In this age of intellectual conformism – which means conformity on behalf of left-leaning ideas – the mainline Christian churches are right on schedule. The equity doctrine with its various permutations has become a defining characteristic for both the qualifications and curricula in the majority of mainline seminaries and church colleges.
When I attended a Lutheran church college and seminary in the 1970’s, the signs of this were already well represented. Among many faculty and students, it was believed that those Christian traditions that were of a more conservative character were not to be taken with any real seriousness, they were to be shunned and were often ridiculed. Once you had been identified as on the right, you were beyond any need to be taken seriously.
The origins of these ideas are complex and it has taken many decades for them to insinuate themselves into the body politic of both church and state. The results, however, are readily apparent; resentment and repudiation aimed at all things traditional – institutions, religion, morality, marriage and family, arts and culture. The new orthodoxy delights in sloughing off the old for the sake of the new, the novel and for what? No one knows. Vague exhortations to equity and justice that are supposed to bring a future no one can describe.
At least for now, the leftist juggernaut rolls on, sweeping away everything that opposes it. For that, too, is a mark of leftist thought – intolerance of dissent on an unprecedented scale. And there is no dissent more loathed than the dissent in defense of tradition. The mainline Lutheran colleges and seminaries tip their hats, rather uneasily, to their traditions, but the new non-discrimination orthodoxy which prohibits distinctions between sexes, races, genders and orientations, religions and lifestyles is establishing a new culture of inquisition on these campuses. And they are increasingly determined to stamp out the heresies that oppose them.