What to Do When Trouble Strikes
Last week we spoke about the legal rights that Christian faculty have in the secular university. Many times we find ourselves obeying "laws" that really don't exist.
Since writing last week's MMM, I have found an excellent article by a constitutional lawyer which details the legal rights of professors. You can find the entire article at: http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri-intro/freedom.html.
But what do you do when trouble strikes and you feel challenged in this area? Let me offer a few suggestions.
First, before trouble strikes, prepare yourself with good information. The article above is a good starting place. Several suggested books include: Reason in the Balance, by Phillip Johnson, IV Press, 1995; Rights of Religious Persons, by John Whitehead, Crossway Books, 1991; The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, by George Marsden, Oxford Univ. Press, 1997.
Second, if trouble strikes, remember these important principles.
1) Always leave a paper trail. Always ask that complaints be put in writing to avoid misunderstanding and to protect you from a changing story later. Ask for and respond to everything in writing yourself.For more information on what to do when faced with opposition, read the interview with Dr. Scott Luley located at: http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9401/oppose.html.
2) Respond quickly, thoughtfully and decisively. Seek advice from Dr. Scott Luley, Christian Leadership's Free Speech Director (email@example.com) and his Advisory Board. Since each case is different, faculty shouldn't risk their career on broad guidelines that may not hold when specifics are introduced.
3) Decide not to quit. Count the cost ahead of time.
4) Be sure your peers are "on board." More than a few Christians on your campus should agree with you that the issue is worth protesting. Ask them to join with you in praying for wisdom and faith.
Scripture: I Peter 3:15 - But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Action Point: Save this in a handy folder so that you can find it if the need ever arises. Pray for and encourage colleagues who are being challenged for their faith.
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