Religion and Education
This story was in the newspaper here this weekend: http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,21956391-2761,00.html
It is about a catholic university censoring the student newspaper.
The situation here in Western Australia is that, until recently, we had 4 universities. these universities were completely secular and admission was given on academic merit. You could enroll as a full-fee paying student to bypass this but that was mostly for foreign students and was far from the norm. About 10 (I think) years ago Notre Dame university opened here. It's a catholic university and worse than that, all positions are full-fee paying (except for scholarships) and your academic performance as less bearing on accepance than at (what I would consider) our real universities. Admission is based in part on an interview to determine if you will fit the mindset of the university.
I had 2 problems with this new university.
Firstly, I think it is important that you earn your place in university through things that count in university - intelligence and hard work. Your parents income, your sporting ability and certainly your faith should have no infulence at all on the tertiary education you are allowed.
Secondly, and most relevent for this forum and the article above I feel that the goals of religion and of education conflict. Religion tries it's best to keep everyone ignorant and homogenise opinions. Education should provide the tools and encouragement to expand your own knowledge and to develop your own opinions. Due to this I think that aligning a place for higher learning with a particular faith is a bad idea.
Admittedly the censorship in question is not censoring views that oppose catholosism (atleast not specifically) but this sort of censorship is not something that the other universities engage in. The student newspapers commonly question the decisions of those running the university.
To me, this shows the danger of this sort of university. It is discouraging free speech and free thought. The two things that are the most important at a university.
You may say that it is only one university and we have 4 other options but the sad fact is that the real universities are already pushing to allow more full-fee students and the federal government is doing it's best to kill pubilc education (most university places are largely subsidised by the government). So we may see universities like notre dame become the norm rather than the exception.
Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I'm-My-Own-Grandpa!