Stan, Reg, Francis, and Judith discuss Stan's right to have babies.

Stan, Reg, Francis, and Judith discuss Stan's right to have babies.

“I’m not oppressing you, Stan, you haven’t got a womb!”

So says Reg, the apparent leader of the PFJ in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, to Stan, who wants to be a woman so that he can have babies.  Confronted with the reality of biological reproduction, Stan feels that anyone who disagrees with his “right as a man to want to have babies” is oppressing him; Reg, of course (played by John Cleese) thinks that this is just as ridiculous as the idea of Stan (Eric Idle) wanting babies in the first place.

I recently had some conversations with a few of the evangelical student leaders on campus over the weekend that reminded me of this scene. One guy was commenting on how he expects the College “is counting the days until [the evangelical campus chaplain] retires,” seeing as how when he does the Chapel won’t have any “real Christians” to minister to the students.  Another, one of the leaders of InterVarsity here, told me that he would never counsel “his students” to take any courses in religion here, and especially not any in Bible or Christianity, and he was shocked when I told him that, actually, our main Bible scholar is in fact a very active Presbyterian who has an M.Div from Southern in Louisville, and that I have taught this course for the School a few times as well.  “Still, it’s just really dangerous.” A third individual, a friend of mine in fact, gave a talk to the InterVarsity group that revolved around various “dangers and pitfalls” for “Christian students” to be on their guard against in their classes, especially classes on the Bible and the History of Christianity.

In all these conversations, I got the sense that these Evangelicals think of themselves as being oppressed, and that they like it that way. And the students (who I don’t think believe that they are under any form of oppression) are being taught and encouraged to think that they are.

As Reg says to Stan later on in that same scene: “What’s the point?”

It would seem that on college and university campuses evangelical students are being told by their mentors that everyone outside of “our” way of thinking about Christians and Christianity and, in fact religion in general are oppressing “us.” Come on. There’s no oppression here. When Professor X discusses the Documentary Hypothesis, students raised on the conservative (both Jewish and Evangelical Christian) belief of single, Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are not being oppressed, persecuted, or anything of the sort. Why cultivate this?

“What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?!”