A few days ago we found an article written by Arthur Paul Boers, endowed chair of Leadership at Tyndale Seminary, on the Tyndale/Bush controversy. It was a beautifully written article about his feelings towards George W Bush, his use of faith and his upcoming event with Tyndale University. The article states that “If Bush was going to be associated with my school, conscience compelled me to speak.” We all read it and were relieved to know that it wasn’t just us leftist, marxist, socialist, non-christian, pacifist, shit disturbing types (just to name a few of the great labels that have been attributed to a few of us that post on Tyndale.co) that had similar feelings towards George W Bush.
Today that article was taken down. Why? We aren’t sure. We of course in our computer savvy ways were able to recover the original article from our browser cache. So for anyone that wants it we have now published it on this site for anyone to read. ChristianWeek.org after a few hours re-posted the article, but with a revision. Like we learned in Old Testament class at Tyndale, when you see something repeated, always look for what is missing in the repetition. More than likely the missing information reveals what is going on beneath everything else. So below is the text that was was ommitted from the revision when it was reposted.
Third, steeped in Mennonite convictions, I believe Christians can differ and disagree, even vigorously, and at the same time grow in love for one another.
The day after the faculty was informed of the impending presidential breakfast, a colleague and I proposed a forum for interested faculty and students. The event would consider Christian interpretation of the legacy of George W. Bush, inviting four diverse viewpoints that spanned the political and theological spectrum. We would structure a civil conversation and give room for other faculty and students to respond and interact.
Our proposal was in the spirit of dialogue, academic freedom, and freedom of speech. A key administrator explained that our offer was not accepted because of – quoting here – “concern that we not make too much of this.” (In spite of our administration’s caution, a maelstrom of controversy ensued once the press exposed Tyndale’s plans.)
I’ve really done my best to not judge through this whole process. This is making it almost too easy. Why was this taken down? Your guess is as good as mine. But I’ll guess anyway. My guess is that Tyndale didn’t like this whole paragraph all that much. It revealed too much. It showed that they screwed up and made bad decisions. It shows that not only did this event have absolutely nothing to do with free speech (like Dr. Craig Carter, Dr. Gary Nelson and Dr. Scott Masson publicly stated and pointed fingers at us for). But it reveals that even attempts to exercise this freedom that folks at Tyndale seem to prize so much, were shut down because a key administrator (I wonder who that would be) said that they didn’t want to “make too much of this.” So Tyndale probably strongly suggested that Arthur take down his post or change it. So he changed it. Of course, that is all speculation. It’s unfortunate that anything had to be changed, especially since he was just exercising his right in free speech. But I’d wager a bet that is pretty close to what happened. I can’t imagine Arthur re-reading his post a few days later and thinking “ah, you know what, that’s not necessary, why don’t we take that out.”
Tyndale is really trying to cover it’s tracks here. Their public statements are empty of meaning. Dr. Gary Nelson admits that they need clearer guidelines and policies so that views can be respected in a hospitable place. Let me make a suggestion Tyndale. Trying to undo something on the Internet won’t work. Trying to censor professors that are speaking respectfully and making the school a hospitable place won’t work. Silence from the very people that shouldn’t be silent from the higher ranks of Tyndale won’t work. Your options are dwindling and you seem to be making a lot of bad decisions before you land on some right ones. You need to be honest. Stop worrying about your reputation. Stop trying to cover your tracks. Make decisions and defend your decisions with grace and humility to those that disagree with you. Most importantly, please start communicating (honestly), you are leaving us all to wonder and guess and assume.
So again, like I stated before, we are still waiting for an official statement about this mess. Now I’d like to request a statement about why it seems as if you are censoring some professors from speaking and allowing others to blabber on.