’s agenda.
But Pepperdine professors don’t just attack conservative students while at Pepperdine; one carried out his attacks long after the student in question had graduated. His name is Russell Burgos, certainly a Pepperdine leftist faculty Hall of Famer. In 2014, he launched a series of social media attacks on one of his former students, Pep alumnus Michelle Fields, for simply becoming a Fox News contributor. When this story hit the national media, Burgos tried to claim someone was impersonated him but, clearly, he was not being truthful. https://twitter.com/MichelleFields/status/498247166855770113/photo/1
This author has reviewed over 40 history, social science, humanities, and political science textbooks in use at Pepperdine and was unable to find any book written from a conservative or Christian worldview. The textbooks are, in general, saturated with leftist narratives about gender, race, diversity and “classism.” Events are often told through the eyes of alleged victims of America and grossly exaggerate America’s purported sins. Even texts about national security are filled with silly theories about gender, as if an Iranian nuclear bomb exploding in Los Angeles is really going to differentiate between genders. Incredibly, one textbook about the American Revolution portrayed that conflict as a class warfare clash undertaken by the lower classes and opposed by the upper classes. But even a cursory review of Revolutionary War history reveals that this struggle was led by self-made American colonists as well as landed aristocrats of immense academic and practical achievements, such as George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
Such is the type of sloppy scholarship and second rate neo-Marxist “class warfare” analysis that dominates Pep’s history, social studies and political science undergraduate textbooks. These textbooks do not convey the impact Christianity and the great thinkers of Western civilization had upon our culture or our founding fathers. Moreover, foreign history texts portray imperialism as horribly evil, even though former European colonies in the Third World, comparatively speaking, today enjoy more prosperous and civil societies than those that did not experience colonialism. This is due to the remnant of certain Western institutions left behind after the European powers disposed of their colonies: the rule of law, property rights, democratic governing systems, western-based legal and school systems, etc.
Pepperdine does have a program called a “Great Books Colloquium,” which is described as an “a sequence of four courses which focus on significant literary artifacts of Western culture.” The professors who teach this course are mostly of the liberal to moderate persuasion and at least half of the colloquium is focused on ancient poetry, when, as one student related to me, “the teacher is not bashing Trump.” There is one professor who does focus on comprehending the logic of the great ancient philosophers but overall this program has little in common with the “Great Books” courses at other conservatives colleges where the purpose of the program is to teach what makes the “Great Books” great, in terms of their contribution to Western civilization and how these ideas have influenced the world we live in today. This program has no unified theme and could be much better than it is.
But the big program that supporters of Pepperdine point to as proof that the school continues to teach a classical western education is its Western Civilization core requirement. Indeed, Pepperdine’s legendary Humanities professor, Dr. James Smythe, taught the Western Civilization course from 1952 until 1994. Smythe was perhaps one of Pepperdine’s greatest professors ever and his lectures were nationally renowned. For me, Smythe brought Western civilization alive and he taught generations of Pepperdine students the importance of Western civilization and how we as Americans are the heirs of the great ideas of Western scholars and philosophers. Never did I doze off during his memorable lectures.
Unfortunately, today, there is no one ever close to Smyth’s credentials or stature teaching Western Civ at the undergraduate level. Here’s how Pepperdine’s academic catalog currently describes the Western civilization requirement: “Understand the consequences and costs of Western Cultural achievements both to men and women in the West and to other civilizations with which the west has interacted.” It makes Western Civ sound like a disease. And the actual courses are mediocre at best. In looking at the six required Western Civilization textbooks, one does not come away impressed.
One book, Heart of Darkness, is about a British man who journeys up a river into Africa in 1899 and while it contains great moral lessons about how mankind treats others, it’s a fictional novel and belongs in a literature course. Galileo’s Daughter is also a strange choice for Western Civ. While it has a few insights about the great scientist Galileo, it is largely about his relationship with his daughter, which has little to do with the great ideas of Western civilization. Oration on Dignity of Man is about a renaissance scholar who attempts to synthesize all the great scholarship of Western civilization into one philosophy. Interesting, but the book plays down the great contributions of Christianity, not surprising since it is considered “the founding statement of the Humanist doctrine.” One reviewer says it is so convoluted that it is devoid of “any profound thoughts or ideas.”
Then there are two textbooks that purport to be general overviews of Western civilization but they are poorly written, disorganized and full of anti-religion bias. As one reviewer writes about Western Civilization, “do not waste your time on this dribble. It’s anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and historically inaccurate. To have the audacity to claim Judaism, one of the oldest and most influential religions in the world, is a cult, is absolutely disgusted. To refuse to call the country of Israel what is actually is, Israel, not Palestine, is atrocious. And I’m not even remotely Jewish.”
The other text, Western Heritage, was panned by many scholars for having hundreds of errors, and as one reviewer states, “It has one of the worst anti-Catholic biases I have ever seen. It constantly bad mouths the church.” The final required book is solid, only because it was written by reformation leader Martin Luther himself: Freedom of a Christian. But taken altogether, the Western Civ course is incredibly weak and is obsessed with promoting negative stereotypes about our Western heritage. Smythe would be embarrassed.
The overall impact of such biased texts is that Pepperdine is graduating thousands of students who, at worst, detest America and our Western culture, or, at best, are oblivious or confused about the great ideas of Western civilization and the constitutional principles that made America the greatest country in world history.
And there are great books out there about Western civilization, such as Baylor University Professor Rodney Stark’s magisterial How the West Won. And perhaps the greatest book in this genre ever published is the aforementioned Roots of American Order by America’s most distinquished conservative scholar, the late Dr. Russell Kirk. Pepperdine itself actually published the book in 1974. In this monumental work, Kirk traces the principles that inspired America’s founding fathers to ancient Greece, Rome and the British civilization. This best-selling book was meant to be a Pepperdine textbook but today, none of the political science professors will touch it. Pepperdine has apparently chosen to not insist on academic excellence. Indeed, overall, the political orientation of the vast majority of Pepperdine’s textbooks and professors has made Seaver College nearly indistinguishable from public colleges.
The Diversity Movement Conquers Pepperdine
But the latest leftist rage at Pepperdine currently infecting everything from hiring practices to textbook selection is the “diversity” crusade and liberal students aligned with the anti-police Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have been at the forefront of this movement. Indeed, in 2015, this group of leftist students held a sit-in at Pepperdine’s cafeteria to show solidarity with the BLM movement at the University of Missouri, where supposedly, there were a number of racial incidents. The problem was, the racial incidents simply never occurred, but nevertheless, the chairman of the Seaver Diversity Council, Professor John Peterson, gleefully whipped these students into a frenzy over essentially a series of hoaxes and misunderstandings at a campus 2000 miles away. https://www.dailywire.com/news/1020/mizzou-students-revolted-over-four-racist-ben-shapiro
The students were also protesting some anti-diversity comments directed at Pepperdine that appeared on an anonymous chat site, a ridiculous concern since one can find unpleasant comments in a million places on the internet. Moreover, the school had nothing to do with these comments or this social media site. Should we take the entire internet down? Better yet, why not refuse to visit those sites?
Nevertheless, in response, Pepperdine Dean Michael Feltner gave a dramatic speech: “I am proud of the students who stood in silence and solidarity to act and express their concerns. I support them and strongly affirm that there is no place for racial intolerance and hatred in our community.” How about there being no place at Pepperdine for professors and Deans to feed the fire over phony or grossly exaggerated racial incidents?
