It takes guts to stand against a campus-wide backlash
In the great courtroom drama 12 Angry Men, Joseph Sweeney’s elderly Juror #9 remarks, correctly: “It’s not easy to stand alone against the ridicule of others.” That goes double for the ridicule one can experience on most college campuses these days, which very often takes the form of vicious mobs and howling, rage-filled partisans.
One student is getting a firsthand experience in her school’s brutal, uncompromising strain of progressive politics. Isabella Chow, a student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, recently abstained from voting on a bill because, as she argued, voting for the measure would have violated her religious beliefs on sexuality and marriage. For that she has been utterly pilloried: She has been called an imbecile, sanctimonious, horrible, hateful, prejudiced, judgmental, you name it; She is facing calls to resign from countless students and organizations; she has been slammed in the campus newspaper, by her fellow senators, by student groups, by online commenters; she was even dumped by her own political party—all this for expressing a conviction about marriage and sexuality that is perfectly common and absolutely defensible.
It’s easier to fold. Plenty of Christians have done it, from the Apostolic Age onward. Going along with the mob, and getting a reprieve from the onslaught of hate and anger, is a quick fix. It is also an empty and awful one, something Chow seems to recognize. Your beliefs don’t, or shouldn’t, change just because someone screams at you about them. It is refreshing and encouraging to see a student take so bold and uncompromising a position about something so precious as faith.
It’s unlikely that Chow will change anyone’s mind at Berkeley; it’s one of the most progressive institutions in the country, and it’s readily apparent that few people there are willing to argue about this sort of thing in good faith. But Chow is nevertheless an inspiration—to dissidents at Berkeley and elsewhere. It’s possible to stand firm and profess what you believe in; you don’t have to be intimidated into silence or capitulation. That was true two thousand years ago and it’s true today.
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