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A college challenges critical race/gender theory and ‘wokeness’

Fifty years ago The Wall Street Journal dubbed College of the Ozarks, a private, Christian, liberal arts school in Southwest Missouri, “Hard Work University” because of the school’s emphasis on “character” education.

Due to a student work program, it charges no tuition for full-time students. The school is still known by that name and last week enhanced its place against other schools by taking on President Biden and the woke culture pervading our society.

Last January Biden signed an executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” Violators of the administration’s new rules on the “reinterpretation of sex” face fines of up to six figures.

The blowback from conservatives was immediate.

In defense of their Christian beliefs, College of the Ozarks filed a lawsuit challenging the directive, stating that opening up female dorms to biological males and vice versa forces religious schools to violate their beliefs. The school holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable. Its dormitory policies prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.

“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls’ dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’?” said Julie Marie Blake, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom which is representing the college.

“Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces - including showers and dorm rooms - with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex,” she added. “Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.”

British political commentator Andrew Sullivan, a former editor of The New Republic, last year opined on how “wokeness” - a term cloaked by concerns on social justice and racial justice - is winning across the country. He said that critical race/gender theory - or CRT - has become the core, underlying philosophy of the majority of cultural institutions, universities, media, corporations, liberal churches, philanthropies and mainstream journalism.

Some schools and colleges are even dumping SATs so they can engineer racial equity, and abolish the idea of merit. The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, backed the idea that working hard, showing up on time and perfecting a task are functions of “whiteness.”

As another example, Sullivan explained that the Black Lives Matter movement is rooted in critical race theory and that its activists do not support just reforming the police, they want them abolished entirely. The BLM movement, Sullivan says, demonizes all cops and justifies violence and exonerates crime as legitimate resistance to the far greater crime of white oppression.

Sullivan says that critical race theory requires nothing more than tribal instinct to thrive. By offering a hope that you are on “the right side of history,” Sullivan says “woke” culture fulfills a spiritual void for a person, without involving God. One can stop the isolation and emptiness of living in a lonely age by simply turning to woke ideologies, as with the godless communist dogma.

Thankfully, there are some schools - like College of the Ozarks - standing up for their own beliefs. Its president, Dr. Jerry C. Davis, believes religious freedom is under attack in America, and has said his school won’t stand on the sidelines and watch.

“To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself,” Dr. Davis said. “College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.