Washington, D.C. - "Are you with YAF?" a voice behind me asked, as I entered the George Washington University's Multicultural Student Services Center.
"No," I replied, turning to see a student of the university following close behind as we walked up a flight of stairs and down a short hallway to Room 209 for the Christian Privilege diversity training. I asked with a laugh, "Are they not supposed to be here?"
Upon entering the room, students checked in with their student IDs and picked a seat where a sharpie and name tag, complete with a section for students to write in their preferred gender pronouns, awaited. Students filed in and by the time the session was underway, well over 20 people were in attendance. Across the room, a young woman's laptop dawned a Young America's Foundation sticker, showing conservatives were in attendance.
Before the training began, Timothy Kane, Associate Director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, stated that everything said during the seminar would be off the record, and Townhall will honor that request.
The training at GWU garnered nationwide attention this week, and for good reason. Chris wrote about it here at Townhall, Fox News covered it, and so did other conservative sites like The Blaze and Washington Examiner. The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh also addressed the seminar in his podcast titled, "College gives seminar on 'Christian privilege.' Here's why that's insane."
While many people have heard about white privilege and heterosexual privilege, Christian privilege is a new one for most. If Christian privilege is a thing, it can't be said to exist outside of the U.S., as Christians all over the world suffer persecution. They're tortured, killed, thrown into prisons, and face fines or other societal restrictions because of their faith -- and it doesn't get nearly as much coverage as it should. For example, on Thursday, CNN reported China removed Bibles from online stores.
People around the world have also seen the horrific videos and images of ISIS beheading or crucifying Christians.
There's no debate that the safest place for a Christian to live in the world today is the United States. Christians in the U.S. are blessed, as we do not face the same level of persecution that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ face elsewhere. However, that does not mean Christians in the United States are somehow immune from hate and vitriol. Talking about "Christian privilege" ignores the fact that an increasingly secular culture does not approve of the Christian faith and Christians sharing that faith publicly.
Furthermore, if there is such thing as Christian privilege, that "privilege" is open to everyone. Anyone can become a Christian if they believe Jesus died on the cross for the world's sins, confess their sins, and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
A Christian identity is not something someone has at birth. Eventually, it is up to each and every individual to decide what he or she believes.
I was so happy to be able to attend the event … with a group of conservative Christian students. Unlike our liberal peers would have done to an event they disagreed with, we didn’t protest the event, we didn’t stage a walkout, we didn’t demand it be canceled. Instead we attended, we had open ears and we were ready to engage in a dialogue and defend our beliefs.
One of the biggest issues discussed at the event was the idea of Christian privilege being extremely similar to the idea of white privilege.
A big problem I had with this was I didn’t understand how something you have no control over, like your skin color could be even comparable to something you have complete autonomy over, like your religion. When I brought this up throughout the event a few times, it was ignored. It was dismissed. And the discussion quickly moved on.
The biggest analogy made throughout the event was the idea of escalators and stairs. Those who had privilege were on an escalator to the top of the building, and those who didn't have privilege were taking stairs. I suggested that the escalator to Christianity is open to everyone who wants to get on it, regardless of your skin color, your socio-economic status, anything. And once again, when I brought this up during the event it was kind of just overlooked, the topic moved on.
After the event, another George Washington student and YAF member Matthew Mastroberti gave Townhall his thoughts:
All I’d say on the event is that I’m really happy I attended to essentially defend Christianity on campus and set the record straight about this matter. I was most blown away by the instructor’s surprise that being a Christian on campus isn’t easy, and that we don’t judge people based on outward appearance, but rather on their individual worth. Finally, it seemed our instructor undercut his own argument so many times, and was simply degrading Christians by the conclusion, using a condescending tone when we’d refuse to agree with what he told us. I was also uplifted by the overwhelming number of Christians who attended to defend their faith.
Based on the statements above, one can conclude the training didn't go as planned. Students of the university held their own.
Mr. Timothy Kane did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Direct quotes found in the piece came before or after the training, or are quotes from students reported by other media outlets.