This was first published late fall 2013 on Facebook. Expect to see more on this issue in the future.
I try to keep up central Ohio politics and especially with the “Christian” Right. I normally isolate my comments on this to just personal conversations, but I feel like I have to write a short article about this because this is right in my backyard and at a university that I have many friends at. Earlier this year, Ohio Christian University’s Business & Government Department launched a new talk show called Faith and Liberty. The host is the current chair of Government and Business Department Dave Garrison, a former republican candidate for congress from Texas. As one might expect, the show has a conservative orientation. Their very own website invites people to bring back “conservative principles to our federal government. We must once again restore America’s prosperity and the American Dream.” But by conservative, Garrison means the delusions of the far-right crack-pots.
Though the show has only been aired weekly since the beginning of the year, it has somehow managed to round up quite a lengthy list of guests who are far-right pundits. Some guests are perfectly legitimate since their opinion actually carries some weight and they have considerable experience working in politics. For example, Newt Gringrich was a former presidential candidate and Grover Norquist has considerable sway within fiscally conservative and anti-tax circles. However, that vast majority can be labelled as representatives of the far-right in the United States and OCU should be utterly ashamed to allow their university be used as a platform to spread their rhetoric. Who are these guests? Lets list off a few:
1) Robert Spencer
Spencer’s life mission is to promote hatred of Muslims. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League regards his organization Stop the Islamization of America as a hate group because he is one of the men behind the conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the US from within. Furthermore, his writings helped inspire right-wing mass shooter Anders Behring Breivik.
2) Christopher C. Horner
Of this list, Horner, a senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is probably the least important person. However, his message of global warming denialism is something that OCU as a school should steer clear of. It’s based on pseudoscience and has no place within a Christian institution.
3) Dr. Jason Lisle
Lisle is the director of research at the Institute for Creation Research and is an associate at Answers in Genesis. Both of these organizations promote young earth creationism as an essential tenant of the Christian faith. These organizations have consistently presented falsehood after falsehood in favor of “creation science” and AiG Creation Museum and their upcoming Ark Experience theme park is a disgrace.
4) David Barton
Barton is a self-proclaimed historian who promotes Christian nationalism and revisionist interpretations of US history. He presents himself as an expert on US history, but he only has a B.A. in Religious Education from Oral Roberts University. He is infamous of pulling quotes from thin air to make a case for Christian nationalist readings of the Founding Fathers. In fact, his book The Jefferson Lies was so bad the publisher withdrew the book.
5) Jay Richards
Mr. Richards is a proponent of Intelligent Design and free-market capitalism as a universal cure-for-all. He uses the curious case of Haiti as an example of a country brought down by over-regulation. I guess that whole slavery and colonialism thing had nothing to do with it. He has worked as a fellow at right-wing think tanks such as the Acton Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The American Enterprise Institute, and the Discovery Institute (the organization behind the Wedge Document). Within my own denomination, Richards caused a controversy by being a keynote speaker at St. Vladimir’s Seminary for a conference on poverty.
6) Joel C. Rosenberg
Rosenberg is a well-known right-wing author. Rush Limbaugh loves his books! Typically, they are about biblical “prophesies” that justify hawkish policies in the Middle East by the US government and he calls for strikes on Iran.
So since when has Ohio Christian University been a hub for climate change denialism, creation “science”, islamophobia, and Christian nationalism? Not only does this lower the institution’s academic credibility, it replaces the gospel with right-wing fanaticism. All I can really say is that I am VERY disappointed in OCU right now.