A private Christian college in Ohio has been criticized after it implemented its new "biblically consistent curriculum" earlier this year which avoids any mention of pornographic and obscene materials.
Cedarville University's new Bible-based curriculum includes a policy telling its faculty to avoid using "clearly pornographic, erotic, obscene, or graphic" images, songs, plays, movies, writing, and other materials. Even "R" rated movies were not allowed to be shown to students on campus, Times Higher Education detailed.
Although Cedarville's new policy reportedly does not aim to limit the free expression of ideas, it has sparked a debate on how faith-based institutions ought to balance academic freedom with their spiritual teachings. It is also part of the changes toward a more conservative environment since the current administration sat in position in 2013.
Cedarville's former vice-president for student affairs, Carl Ruby, stepped down after 30 years of service before Thomas White became the president in July 2013. He claimed he had been criticized by his colleagues for allowing "speakers who were not necessarily Republicans."
In addition, Dr. Ruby said the new policy tightened the existing "limits on academic freedom" to the point where some conservative faculty members were the ones keeping watch over the content being taught in classes.
Former professor of communication Mike Lopez, who resigned in May after more than three decades, echoed this thought.
"I know of some faculty in the humanities who are afraid because of the surveillance that they feel they are under," said Lopez. "When the assumption is made that anything 'R' rated must be approved by a department chair or dean for fear of injuring students, it hobbles the faculty's ability to train professionals in the field of humanities."
Meanwhile, the department of history and government's chair, Mark C. Smith, maintained that the policy did not affect their freedom to discuss their ideas openly. Journalism student Naomi Harward also said she had not gotten wind of any complaints on academic freedom since the new policy was implemented.
In light of this issue, Newsmax suggested that it may be time for public schools to welcome the Bible back into its campuses. After all, the holy book was the one which prompted the existence of these schools.
The first law which called for public education in British North America was the Old Deluder Satan Law, which was adopted in 1647. This law stated that schools should be established to spread knowledge of God's word. Because of this, the first 200 years of educational history after that was aimed at teaching people to read the Bible on their own.