November 29, 2004

FACULTY CLUBS AND CHURCH PEWS: Harvard law professor Bill Stuntz tries to bridge the gap:

The past few months have seen a lot of talk about red and blue America, mostly by people on one side of the partisan divide who find the other side a mystery.

It isn’t a mystery to me, because I live on both sides. For the past twenty years, I’ve belonged to evangelical Protestant churches, the kind where George W. Bush rolled up huge majorities. And for the past eighteen years, I’ve worked in secular universities where one can hardly believe that Bush voters exist. Evangelical churches are red America at its reddest. And universities, especially the ones in New England (where I work now), are as blue as the bluest sky.

Not surprisingly, each of these institutions is enemy territory to the other. But the enmity is needless. It may be a sign that I’m terminally weird, but I love them both, passionately. And I think that if my church friends and my university friends got to know each other, they’d find a lot to like and admire. More to the point, the representatives of each side would learn something important and useful from the other side.

Yeah. I’m not terribly religious myself, but I grew up as a preacher’s kid and I don’t find religious people, or symbolism, as threatening as many university folks do. On the other hand, as someone who has spent most of his life around universities, I don’t think they’re the centers of evil that many non-university people do, either. Read the whole thing, as Stuntz makes these points much better than I do.