When Pepperdine officials lend support to fake racial incidents, it undermines the seriousness of real racial issues. Feltner’s statement fits a pattern among Pepperdine administrators who automatically assume that those who claim “victim” status are brave and moral souls while assuming the targets of their attacks are always in the wrong. They betray one of the most basic demands of academic life, which is to follow the evidence and to defend the truth against those who attack it for political purposes.
Nevertheless, the Pepperdine left has demanded that the school create a course on diversity and make it a core requirement, tear down and remove anything having to do with Western civilization, and force all students, faculty and staff to undergo “diversity” training. The term “diversity” may sound good, but it’s not what it sounds like. The diversity movement is a well-funded movement on the left that seeks to censor all views supportive of Western civilization and America’s Christian heritage and to force colleges to admit students and hire faculty based upon racial, gender and even sexual orientation quotas, regardless of merit.
As one Pepperdine professor told me, “The squishy entry point for a weak-minded leftism at Pepperdine is diversity. What you must realize is that leftists who are not top scholars or thinkers and who get their degrees from mediocre schools, tend to be driven by slogans and other simplistic declarations that they cannot defend intellectually.” Indeed, this diversity crusade has watered down academic standards at Pepperdine all in the name of “transforming” society. And Pepperdine administrators have swallowed this liberal nonsense hook, line, and sinker, even as many state schools have pointedly rejected the left’s “diversity” demands.
Pepperdine now employs an “Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion,” who is so far left, he’s falls off the spectrum. His name is David Humphrey and he describes his mission as such: “disrupting deficit-based approaches to the work of diversity and inclusion, which position diversity as non-normative, exotic, and additive. Our ultimate goal is to foster intercultural spaces of mutual discovery, transformation, and identity expansion. This approach will value narrative and storytelling as a powerful tool in interrogating and disrupting harmful spaces of silence and oppression, replacing spaces of silence and oppression with an infrastructure of care and inclusivity….” Got it?
And this high priest of psycho-babble now has the power to influence instruction throughout the school. And he has a whole team to carry out the diversity coup d’etat. Indeed, Pepperdine now has a “University Diversity Council,” a “Seaver College Diversity Council,” and a “Graduate School of Education and Psychology Diversity Council,” upon which sit a variety of leftist faculty, staff, and students who hand down edicts from on high about “plans and goals for diversity.” So if any professor dares get out of line ideologically, these Big Brother conformity commissars will be on their backs.
And this diversity movement is supported by the campus Christian community, which today is mostly a theologically liberal Christian community with little in common with the conservative Christians who founded Pepperdine. In the world of liberal Christianity, diversity is deemed more important than morality, thus its support for homosexuality, a behavior inconsistent with Biblical prescriptions. Violence is condoned by these politically-correct “Christians” as long as it is carried out in support of “diversity,” thus its support for the violent anti-police Black Lives Matter thugs. And many of these campus Christians, in particular faculty members, embrace socialism over freedom and government regulation over free enterprise, thus their support for democratic politicians and causes. In order to give these cultural barbarians some form of justification, Pepperdine published a “Christian Rationale for Diversity at Pepperdine,” a bizarre paper, since it’s difficult to justify in Christian terms the left’s definition of diversity: a system that censors conservative viewpoints and pushes racial and gender quotas at every opportunity.
While Pepperdine doesn’t seem to mind spending hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring leftists to push diversity, if they would simply hire solid scholars who don’t detest America, these scholars would naturally cover diverse views. Because that’s what good scholars do. But apparently, Pepperdine’s strategy is to hire low-quality, far-left ideologues and then employ a diversity patrol to enforce the party line. George Orwell, call your office.
Pepperdine’s academic catalog also demonstrates the extent to which the diversity worldview has infected every type of course. In almost every department section in the catalog, one repeatedly encounters phrases such as “social justice,” “the dynamics of gender,” “racism,” classism,” “sexism” and so forth. In compliance with the diversity police, Pep also created minors such as African-American Studies, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies and the Social Action and Justice Colloquium. Instead of teaching events based on the accomplishments of people regardless of their race or gender, the Pep left seeks to divide everyone into racial and gender categories and teach history from a “victimized” perspective. Such minors are totally useless for preparing anyone for a productive career. They’re only good for indoctrinating students with highly dubious allegations about America. Students learn to hate their own past but lose contact with any of the accomplishments that they inherit.
What is truly ironic is that in America, racial minorities, women and homosexuals have far more rights than in any other country in the world, primarily because we have a Bill of Rights, brought to us by those demonized white patriarchal men who authored the constitution. Another irony regarding the left’s obsession with diversity is that whites only comprise 42% of the student population at Pepperdine, but as a percentage of the country’s population, they exceed 61%. In other words, minorities are greatly OVER represented at Pepperdine while whites are UNDER represented.
One of demands made by the campus left is for all professors to attend a diversity indoctrination program called SEED. Currently voluntary, the left is pushing to make it mandatory. This loony program assumes the worse about America and subtly promotes hatred of whites. Indeed, SEED is a project of a group called the Wellesley Center for Women, a group that popularized the concept of “white privilege,” a racist idea that teaches people to discount achievements by white people as somehow illegitimate because such success is supposedly only due to the exploitation of other races.
Incidentally, the Wellesley Center for Women also promotes a “have-sex-with-anyone-for-any-purpose” sex education program for kids as young as 11. These people are cultural revolutionaries who detest the West, America, the traditional family unit and everything George Pepperdine stood for. Why is Pepperdine pushing professors to attend SEED seminars? What’s the next step for the diversity police? Track down the few conservative professors left at Pepperdine and torture them into submission?
Last fall, at the annual Pepperdine faculty conference, there were breakout groups in which various readings were discussed. SPP Professor Ted McAllister had selected a reading titled The Architecture of Academic Freedom https://www.nas.org/articles/the_architecture_of_intellectual_freedom He wanted to encourage all Pepperdine professors to discuss how academic freedom fits in with the educational goal of helping students become intellectually free. It caused an uproar because the paper gave examples of how “diversity” efforts at various universities have diluted academic quality. Some even hysterically denounced it as “racist.”
There were even calls for Professor McAllister to apologize to the faculty for selecting such a “racist” document. But as any normal person would conclude after reading this document, it is clearly not racist but rather about maintaining academic freedom and high standards. But leftist faculty apparently feared this document could be used to interfere with its efforts to use “diversity” to continue to censor conservative viewpoints and to pressure Pepperdine to engage in racial quotas in admission and hiring.
