This is the letter I wrote to the students who are meeting with Pat Robertson about the issue of commencement speaker selection…
Thanks for offering to field student thoughts on this issue.
I am not due to graduate for, oh, four years? But basically, I had already decided that I will just have my diploma mailed to me. A university’s commencement is not a political platform for the media. It is (traditionally) intended to encourage and challenge the graduates to go and do what they are trained to do. (And in the case of a Christian university, to do GOD’S work!)
I think that there are MANY inspiring speakers who are not political candidates, who are Christians who make a difference and who are not asked to speak at secular universities because they ARE Christians! I think of “acceptable” Christian writers like Max Lucado, or Andy Stanley, or perhaps “less acceptable” ones like Lauren Winner or Anne Lamott. (Yes, the last two would put some male graduates back on their heels — but they speak for the generation of leaders in America who are up and coming.) I think of men and women who have returned from Iraq. I think of teachers who make a difference dealing with truants in Newport News, or a social worker in DC who helps teens stay in school, or a public defender who offers the best defense that money can’t buy (literally). A Christian who is NOT a big name in the marketplace.
I’m just one voice. I recognize that. But I will not be a political pawn for a candidate I do not support. My diploma is not up for a vote, nor is it fodder for the 700 Club or the Nightly News.
Thanks for being willing to listen…
God bless you and I will be praying for your meeting!
In Christ alone-
To paraphrase Scripture, don’t muzzle the student while she’s writing… (grin)
Now I might get kicked out of school for this… but that’s where I stand…