Monday, January 19, 2015

Respect for Authority

Imagine this: you have a friend who sits down one day and just rants and rants and rants about how restrictive his parents rules are. After he finishes blasting them with insults (and not even addressing the rules), it becomes clear to you that regardless of how wrong his parents are, he is more wrong to disrespect his parents because they are his God-ordained authorities.

Clearly we can see that while we might be able to give some friendly criticism to show the flaws in those that have been placed as authorities before us, we should know not to ridicule, we should know not to constantly complain, and we should know to respect them in all that we say and do.

But among certain groups (of otherwise amazing people) here at my college you would guess that this particular respectfulness and willingness to criticize without mocking has not been understood.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out some things that you find weird about the viewpoints of the authorities in your life. If you think it's weird for instance that this university does not let women teach men in Bible classes (I tend to agree, but I've heard compelling arguments for both sides), then you can say so.

What you can't and shouldn't do, of course, is say that this action obviously proves the current administration to be a collection of sexist pigs who simply want to keep women in the kitchen. (Food for thought: if they really believed that, why would they hire any female professors at all?)

This attitude of name-calling and exaggeration of an issue is disrespectful to an organization that you just happen to disagree with. Regardless of the intentions that these students had in the first place, their comments ultimately just smell of the same bigotry and intolerance that they accuse the university of.

Perhaps another example may illustrate this point further. It is acceptable for one to express disagreement over chapel speakers, but it is disrespectful to make those same speakers the butt of jokes throughout the entirety of the semester (and beyond). They're human; they'll make mistakes, say some things that they regret; some may even change their minds about what they say later. If you were in their position, you wouldn't want to live in infamy for your comments the rest of your days.

While we're on the subject of chapel, why is it that we think we have the right to avoid punishment when we skip chapel? Don't get me wrong, if you want to skip chapel, you have a right to do that. But if you are going to go past your 8 allowed unexcused absences (as well as that 5 absence grace period), then you should submit to the authority of the university and pay the fine. You should not falsify excuse forms or "scan and scram" in order to avoid the consequences. We should not defiantly refuse chapel "because the university has no right to force mature adults to attend a worship service every day."

At the end of the day, students here (and everywhere, I assume) have accepted the authority of their college. Disrespecting the authority of one's parents is one thing, but we do not typically think that disrespecting a university is really bad. But this becomes especially bothersome when you consider that most students specifically chose this specific authority in their life.

When you agreed to come to this university, you agreed to respect and accept their authority. That's not even in the fine print. So can we all just take a moment to purge the wonderful community here of this one glaring problem and start to change our attitude of the current administration and beyond.

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