Pepperdine Joins the Global Warming Crusade
In recent years, Pepperdine has accepted money from some large liberal donors in return for creating academically dubious programs that are now part of Pepperdine’s academic culture. To give one example, the school created a “Center for Sustainability,” which promotes some common sense environmental ideas for the campus, such as the use of solar energy, recycling trash, improving campus air quality and so forth. However, the Center also promotes global warming as a proven fact, even though 31,487 scientists have signed a open statement indicating they do not support the idea of human-created global warming. Of this group, 3,805 specialize in the atmospheric, environmental, and earth sciences. http://www.petitionproject.org/
Clearly, there is NOT a consensus on this issue. Nevertheless, Pepperdine’s undergraduate school refuses to expose its students to any views contrary to the party line: We must shut down entire industries in order to save the Earth. Indeed, in 2014, the Center hosted a three-day symposium called “Climate Calling,” featuring Pepperdine professors making some hysterical pronouncements despite none of them having any climatology training. https://vimeo.com/115836352. Nor did the symposium presenters mention that the average global temperature has remained flat for the 18 years. If global warming was caused, as the left claims, by ever-increasing man-made CO2 emissions, there would not be an 18 year flat line. http://www.climatedepot.com/2015/08/06/a-new-record-pause-length-no-global-warming-for-18-years-7-months-temperature-standstill-extends-to-233-months/
Indeed, not only is global warming hotly disputed, but many scientists are now reporting that an era of global cooling may be in our future. In between 1965 and the 1980’s, there were 295 studies by climatologists predicting a “global cooling” trend in the near future. http://www.climatedepot.com/2016/09/13/83-consensus-285-papers-from-1960s-80s-reveal-robust-global-cooling-scientific-consensus/ Pepperdine Professor Stephen Davis, another “expert” with no climate training, told the assembled students that we are now undergoing “historic draught conditions” as a result of global warming. But there’s not a shred of evidence to back that up: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/04/27/analysis-its-not-just-droughts-but-nearly-all-extreme-weather-is-either-declining-or-at-or-near-record-lows/
Symposium presenters also claimed the “thermafrost is degrading” in Alaska, but even the official state Alaska climate office says there hasn’t been any substantial warming in Alaska in 40 years. http://akclimate.org/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html The Center also produced a video attacking fracking, a new technique of extracting oil which is the reason why America is closer than ever to becoming energy self-sufficient and not dependent for oil upon terror-supporting Islamic regimes. No worries though, Pep wants to close fracking down. https://vimeo.com/165982728
The real target of the left’s global warming crusade is, of course, fossil fuels, because without them, our economy shuts down, but that’s what they want since they view America’s capitalist system as essentially evil. That’s obvious to long-time observers of the left but Pepperdine’s administration doesn’t seem to give a whit that the school is being used by liberal ideologues.
Another video https://vimeo.com/165982729 calls upon people to disinvest in companies it believes are purposely destroying the environment, which turns out to be yet another nonsensical attack on America’s oil and gas industries. Then there’s the video about “environmental injustice” which propagates a bizarre conspiracy theory that companies are purposely thrashing the environment in areas where minorities live. No kidding. https://vimeo.com/165982727. These videos were created by students for the symposium under the direction of Professor Craig Detweiler, at that time the director of Pepperdine’s “Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture.”
The symposium’s keynote speaker was Sylvia Earle, a scientist, but with no climate training. She formerly worked at the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency exposed last year by one of its lead scientists for manipulating climate data to lend support to global warming. https://science.house.gov/news/press-releases/former-noaa-scientist-confirms-colleagues-manipulated-climate-records
But the left really struck gold when Pepperdine created a “Sustainability Minor” that, among other things, will teach students to be global warming propagandists, many of whom will probably end up working for environmentalist groups dedicated to shutting our economy down. Good job Pepperdine. So parents are spending $66,000 a year so the school can turn their sons and daughters into leftist ideologues? Why is the board allowing this? As John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, stated, “The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophobic. Our planet is not in peril.” Unfortunately, Coleman passed away before Pepperdine ever had to chance to invite him to speak. It would have been a long wait.
President Benton Insults the Police and Promotes Racial Goals in Hiring
Last March, after Pepperdine President Andrew Benton ordered the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue, the New American magazine said that “The denigration of Christopher Columbus by secular progressive universities is unfortunate enough, but for a Christian university to jump on the trash Western civilization bandwagon is particularly disturbing.” So true.
In an official Pepperdine statement, the university argued that Benton’s decision “recognizes the importance of compromise in creating a campus culture of unity and inclusiveness.” But Pepperdine’s idea of “inclusiveness“ apparently doesn’t apply to historic western civilization figures. Embarrassingly, nationally syndicated talk show host Dennis Prager jumped into the fray, saying that, “Once regarded as one of the few sensible universities in the country, that appears to be a thing of the past. They have gone Left. They are getting rid of their statue of Christopher Columbus for reasons of ‘diversity.’ The university president’s letter of explanation is an embarrassing bow down to political correctness.”
In his comments about Columbus, Benton claimed the explorer represented “human tragedy,” but that’s factually accurate. Not only did Columbus’s voyage to the New World set in motion the creation of the greatest nation in world history, but Columbus himself did not kill or hurt anyone, nor was that the purpose of his journey.
Last November, President Benton gave a speech about diversity http://www.canyon-news.com/pepperdine-university-president-criticizes-racial-profiling/43506 in which he insulted law enforcement by making the unproven claim that police are pulling over blacks just because they’re black: “I had heard the phrase, ‘Driving while Black,’ and I was stunned and surprised to learn that several members of our students and faculty had been pulled over for nothing more than that: driving while black.” Benton also added, “There’s a biblical imperative to get this complex issue right — race relations on this college campus.”
Maybe so, but Benton doesn’t get the issue right. Not only could he not have known the real motives of the Malibu Police when they pull people over, but studies show that police are NOT pulling over blacks at a rate disproportional to the racial composition of the communities they operate in. https://www.city-journal.org/html/racial-profiling-myth-debunked-12244.html Moreover, the local media reported that the local Sheriff captain was “shocked” when he heard about Benton’s speech, because, as he says, “There have been no documented incidents of racial profiling. There has been not one allegation from a student, faculty or staff.” Once again, Pepperdine hypes up a non-existent racial incident.
In the same speech, Benton mentions the “unfortunate” Black Lives Matter-organized riots that occurred in various American cities last year, but never does he condemn the destruction of property or the killing of police inspired by BLM. It also needs to be said that almost ALL the police accused of improper behavior toward blacks over the last year have been acquitted by inner-city courts, judges, juries and criminal justice systems in which minorities were heavily represented.
The reality is that problems in our inner cities have little to do with the police but everything to do with fatherlessness, drugs, and horrible public schools. Yet Benton’s rhetoric appears to give credibility to this violent anti-police movement and plays right into the radical left narrative about how America’s police are racist bigots so they must be killed, as BLM calls for when they scream “Dead Cops Now!” at its protests.
In the same speech, Benton boasted that “at Seaver College, there is progress. New tenured track hiring in the last five years: 38% were people of color; during the past two years, 12 of 19 – 63% — were people of color; and last year, 71% were people of color. All very intentional.” Benton sounds like he is just randomly hiring minority professors in order to meet racial goals. There is nothing in his remarks about merit or whether any of these new professors hold beliefs consistent with Pepperdine’s founding values.
Pepperdine Removes Federal Legal Protections from Gay Attacks
In January of 2016, it was revealed that Pepperdine made a formal request to the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw its exemption to Title IX, an exemption originally granted in 1976. http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/claude_summers/pepperdine_university_and_the_license_to_discriminate
This was the federal law that bans race and gender discrimination in our public schools and has mainly been used to ensure that K-12 public schools and colleges treat everyone equally when it comes to various school activities such as sports. However, the federal government commonly granted exemptions to private religious institutions if they were able to show the regulations “would conflict with specific tenets of the religion.”
Why President Benton withdrew Pepperdine’s Title IX exemption is a mystery, since this action protected the school from federal overreach, but the likely reason is because a few months earlier Pepperdine had received negative press about how the school was “unfriendly to gays,” publicity that my sources tell me drove Benton into a frenzy. While it’s true the Church of Christ and most denominations within Christendom regard homosexual behavior as sinful, Pepperdine does not, in practice, treat gay students any different than any other students. Pepperdine does have a long-standing regulation that prohibits sex in the dorms, but that applies to all students.
