I'm glancing down the page, pissed off because there's not even one article available to read online, when I discover that one of the young exposeusses is the aforementioned Ms Nye, the author of Fish Out of Water: Surviving and Thriving as a Christian on a Secular Campus. And that campus is Butler University, a mere six miles from where I currently sit and try to type with one hand while preventing a kitten from climbing on the keyboard with the other.
Now, this is interesting. I have a few contacts at Butler. Two members of my family call it their alma mater and they both seem rather simon pure, although one of them did smoke cigarettes in her younger days. I briefly considered calling around to get the lowdown on Ms Nye, but I realized a) this would involve something like work; b) that would set a bad precedent; and c) I'd probably have to read her book. So here's a collection of half-assed Google searches and educated guesses filtered through my secular worldview. I hope you like 'em.
Butler is a private school. The enrollment is around 3800. It's a lovely, landscaped campus of Collegiate Gothic limestone buildings, a botanical garden, and the glorious Hinkle Fieldhouse. The "secular" demonifier could be disputed, technically: the school was founded by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which has no central governing council, so it's debatable whether you're ever actually out of the fold. The Disciples are a fairly liberal, mainstream bunch who reject denominationalism, including the idea that their own denomination is superior. Butler's divinity school became the independent Christian Theological Seminary in the late 1950s. It's right next door. For the sake of argument we'll grant Ms Nye her contention that she is forced to travel in a heathen country, though we reserve the right to ask why she's not in a bible college or at least at an institution with a tradition of theological constipation more in tune with her own.
Seeing that this blog is legally constrained from deficit spending, I have not purchased a copy of Ms Nye book. Thanks to Amazon I was able to read the Introduction, but whether the author bothers to document charges like this:
[Freshman] English class...required reading included not Shakespeare or Milton, but essays on why America deserved the terrorist attacks of 9/11, why we should listen to the kid killers at Columbine, and why "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.
is unknown. My own idea, that perhaps like many a Freshman before her Ms Nye had simply turned up in the wrong class, will have to go unresearched for now.
And here's the deal...she's now a senior. This would have taken place in late summer 2002. She may have been offended by the reading assignment, but it's difficult to imagine she was forced to battle the outrage all alone. As we shall see in a moment, Ms Nye is not exactly a lone voice in the dark and scary wilderness of Butler Secular University, Home of the Fighting (But Tolerant) Bulldogs.
Then there's this:
The first shocker I received when I arrived on campus was Freshman Orientation...the correct term would be Freshman Indoctrination. Many schools basically hold students hostage for three or four days and attempt to reprogram their brains on matters of moral relativism, tolerance, gay/lesbian/transgendered/whatever rights, postmodernism, New Age spirituality, and savvy substance abuse. [emphasis mine]
Wow. It's still the introduction and already we've abandoned our personal narrative in favor of tales of virtual slavery at "many" schools. Something tells me if I run into this thing at Borders I'm not gonna find it's extensively footnoted.
And this is Central Indiana we're talking about, not the Peoples' Republic of Santa Cruz. The claim of some superpatriot political science instructor at IUPUI that he was being denied tenure due to a leftist/lesbian cabal was front page news in the Star (and the subject of a follow-up column in the front of the Metro section).
So why haven't I heard about any of this? Why do I have to go to WorldNetDaily to learn of Ms Nye's existence?
In fact, I have to ask why I haven't heard it a thousand times. Because it turns out that Abby is an active member of Campus Crusade for Christ. And Campus Crusade for Christ is...ready?...the largest student organization at Butler.
I guess "How to Survive Being in the Majority" just didn't have much zing.
The book promises to help Poor Persecuted Christian students deflect criticism that they are "intolerant" or "judgemental". Why modern Christians are so touchy about what other people call them I'm not sure, but as to why some might wish to call them that, we can examine the Butler student newspaper in April 2003, when Ms Nye was a freshman. An (avowed Christian) columnist for the paper wrote an article criticizing Campus Crusade for Christ for, among other things, being funded by right wing extremists like the Coors family and Bunker Hunt; sexism; anti-Catholic attitudes; and rabid homophobia. The young Ms Nye displayed her nascent Christian self-defense techniques in a letter to the editor the following week:
From the points brought up in this column, including multiculturalism, homosexuality, tolerance and a woman’s role in the home, it is obvious that Mr. DeGraff’s opinions on these topics run counter to the orthodox tenants of Christianity...
I haven't been able to find any response to her book from anyone at Butler. That's probably wise. She's absent from the school paper since that freshman outburst. I'm giving some consideration to writing to Ruth Holladay, the Star's former religion writer and current opinion columnist (and a woman who used to use "unchurched" as a collective noun in every third column) about the rampant secular leftism at Butler. Maybe a little spotlight in her home town is just what Abby Nye needs.