Blog Tal — 11 January 2012

William F. Buckley, Jr.

One of my favorite conservative commentators of all time was the late William F. Buckley, Jr.  I used to love his weekly interview show called “The Firing Line'” that ran on PBS from 1966 to 1999.  He always had great guests from across the political spectrum. Occasionally he would discuss religious issues with theologians from various points of view.  His favorite guest, it seemed me, was the late British writer Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) who converted to Christianity from agnosticism in 1969.  He was a regular on the show especially around Easter.  Buckley died in 2008 at the age of 83 sitting at his typewriter.

I recently obtained a copy of one of Buckley’s earliest and most controversial books (he had lots of them).  God and Man at Yale was written shortly after he graduated from that university in 1950. In it Buckley, who was devoutly Roman Catholic, documented what he perceived as the overt bias against Christianity (and other conservative ideas) in the school’s undergraduate classes.  That at a college originally founded by Protestant Christians to educate their children in biblical truth.  He even named specific professors who he claimed made their feelings well known as to their disdain for Christian beliefs and presuppositions.  As he stated, summarizing his analysis, “More than any other characteristic of the (Yale) colleges in the last twenty-five years, this problem of the secularism of their faculties and students has represented a stumbling block to religion” (italics in original).

Remember this was way back in 1950! I think what intrigued me most about the book was that it could have been written last year about most of the church related colleges in America today.  How many times have we heard about great institutions of higher education (colleges and seminaries) founded by Christians having slowly but surely drifted from their roots into religious liberalism or total secularism.  Sad to say, the distinctively Christian worldview as a basis for education has been lost at many institutions which were originally started to defend it.   William F. Buckley sounded a warning long ago that the alumni of Yale, and other now post-Christian universities, failed to heed.

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Tal Davis

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