However, pulling its Title IX exemption opened Pepperdine up to lawsuits from gays primarily because at the time Benton did this, the Obama Justice Department was interpreting, illegally, I might add, Title IX’s gender clause to also mean “sexual orientation.” That exposed the school to mischief by the well-funded gay legal community always looking for Christian institutions to attack and create new legal precedents. By this I mean creating bogus lawsuits targeting Pepperdine on grounds that it doesn’t spend an equal amount of funds on gay students; its courses that deal with sexuality don’t give equal time to gay marriage; there’s not enough positive references to homosexuality in religion courses; there is not enough gay teachers or faculty on campus as compared to their proportion in society, blah, blah, blah. This is how the left, which the gay community is part of, uses federal regulations to destroy private institutions.
Of course, meeting such demands would force Pepperdine to abandoned its Christian worldview on sexuality, since after all, the Bible unambiguously condemns homosexual behavior in a half dozen places: http://robgagnon.net/articles/homosexScripReallySays.doc.pdf Moreover, moving in this direction will cause many conservative Christian families to simply send their kids elsewhere. The only reason why Benton would remove Pepperdine’s Title IX exemption is because he must have thought he would garner favorable publicity about Pepperdine’s newfound “diversity.” It was a reckless PR strategy and maintaining its Title IX exemption would have been much safer from a legal standpoint.
Fortunately for Benton, he was saved by Trump’s election. Not too long after Benton received permission to withdraw Pepperdine’s Title IX waiver, Trump’s legal team advised the Supreme Court that it would no longer interpret Title IX, as President Obama did, to mean anything other than what it was written for: gender and racial discrimination. Gender is not the same thing as sexual behavior. Gender is genetic, sexual behavior is not. It was also obvious from the original debate on Title IX that it had nothing to do with sexual behavior.
The Trump position– which is consistent with the constitution — is that if Congress wants to amend Title IX so as to also include sexual orientation, they have the right to do so, but the Feds have no right to unilaterally “make up” new laws as Obama was fond of doing. Interestingly, even when the Democrats had control of Congress under Obama, they did NOT seek legislation to amend Title IX to include sexual orientation. Why? Because they knew such a change would have created massive chaos for private religious schools and therefore would be politically risky. There is little doubt gay legal groups would have launched dozens of lawsuits at such schools for not expending equal amounts of money and resources on gays as compared to heterosexuals, forcing schools to spend a fortune defending themselves and, perhaps, ultimately causing some to close down. This was why Obama changed Title IX unilaterally and had Hillary Clinton won the presidency, she would have maintained Obama’s illegal interpretation of Title IX.
However, as far back as 2008, Pepperdine had already started to violate its long-held opposition to homosexuality by promoting the gay agenda in various subtle ways. When Pepperdine Law Professor Richard Peterson spoke out in favor of Proposition 8 — the 2008 proposition that codified male-female marriage — Benton went on defcon one alert because Peterson was identified in pro-Prop 8 ads as a “Pepperdine Professor.” Benton immediately ordered his legal people to contact the pro-Prop 8 organization, “Protect Marriage,” demanding that “The reference to Pepperdine must disappear.” Pepperdine PR official Jerry Derloshon even boasted to the homosexual newspaper, The Advocate, that such a demand was made. Benton’s alarmism was a bit strange since tax exempt groups such as Pepperdine have the legal right to support state ballot propositions, but it was clear Pepperdine clearly did not want to be even remotely associated with any political effort to codify traditional, male-female marriage, even though it is one of the central tenants of New Testament morality.
Just a few months later in March of 2009, Pepperdine’s Graduate School in Education and Psychology (GSEP) hosted a pro-gay event at the school’s West Los Angeles Campus. The speaker was a leftist professor named Robert Cargill who insulted conservative Christians by butchering what the Bible says about homosexuality and comparing Christians who don’t support homosexuality to those who defended slavery. Really. He also blasted supporters of Prop. 8. https://robertcargill.com/2009/04/04/full-text-of-dr-cargills-remarks-at-the-pepperdine-gsep-panel-discussion-on-racism-and-homophobia/ And he was wildly applauded. But that was nothing compared to what GSEP professors actually teach.
The Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Promotes the Homosexual Agenda
In March of 2016, just two months after Benton withdrew Pep’s Title IX waiver, a gay student club was recognized, first at Seaver College and then at the Law School. But gay student clubs are one thing; professors teaching that homosexuality is perfectly normal is another. More than one source has confirmed to me that numerous GSEP professors routinely teach views on sexuality that are not only contrary to traditional Christian teaching but are not supported by much of the relevant research.
Indeed, the GSEP is the most liberal school within Pepperdine and this was demonstrated a few months ago when the school announced that radical professor Cornel West will be the “Endowed Visiting Professor” at GSEP. Known as the one of the ideological godfathers of the Black Lives Matter movement, West has called them “a marvelous militancy” and says that “white supremacy is American as cherry pie.” At least he fits right in with all the GSEP professors.
GSEP has a “Social Justice Collaborative” program whose mission is “fostering sociopolitical and cultural awareness as well as response to issues of oppression and inequality.” Indeed, in 2015, when leftist students were protesting racial comments made on some anonymous social media site, the GSEP sent out an open letter excitedly claiming Pepperdine is often silent “on issues of race and human diversity.” But Pepperdine had nothing to do with the social media site.
The letter went on to say that GSEP is committed “to the eradication of manifestations of racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism within the university.” The use of the word “heterosexism” gives away the GSEP’s ideology. This term means that if one thinks heterosexuality is the only normal sex, then he is a bigot, so apparently GSEP considers George Pepperdine and all the other conservative Christians who founded Pepperdine to be bigots. Since this letter was signed by the vast majority of GSEP full-time faculty members, one assumes this radical view of sexuality is widespread within the GSEP.
While there are some solid GSEP professors who teach therapeutic approaches to healing addictions, learning disabilities and other societal ills, many GSEP’s psychological courses address family relationships, sexuality and sexual issues from a leftist and non-traditional perspective. Not surprisingly, GSEP is not even associated with the nation’s only professional association of conservative Christian counselors, the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Instead, GSEP’s literature instead promotes membership in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and the American Psychological Association (APA), a group that one psychologist told me is simply “sexual revolutionaries pretending to be psychologists.” CAMFT and APA not only promote the idea that homosexuality and transgenderism are perfectly normal, but have supported legislation that makes it illegal for psychologists to counsel a client to leave the gay lifestyle, even if that’s what is desired. Both organizations hold views on family, marriage, sex and homosexuality that are driven not by research but rather by liberal ideology and are obsessed with undermining traditional mores.
Indeed, a review of many GSEP’s textbooks and faculty writings makes it clear that Pepperdine has hired professors who support behaviors and attitudes completely at odds with the views Pepperdine was founded upon. These secular, atheist views are traced to the 1960’s sexual revolutionaries who sought to destroy the traditional family unit and redefine sexuality. They can be summarized as follows:
- Homosexuality, transgenderism, and other sexuality disorders are perfectly normal expressions of human behavior, no matter how much research to the contrary exists.
- Since such behaviors are normal, they need to be praised and encouraged.
- These abnormal behaviors cannot be changed and are genetic in origin, despite a complete dearth of evidence that any such “gay” gene exists.
- Whatever psychological conditions afflict homosexuals, it is due to stress caused by the refusal of churches and parents to accept homosexuality as normal. Therefore, if something needs to change, it’s the church and parents, not homosexuals.
- The Bible is archaic and its prohibitions on homosexual behavior should be ignored, or better yet, such scriptures should be reinterpreted to mean something they don’t.
- There is no such thing as “ex-homosexuals” and such networks involving thousands of former homosexuals need to be ignored.
