Biola’s political bubble makes for minimal political discussion

An openness to political diversity is a sure way to pop the bubble.

Lauren Vander Tuig, Staff Writer

Biola University values diversity. However, political beliefs are often neglected in the university’s statement. At a private Christian university, it is assumed that most of the population leans conservatively. When it comes to politics, 51% of Republicans have spiritual convictions that qualify them as born again Christians, in comparison to 38% of Democrats, according to The Barna Group

In 2020, Biola ranked among the Top 50 most politically conservative universities in the country, ranking at No. 12. This challenges Biola’s promise to foster diversity and prepare students for life after college, “equip[ped] with the tools they need to lead full, thoughtful, God-centered lives.” 

BIOLA’S ‘POLITICAL BUBBLE’

Compared to many public universities, Biola lacks opportunities for political discourse—evident in the number of clubs dedicated to political discussion.  

Over 500 universities across the United States have a debate program, whereas Biola cut theirs in 2019. Removing spaces for students to discuss differing perspectives creates a sterilized “political bubble,” which limits exposure to diverse ideas. 

The Student Handbook states that, “there is room at Biola for deeply faithful, biblically centered faculty, staff and students who have diverse political views.” While the school may make this statement, it is debatable if it resides truly among the student body. In 2008, Biola had a club dedicated to democrats—the Biola College Democrats. 

“For some reason, here on campus they think you can’t be a Christian and a Democrat,” said Athena Fleming, then-president of the Biola College Democrats.

It is a common experience of Biola’s Democrat population to feel excluded—perhaps even less Christian—than the majority of the Republican population.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSE BELIEFS AMID SHARED FAITH

Many students do not feel comfortable with expressing their political beliefs, for fear of judgement. However, this limits exposure to diverse political beliefs on campus. As college students pursuing higher education, it is healthy to discuss and debate topics, especially those that are more controversial, to begin to determine personal political beliefs. 

Believers of Christ come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and political standings. It is unfair to believe that the body of Christ should not accept diversity in more ways than just race and culture. It is more than fair for people to “agree to disagree” when it comes to political debate, but politically liberal leaning students are often not given the encouragement to share their stance on issues. 

SOLUTION TO BIOLA’S ONE-DIMENSIONAL POLITICS

In order to foster healthy discussion on diverse political beliefs, it is important to remember that political party affiliations should not be used to define people. Rather, find identity as children of God and respect each other’s insights. 

Everyone deserves to feel welcomed on a campus that highlights a positive community, and should not feel ashamed because of political opinions. Whether Republican or Democrat, each person is a vital and worthy piece of the heavenly kingdom.       

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