Marvin Olasky

Ah, this part of Woodberry's research is better: He shows how British imperialists disrespected multiculturalism. British gunboats forced the Muslim sultan of Zanzibar?...?oh, to end the slave trade. Wait a minute: Woodberry shows that Muslims enslaved East Africans until evangelical pressure pushed Britain to deploy its fleet to stop slavery in non-Western societies. Not good, not good. But he documents everything so well.

Dean, you don't have to stare at me like that: Woodberry's not convincing me, no sir. I know the missionaries tried to hook the natives on drugs. Oh oh, Woodberry quotes an 1888 missionary conference's declaration that the opium trade is "a standing reproach to Christianity.?...?We are responsible in the sight of God for this culminating wickedness.?... We have to reckon with Divine Judgment if we neglect this matter."

Dean, I know we'll have to reckon with our colleagues' judgment if we offer Woodberry tenure. But this is interesting stuff: From the 1820s to the 1850s missionaries in India campaigned to protect Indians from landowner abuses. They brought cases to court on behalf of low caste believers. In 1865, when Jamaica's royal governor killed a black leader, missionaries mobilized a campaign that led to the governor being recalled to England and put on trial for murder. Kind of interesting.

Dean, you're right: I can't let my mind start wandering. You're right: Even if those Protestant missionaries taught people to read and pioneered efforts to educate women and poor people, they did it because they wanted to proselytize. And this idea that when missionaries come, standards of living improve dramatically? No way that could be true.

Those words are imaginary. The result is real: The University of Texas denied Woodberry tenure. He then applied to 108 other schools. No U.S. institution offered him tenure. One Christian college interviewed him and made a tentative offer, but it did not make a formal offer. No other school invited him for an in-person interview or made him a job offer.

To get a job, Bob Woodberry last month moved nearly 10,000 miles. The National University of Singapore is giving him a 50 percent increase in salary, free housing for up to nine years, the first semester off, and $85,000 for his research.


Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit www.worldmag.com.
 
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