- Psychologists, pastors and others who counsel homosexuals to leave the lifestyle need to be ostracized and attacked and legislation banning this activity needs to be supported.
- The considerable research indicating homosexuality is caused by traumatic incidents in one’s youth, such as neglect, rape, and molestation, needs to be ignored.
Let’s look at a few examples. GSEP Professor Barbara Ingram teaches the false notion that homosexuality is genetic and therefore not changeable. In her course textbook, Clinical Case Formulations, which she authored herself, she writes that “sexual orientation” is “hardwired into their makeup” and is an “innate part of a person’s makeup.” https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/podzim2016/PST404/um/Ingram_-_Clinical_case_formulations.pdf But that’s not true since there aren’t any geneticists who have made such a claim and all research projects that attempted to find a gay gene have failed. https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/executive-summary-sexuality-and-gender
The “born gay” myth was propagated by the left for many years as a way to convince vote-hungry politicians to pass laws to grant “rights” to gays, since, after all, if a person is born that way, we must extend various rights to them. However, the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that homosexuality is “fluid” and that people move in and out of the homosexual lifestyle all the time. It is not an “orientation” or an “identity” one is born with, but rather a behavior. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/psychology-researcher-lesbian-blows-the-doors-off-born-gay-theory
Randy Thomasson, the president of California’s leading pro-family organization, Campaign for Children and Families, said this about Ingram’s book, “For Pepperdine University to force students to learn from a book that falsely claims homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual behavior is ‘innate’ amounts to educational malpractice. Has a ‘gay gene’ been found? No. Does ‘LGBT’ behavior top the CDC’s list of dangerous STDs? Yes. Have tens of thousands of Americans left their homosexual or transsexual ‘identity’ behind? Yes.”
But Ingram’s textbook is typical of GSEP’s general philosophy. Like the APA and CAMPF, Prof. Ingram’s textbook opposes counseling homosexuals to leave the lifestyle, claiming that “therapists mistreat LGB clients,” if they try to “change the orientation.” She affirms the APA’s view that “same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality …”
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi Jr. and his late father – both prominent clinical psychologists — have counseled hundreds of homosexuals to leave the lifestyle and when I showed Dr. Nicolosi Jr. Ingram’s textbook, he gave me this statement: “My clients deserve the same rights and freedoms as anyone else: to have a therapist who understand and support them in their journey. It’s why they come to me for therapy….I’ve had clients tell me, ‘I was molested as a child and now, because of this life-changing event, I struggle with unwanted desires that I can’t get rid of.’ What’s true compassion, helping my patients overcome the unwanted desires, or telling them to live out these desires?”
Ingram also advocates using “affirmative therapy” to convince homosexuals their behavior is “normal” and should be encouraged and that the role of therapists is “building a positive identity” so as to “help clients progress though the coming-out process….” Moreover, her textbook exhibits a cavalier attitude toward traditional sexuality as well. She writes, for example, “it makes sense (in terms of preserving the species) that a middle-aged man should have a strong sexual attraction for an attractive woman of child bearing years than for his postmenopausal wife, but this does not provide consolation for the wife and family if the husband acts on this biological-based impulses.” She is essentially giving men an excuse — “biological-based impulses” — to have affairs. Now there’s a pro-family, Christian Pepperdine professor.
Ingram writes that the reason why homosexuals suffer from so many psychological issues is not because it’s an aberrant behavior but due to “discrimination,” “intolerance,” “lack of self esteem,” and “distress over parents’ refusal to accept sexual orientation.” She argues that families need to “go through their own gradual coming out process” in order to accept homosexuality. She asserts that “religion is not always a beneficial force in people’s lives; it can also cause of exacerbate mental health difficulties.” Indeed, the textbook often sounds more like an ideological tract than a science textbook, even stating in one place that “activism for social change, as with the feminist and gay rights movements, is a path for not only changing society but also creating new meaning systems.” There it is again: the left’s obsession with “changing society.”
Dr. Judith Reisman is a research professor and Director of the Child Protection Institute at Liberty University School of Law, and has written and researched about homosexuality for 30 years. When shown Ingram’s GSEP textbook, she was stunned and says Ingram “engages in ‘identify politics,’ and unscientific, politically correct information that is harmful to students and eventually their emotionally vulnerable clients… it is merely foolish indoctrination….she blames parents and society for alleged gender bias and varieties of what was once understood, and on evidence still is, ‘deviant’ sexual conduct.’”
But Ingram’s views are common throughout the GSEP faculty. Indeed, this author was unable to locate any research writings by GSEP professors or any relevant textbooks that reflect any contrary views. For example, adjunct GSEP faculty member Carolyn O’Keefe is so involved in encouraging this dangerous lifestyle that she devotes much of her time off-campus to training others to be “mentors” to homosexuals and transgendered people: “If you want to make a meaningful difference in a LGBTQ student’s life, perhaps Mentoring is for you… Mentors are positive role models who have worked through their own coming out process and have experienced negotiating life as an LGBTQ individual.” https://www.facebook.com/IrvineQ/posts/10200656366034863
O’Keefe seems to be completely oblivious of recent research confirming that transgenderism is, in the words of Dr. Paul McHugh, a “mental disorder.” McHugh is not some right-wing Christian but rather one of the pioneers of sex change surgery at John Hopkins hospital 40 years ago. In an landmark Wall Street Journal article, he wrote that after tracking surgically-altered people for decades, he has concluded that underlying psychological problems cannot be solved by switching genders: https://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120 McHugh also reported that the suicide rate for transgenders is 20 times higher than for normal people, so for Pepperdine professors to be teaching that mutilating ones genitals is a “normal” thing to do is unscientific, irresponsible and immoral.
Indeed, GSEP’s own “Diversity Council” literature claims its goal is to “concentrate on groups that have traditionally been marginalized by society; including minority races and religions, as well as the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community.” In other words, GSEP considers homosexuals and transgenders to be normal categories of people, such as race, rather than manifestations of an unhealthy behavior.
Moreover, there are over 300 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals which collectively demonstrate that homosexuals do not meet the same criteria as do heterosexuals when it come to rates of depression, drug abuse, mental breakdowns, suicide, domestic abuse, alcoholism and other life-style indicators. Such studies detail the serious physical, medical and psychological effects homosexuality has upon the lives of its practitioners. In other words, this behavior does not meet normal criteria. These people need help, not encouragement from liberal GSEP professors.
Much of this work has been brought together in a 600-page encyclopedic volume entitled the Health Hazards of Homosexuality, http://www.healthhazardsofhomosexuality.info/ Again, this research does not emanate from conservative or Christian sources but from the scientific and medical communities. However, none of this research is in use within GSEP classes, since to do so would portray homosexuality in a negative light.
It needs to be pointed out that when the American Psychological Association changed its diagnosis on homosexuality from a disorder to normal behavior, it was because a coalition of leftists and gays threatened violence at its 1973 national convention and intimidated the attendees into making a political decision. The leader was long-time gay activist Frank Kameny. There wasn’t any new science or genetic revelations that prompted this decision. https://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/homosexual-activists-intimidate-american-psychiatric-association-into-removing-homosexuality-from-list-of-disorders/ Even a former APA President has declared the organization to be controlled by the gay rights movement: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/former-president-of-apa-says-organization-controlled-by-gay-rights-movement Nevertheless, many GSEP faculty members are active in the APA to this day.
