There are few better online suppliers of premium-grade pro-abortion deceit and hysteria than RH Reality Check, a website whose “evidence-based” approach to “reproductive & sexual health and justice” can’t help but elicit guffaws from those who know better.
This week RH’s Eleanor Bader caught my attention with an article about a “Fundamentalist College Proud of [its] Close Ties to [Rush] Limbaugh.” Lo and behold, it turns out she’s talking about my own alma mater, Hillsdale College, which, it seems to her is a hotbed of discriminatory anti-choice radicalism.
Since I happen to possess a bit of firsthand knowledge about the place, perhaps I can help correct Ms. Bader’s many misconceptions:
As advertisers have scrambled to distance themselves from the ultra-conservative radio host in the aftermath of Limbaugh’s vile attack on law student Sandra Fluke, those that stayed achieved BFF status from the Premiere Radio Network, the company that syndicates the 61-year-old former pill-popper’s daily ramblings. Among the Limbaugh Loyalists was Hillsdale College, a 168-year-old private Christian school located in Hillsdale, Michigan.
Bader’s characterization is incomplete. Hillsdale responded to the controversy with a statement blasting Rush’s original insult as “destructive to reasonable political discourse” but welcoming his apology and affirming that they would continue to advertise on his show because “he and his large audience have proved themselves friendly to the College’s 168-year-old mission” of educating for liberty. (And for what it’s worth, the campus paper was considerably more hostile to Limbaugh.) Unless Bader has an overall one-strike-you’re-out standard for everyone whose political allies misbehave (and a quick search indicates RH hasn’t asked Barack Obama to ditch the far worse Bill Maher), this is much ado about nothing.
Also, it’s accurate to call Hillsdale a “Christian school” only in the sense that the Judeo-Christian (and Greco-Roman) foundations of Western civilization are key components of the school’s approach to teaching politics and history. But Hillsdale is not a sectarian college with any sort of affiliation or allegiance to any church, or any kind of religious litmus tests for students.
Bader next objects to Hillsdale’s wholesale rejection of public money, a policy that frees the college from most government mandates. She says the school’s really trying to remain “free from pesky rules against discrimination and bigotry”:
And what intrusive mandates they are, insuring that students are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex, and age.
Bader doesn’t mention that Hillsdale actually has a better anti-discrimination record than most liberal universities – not only is Hillsdale the nation’s first college to expressly prohibit race- and sex-based discrimination in its Articles of Association, but it enrolled blacks as early as 1844 and was the second college in the nation to admit women equally with men. Considering that Bader has to quote a website completely unrelated to Hillsdale to allege that the school has a problem with admitting “atheists, feminists, or members of the LGBTQ community” (all of which I can confirm were present at Hillsdale), this complaint is similarly hard to swallow.
Finally, we arrive at Bader’s main objection – Hillsdale is too friendly with pro-lifers:
Hillsdale students are encouraged to participate in the annual March for Life each January and are urged to join weekend pickets at an Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood. They’re further primed to volunteer at local Crisis Pregnancy Centers, join the county Right to Life chapter, and link hands in a Life Chain along Highway M-99. Lastly, their classroom instruction is supplemented by a subscription to the right-wing Imprimis Magazine —published monthly on campus, with articles touching a host of conservative themes.
Too bad Bader doesn’t mention who’s doing the “encouraging”: not the administration, but rather Students for Life, one of many campus clubs (and one I was a member of). Though she speaks as if she’s quoting some official school propaganda pushing these activities, what she’s really linked is merely SFL’s profile on the college website’s Clubs list (other Hillsdale clubs, by the way, include College Democrats and the Fairfield Society, the latter of which is a discussion forum which, while not specifically liberal, is known for giving a platform to a range of perspectives falling outside what’s commonly understood as the “Religious Right”).
(Oh, and Imprimis isn’t a classroom supplement; it’s a newsletter meant to share speeches from campus events with those beyond the campus.)
I would chide Eleanor Bader for lousy fact-checking, but that would imply that accuracy was what she was going for in the first place. The truth is that she simply can’t stand the fact that there remain pockets of academia where students aren’t taught to worship at the altar of abortionism, where the next generation is told that there are higher goods to which we should aspire – liberty, virtue, reason, responsibility – than unconditional sexual gratification.
Pro-choicers want to reach young people at their most impressionable, when their own propaganda can take root without competition. But by instilling in students better analytical skills and more enduring values, Hillsdale College inoculates them against such indoctrination – and stands as one of several bulwarks against the true fundamentalism of the secular left.