The big secret within the psychological profession is that evidence in support of the homosexuality-is-normal thesis is based on a few sloppy studies which are in turn based upon the discredited work of a crackpot psychologist from the 1950’s named Evelyn Hooker: http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC4771012/ and here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5527394ae4b0ab26ec1c196b/t/557b0f80e4b08777d54df70c/1434128256329/What-research-shows-homosexuality.NARTH_.pdf
One of GSEP’s administrators who appears to be responsible for its blatant pro-homosexual bias is Assistant Dean Robert DeMayo. For the school to be totally devoid of any research or instruction that counters the standard liberal party line on sexuality issues typically means that leaders at the top are pushing this agenda. DeMayo has made his views on this issue very clear in a number of forums, even publicly attacking Pepperdine a few years ago when it denied recognition to a gay activist group at the undergraduate level:
“For us, as respectful as we are toward the university mission and toward things such as Biblical views around sexuality and marriage, as a psychologist there’s quite a lot of research that sexual orientation is about identity much more than about sexual behavior, and so to deny students, based upon their identity, to have an officially sanctioned group at Pepperdine is deeply disturbing to many of us.”
This statement makes it clear DeMayo disagrees with Pepperdine’s mission but why then is he an Assistant Dean? Indeed, GSEP’s Doctoral Committee is usually chaired by DeMayo and it routinely approves dissertations that promote the homosexual agenda, such as this one by doctoral candidate Michael Burnias: Qualitative Study of Familiar Factors that Contribute to a Positive Coming Out Process. https://search.proquest.com/openview/b66f9b696b31f3c951e164a7cf463469/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y It is a silly non-rigorous dissertation that details the best way for homosexuals to “come out” to their parents.
Yes, it appears that all some students have to do to fulfill GSEP’s doctoral dissertation requirement is to write a favorable paper about homosexuality and shazam! you’re a doctor! And there are many other dissertations like this signed off by DeMayo and his committee of liberal ideologues. As a result, Pepperdine is graduating psychologists who are strong opponents of Pepperdine’s worldview on sexuality issues and will instead encourage people to engage in this dangerous lifestyle. Instead of being a force for healing such behavior, Pepperdine graduates will add to the sexual chaos that has been undermining America’s Christian culture since the 1960’s.
Based on my review of GSEP textbooks and statements made by some of its professors, it is clear the GSEP is undermining the Christian worldview on family and sexuality and is driven by highly dubious politicized theories propagated by the anti-Christian, pro-homosexual APA/CAMPF establishment. But to this day, the GSEP continues to falsely claim in its promotional literature that they are “drawing from a values-based heritage.” Right.
One can be certain that the GSEP professors will never teach that homosexual behavior is changeable nor will they acknowledge the fact that thousands of people have left this lifestyle because to do so would undermine the “born gay” theory and thus jeopardize the gay political agenda. Nor will the GSEP ever host an ex-homosexual to speak on campus or a psychologist who has successfully changed homosexuals. Nor will the school ever invite researchers to present their findings if their work is not favorable to homosexuality. Nor will the GSEP ever address the large body of work demonstrating the health hazards of the homosexual lifestyle.
When it comes to sexuality issues, scientific inquiry no longer exists within the GSEP. In this regard, the school mimics the Dark Ages. Its agenda is to graduate psychologists who will promote theories advantageous to the left’s view of sexuality. Indeed, as Dr. Reisman noted about Ingram’s textbook “it praises knowledge but restricts access to information or resources that offer impolitic data….” GSEP’s position on homosexuality is not only morally wrong and scientifically suspect, but the school is in complete opposition to Pepperdine’s founding principles.
Shame on Pepperdine. The founding GSEP dean, the late Oly Tegner, was a conservative Christian man but were he alive today, he would completely disassociate from the GSEP. The president of the Campaign for Children and Families, Randy Thomasson, flat out states that “as long as Pepperdine continues to teach students to ‘accept’ sexual conduct that the Word of God unequivocally calls sin, Pepperdine’s claim to embrace Christian values — or even accurately teach human physiology — is a sham.”
Last year, Pepperdine created a “support group” for “LGBT” students, which is organized by the campus Counseling Center. Based on Pepperdine’s evolution on this issue, one now has to question what kind of counseling students are receiving. Are they being told the truth about homosexuality? Are they told that there is a way out as many have done so? Or are they being counseled what the GSEP professors teach?: You cannot change, don’t even try to change, and you should celebrate such behavior.
Ironically, Pepperdine does have an entity that promotes the opposite of what GSEP teaches: The Boone Center for the Family. Named after Pat Boone, the Center counsels families and church leaders about marriage and relationships and its work is based upon the Christian view of family and sexuality, completely opposite of what GSEP’s courses teach. Unfortunately, the GSEP is shaping the attitudes of large numbers of students while the Boone Center doesn’t influence any Pepperdine students. Its programs are designed for adults from the larger Los Angeles community.
Is Pepperdine Law School Surviving the Barbarian Invasion?
The Pepperdine School of Law was founded in 1969 and it has always been considered fairly conservative, but that may also be changing. It achieved some prominence when it hired former U.S. Solicitor General Ken Starr to be its dean in 2004. In 1994 he was appointed to be the Independent Counsel responsible for investigating President Bill Clinton for Whitewater, the Vince Foster suicide, and the perjury he committed regarding his affair with Monica Lewinsky. His efforts led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Starr oversaw a concentrated effort to turn Pepperdine’s School of law into one of the country’s leading defenders of the constitution and the originalist school of interpreting law. Starr left the law school in 2010 and was replaced by Deanell Reece Tacha. But the school appears to be trending leftward.
To give one an idea of how far left some of Pep’s law professors are, one of the leading groups on campus is the American Constitution Society (ACS). Part of a national network, this group attacks the whole idea of interpreting the constitution as written, despite our founding fathers insistence on doing so. Indeed, the ASC “debunks the purportedly neutral theories of originalism and strict construction.” The club also believes the criminal justice system is “permeated” by “racial inequality” even though minorities are heavily represented in urban courts, police departments, and criminal justice systems.
In 2005, the national ACS co-hosted a conference in which they laid out a blueprint for how the Constitution should be rewritten, including having the federal government guarantee every American “a useful and remunerative job,” “a decent home,” “a good education,” “adequate medical care,” “the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health,” and “adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.” Needless to say, ACS advocates a socialist government, which of course would be supported by massive taxes that would devastate our economy. The ACS has also attacked American law as antiquated and called upon judges to make our laws subservient to United Nations Treaties. http://www.discoverthenetworks.com/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6707 Such radical views are reinforced by the far left professors at Pepperdine’s School of Law.
The ACS faculty advisor is Professor Doug Kmiec, the “conservative” scholar who created a firestorm in 2008 when he appeared prominently in the media advocating Christian support for presidential candidate Barack Obama because, he claimed, Obama was acceptable to social conservatives and pro-lifers and was an advocate of religious liberty. Kmiec also claimed the middle class would greatly benefit from his economic prescriptions.
Of course, none of his assertions proved to be true. Shockingly, pollsters noted that Obama’s endorsements from a number of prominent alleged conservatives such as Kmiec, coupled with his numerous Obama campaign ad appearances, helped persuade hundreds of thousands of undecided Christians to cast their votes for the phony “hope and change” candidate, ignoring his long history of advocating socialism and attacking America’s Christian culture. Indeed, Kmiec even toured with Obama as part of his “Faith, Family and Values Tour,” a series of campaign stops specifically designed to dupe Christians into voting for him. http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/146287936.html
During the same time period, however, Planned Parenthood was proudly promoting Obama as the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever. Indeed, Obama even supported the gruesome killing of babies after being extracted alive during late time abortions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kIfFTP595Q&feature=related
Nor did Obama pursue any economic policies that created jobs – GDP growth rate stayed between 1% and 3% his entire term, the worst GDP record in modern history, which, of course, devastated the middle class.
As for religious freedom, within days after the election, Obama began pursuing dozens of policies that undermined the First Amendment and attacked religious freedom in ways never before seen. https://wallbuilders.com/americas-biblically-hostile-u-s-president/
It was a shameful act by Kmiec, who was rewarded by President Obama with an Ambassadorship to Malta. America’s conservatives are still waiting for him to apologize for his dogged labors to help elect the most destructive American President in U.S. history.
But one should not be shocked by Kmiec’s actions; Pepperdine gives shelter to many such professors. Indeed, Kmiec is considered a hero in many Pepperdine circles. Pepperdine Magazine did a glowing story in its spring, 2009 issue about Kmiec, practically portraying him as martyr for campaigning for Obama. https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/magazine/2009/03/politics-faith
Not surprisingly, the same issue featured a five-page celebratory story about the election of Barack Obama, titled “The Pepperdine Community Unites to Celebrate the Inauguration of the Nation’s First African American President….Sharing the Moment.” https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/magazine/2009/03/sharing-moment
Needless to say, no such story appeared in Pepperdine Magazine when Donald Trump won the presidency.
However, the Pepperdine Law School’s newsletter, The Surf Report, devoted an entire issue to covering the law school’s “Post Election Forum,” which mourned Trump’s election. https://lawcomm.pepperdine.edu/schultz-goodno-sturgeon-tacha-student-led-post-election-forum/ The forum featured an array of leftist law students making ridiculous statements, but what was shocking were the remarks of law school administrators. The Dean of Students, Steve Schultz, described Trump’s election as a “dark time” and whined about “How is time going to heal for me?” He then stated he plans “to try to comfort individuals one at a time. We have to comfort each other. . .to those who are hurting at different levels, you are not alone…”
The Dean of Graduate Programs, Al Sturgeon, spoke in similar terms, “I see real fear in this room” and claimed that “Muslim international students” were getting their bags packed. He actually spoke of a time in America when black people were lynched, implying that that time has come again. Then the current Dean of the Law school, Dean Deanell Reece Tacha gave a rousing speech: “There are voices out there that I didn’t hear. There are hurt people I didn’t understand. Many of you are among them. I’m hurt—that glass ceiling has been up there for a long time and I’m getting old so it’ll have to shatter fast.” Not sure what profound thoughts Tacho, supposedly a conservative Dean, was trying to convey, but Tyler Brown of the law school’s LGBT club came to the rescue and passed out safety pins to everyone, announcing that “wearing one was a way to highlight oneself as an ally for, or stand in solidarity with, minority groups.” Maybe the safety pins were really for the diapers.
So for eight years while Obama pursued unprecedented reckless and unconstitutional actions such as using his IRS to silence over 500 conservative political groups and abusing his intelligence agencies to spy on opponents, the Pepperdine School of Law neglected to host any similar forum to discuss these attacks on the constitution. http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/19/10-ways-obama-violated-constitution-presidency/ But now, after the election of Trump, the law school comes alive, hysterically proclaiming the end of the world is nigh. These are our future lawyers. Thanks Pepperdine.
The former president of the conservative Federalist Society at the law school, Kevin Reddington, stated that “probably a slight majority of the faculty skews right, but even among the conservatives, not all of them would identify as ‘originalists’ per se. Pepperdine, along with many traditionally conservative religious schools, has largely adopted a policy of appeasement in the name of self-preservation,” referring to the fact that Pepperdine is “in the epicenter of California’s cult of progressivism.”
Another law student told me that while there are some “outstanding conservative professors,” the “law school is trending more liberal since the current Dean is hiring liberals.” The current Dean is Paul Caron, who seems to be obsessed with the ideological balance at the law school to the point of even writing an article boasting how the Pep law school has the most ideologically balanced faculty in the country: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/04/byu-and-pepperdine-are-the-most-ideologically-balanced-faculties-among-the-top-50-law-schools-2013.html But the colleges being compared to Pepperdine aren’t similar conservative Christian colleges with law schools attached – such as Regent and Liberty University – but rather long-time liberal private and public universities. Certainly, for a school like Pepperdine, one would expect a heavier conservative presence; after all, Regents and Liberty law schools have, proportionally, far more conservative law professors.
But the question needs to be asked. Why is a law school overseen by a supposedly conservative Christian university so obsessed with balance? That was certainly not part of George Pepperdine’s mission. His vision was to found a conservative university that would counter the liberal culture and that vision extends to the law school. As of now, maybe half of Pepperdine’s law professors believe in the rule of law and interpreting the laws as written. The other professors vary between liberal to socialist, but have in common a distaste for the established order and advocate using the law to achieve liberal activist purposes. So there’s a 50/50 chance a School of Law student will graduate as a conservative. For the kind of money spent on law school, conservative families should consider sending their sons or daughters elsewhere.
Nor does the current Dean, Paul Caron, seem to be committed to making Pepperdine’s School a law one of the nation’s preeminent conservative law schools. The first problem is that Caron isn’t a conservative. He is supposedly one of the leading tax scholars in the country but he’s also a big government advocate. His blog refers readers to many articles critical of the Trump tax cut, a view not held by any fiscal conservative or taxpayer groups. http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2018/02/tax-policy-in-the-trump-administration-1.html Many of the stories are linked to liberal newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post and to the “Tax Policy Center,” exposed as a leftist big government group by even by the Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/tax-policy-center-propaganda-1506889612
In a paper Caron authored, California Dreamin’: Tax Scholarship In a Time of Fiscal Crisis, he wrote that “California has reduced that peril [budget imbalances] by raising (already high) personal tax rates on the wealthy,” and claimed that the “success of that approach suggests that at the national level, Americans might be willing to support higher rates…” https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2518607
What? California already has the highest tax burden in the nation, its most productive citizens are fleeing the state, and the state uses gimmicks to hide its constant deficits. But Caron calls California’s reckless fiscal policies a “success” and then calls for higher federal taxes?
In another paper, he claims that “raising rates on the wealthy would both increase r (revenue) to better match s (spending)…” https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2535595
But the top 1% of earners already pay nearly half of all taxes and any additional taxes would simply send more money offshore or into tax shelters https://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/13/top-1-pay-nearly-half-of-federal-income-taxes.html
Caron seems to be oblivious that tax hikes actually make things worse since, after a certain point, they depress economic activity and thus lesson revenues to the government.
Indeed, Caron will not even support spending cuts to deal with state and federal deficits, despite the billions of dollars government wastes on useless programs: “Our purpose here is to focus on the revenue side, as we believe for both normative and political reasons that keeping the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio at sustainable levels cannot and should not be achieved from the spending side of the ledger.” http://studyres.com/doc/16442766/california-dreamin—-tax-scholarship-in-a-time-of-fiscal…
America was economically crippled due to having the highest corporate tax rates in the world but Caron could not being himself around to saying anything favorable about the Trump tax cut, despite a roaring economy. When Caron’s writings were shown to Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – California’s leading taxpayer group – he said that Caron “fits the mold of a big government advocate.” Grover Norquist, president of American for Tax Reform, and perhaps America’s foremost fiscal conservative leader, says that Caron’s writings indicated that he “is indeed very liberal” and that they exemplify “the typical progressive view of the death tax. He views it as a way to eliminate inequality while ignoring any negative effects it has on saving, investment and the economy.”
Indeed, Caron has taught inside the ivory tower his entire life. It shows. He’s clueless about the proper role of government and the impact excess taxes has upon Americans. And yet he has been chosen to lead the law school. Expect the school’s leftward drift to continue.
Can Pepperdine’s Board of Regents and President Save the School?
In the minds of many parents who send their sons and daughters to Pepperdine, they are willing to pay one of the steepest college tuition rates in the country because they believe the school is conservative — culturally, theologically, and even politically. They want to shelter their child from the insane and profane culture we live in and desire an academic atmosphere where their child will be prepared for life’s challenges while at the same time not having to worry that their child’s core beliefs will be challenged by diversity zealots, “social justice” warriors and anti-Christian and anti-American ideologues.
Most supporters of Pepperdine have no idea that Seaver College is no longer a conservative campus, either politically or theologically, but this disconnect can’t be kept secret much longer. The board needs to act to bring the college in line with its founding principles, its reputation, and its promotional literature. If not, it will be only a matter of time before Pepperdine’s liberal climate becomes common knowledge among those who continue to be its #1 target audience: patriotic, Christian families whose politics lean to the right.
But all is not lost. Given the resources and large donors the school has access to, Pepperdine could easily put itself on the map as one of America’s most prestigious conservative Christian universities. However, to do so, it will require hard-nosed leadership by the Board of Regents and by top administrators.
It should be pointed that Pepperdine is not alone in its drift away from founding principles. It is a common problem today. For example, the college founded by famed pastor and author Tim LaHaye, the San Diego Christian College, has been using a series of liberal textbooks the last few years that promote liberal ideas completely contrary to everything LaHaye stood for and the school’s founding mission. The chain of Concordia Universities established all over the country by the Lutheran Church’s very conservative Missouri Synod have also all become quite liberal. Many colleges founded by the Nazarene Church are likewise struggling with a leftward drift.
Indeed, a recently published book, The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from their Christian Churches, by James Tunstead Burtchaell, documents how widespread this problem is and how this trend is working against creating the type of leaders our founding fathers would have desired.
Nonetheless, Pepperdine can buck this trend if it so desires — as it has done in the past under President Davenport. Liberal professors and textbooks dominated by liberal pathologies are easy to find. What takes time and effort is locating and hiring solid conservative professors capable of conveying the great ideas of Western civilization and the role America plays in being the end product of the West’s best traditions. And yes, there are quite a few conservative Christian professors in the country, but Pepperdine has to make an effort to find them. After all, other great conservative Christian colleges such as Hillsdale and Liberty University have had no problem filing their faculty with solid conservative professors.
Pepperdine first needs to ditch the notion of “balance,” which seems to animate Provost Rick Marr as he feverishly hires liberal professors. “Balance” was not part of George Pepperdine’s vision. Pep’s founders knew that students today are already satuated by liberal propaganda in the media, in film, on television, in the arts, in music, and in our culture in general. Everywhere one turns, we are inundated with the liberal worldview. The role of Pepperdine is to counter the culture’s liberal dominance, so there’s no reason to be “balanced.” Pepperdine’s goal should be to offer a conservative alternative to the prevailing culture. And as mentioned elsewhere, it is conservative professors who are more likely to teach diverse views, as liberals are notorious for censoring views that challenge the liberal narrative. Pepperdine should offer a choice, not an echo.
The Board of Regents needs to convene an emergency meeting and discuss how to return Pepperdine to its original vision. They need to insist that the Provost hire conservative Christian professors and have some ability to oversee this process. Perhaps a Board of Regents committee should sign off on all new hirings. The board should also ask the School of Public Policy to assist in finding such professors. The goal should simply be to hire the best conservative Christian professors possible, regardless of race or gender.
Once conservative professors begin to slowly replace liberal professors, the sloppy textbooks dominated by loony class warfare themes and “diversity” gibberish will disappear. I’m also sure the Heritage Foundation would be willing to assist the search for strong conservative faculty members. Incidentally, Heritage maintains a list of conservative scholars from all over the country and only one Seaver College faculty member made that list: Gary Galles from the Economics Department. By comparison, four professors from Grove City College and 12 from Hillsdale College made the list. A similar list of conservative scholars maintained by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute lists only one Pepperdine professor, SPP professor Ted McAllister.
The board needs to put an end to the silly “diversity” crusade that is clearly hostile to the purposes of a classical education rooted in both the Western tradition and the concept of academic freedom. Dump the “diversity” councils, committees, deans, and so forth. And when the funding runs out on the various liberal activist programs, like the “Social Action and Justice Colloquium,” and the “Sustainability Institute,” they should discard those programs as well. One can design credible, scholarly programs focused on justice reform and the environment without them becoming mouthpieces for liberal activists and operating on the notion that capitalism is inherently evil.
The board needs to sever Pepperdine’s relationship with the SEED program. Good professors don’t need some liberal activist group obsessed with “white privilege” to tell them how to think and what to teach.
As for GSEP, this graduate school is so far removed from Pepperdine’s founding Christian principles that the board should consider selling it and using the funds saved to restore the rest of Pepperdine to its original mission. Let’s not forget that Pepperdine bought its Law school in 1969 from the Orange University College of Law in 1969, so such a transaction is not that unusual.
The Pepperdine Law School has the potential for greatness, but it needs new leadership who understand that what makes a school great is not “balance” but having professors who understand the constitution is the greatest legal document ever written and worth defending. Exposing law students half the time to conservative professors who revered the rule of law, property rights, inherited rights and respect for the constitution, and then subjecting them the rest of the time to liberal professors who teach how to use the law to tear down America’s cherished institutions is not an ideal system. It creates confused students without a purpose. If Pepperdine wants to establish itself as an alternative to the elite liberal law schools and become America’s leading conservative Christian law school, then its needs to be led by people who understand that mission.
Pepperdine may not be aware of this but its leftward drift has been the subject of conversation in conservative Christian circles for years. If changes are not made, the time will come a time when the conservative Christian community will cease supporting Pepperdine and for many, this is already happened. As one Pepperdine development confided in me, “I lost some big donors after Pepperdine tore down the Columbus statue.” If the existing Board of Regents refuses to act, it is likely they will preside over the further decline of Pepperdine as a result of its abandonment of its founding principles.
America badly needs conservative Christian leaders in all segments of our society: academia, the corporate world, and in politics. Clearly, America’s public colleges are not creating such leaders. If Pepperdine and like minded institutions are not able to create a generation of conservative leaders, then America’s days as a world power, a constitutional republic, and as a virtuous and prosperous society are numbered.
Pepperdine is routinely listed by various groups as one of the top Christian universities in the nation. Given its reputation and its strong donor base, the school is perfectly suited to become the intellectual alternative to the vast majority of elite institutions.
Indeed, the Ivy League schools have a great academic reputation but they are not creating well-rounded Americans. Instead, their liberal bias is creating a generation of leaders who are often hostile to the traditional institutions that made America great. There is no reason why Pepperdine can’t become the alternative to these schools. It could become the only top 50 university in the nation to defend Western civilization; the only elite school to embrace the virtues of free markets, the importance of limited government, and the gift of our inherited liberties. It could become the conservative version of Harvard, but instead it would treasure and promote America’s constitutional and Christian heritage.
Or Pepperdine could become a mirror image of the state schools where anti-Americanism, collectivism and atheism are king.
Decisions need to be made. It’s time to act.
Steve Baldwin Steve Baldwin is a former California State Assemblyman and the former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy and Young Americans for Freedom. He has been published in numerous publications and is the author of From Crayons to Condoms, The Ugly Truth about America’s Public Schools.