This makes three times in the last year a major news organization has infiltrated “the bubble.”
My alma mater, Biola, was featured in this article in the La Times.
The first was a radio story on the BBC (one that implicitly compared Biola to the Taliban).
The second was a New York times magazine article that used Biola as representative of evangelical culture (available here).
This latest write-up focuses on Biola’s political leanings (overwhelmingly Republican) by contrasting La Mirada with Compton (their selection of a dominantly liberal area).
The choice of Compton isn’t accidental. The article mentions in passing that Gore’s numbers were “off the charts” in West Hollywood, South LA, and Santa Monica as well, but contrasting one of those three wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as Compton. After all, rich kids vote for Bush (and for reasons that are overwhelmingly intuitive–“strong leader,” “conscience,” “Godly man”) while hard-working poor people who work hard against gangs (and live, incidentally, near where the Williams sisters played tennis) vote for Kerry (for substantial reasons like the war and Scripture).
In fact, come to think of it, the only time Scripture is used is in support of Kerry and Democratic positions.
There are more biases–Biola students are presented as rustics who don’t know even know where Compton is, much less how to get there. We may as well ALL be from Idaho.
Maybe the author should have talked with the leader of Biola’s FCA, a personal friend, who has organized after school programs in Compton.
Maybe they should have talked with Student Ministries, who sends students into the inner city to feed the homeless and befriend inner-city children.
What MSM doesn’t know is that there is a growing culture of intellectualism at Biola that is extending our influence outward. Biola’s reputation in the community is impeccable. I have met several people who, upon finding out that I was a Biola grad, asked me if any of my friends needed work. Employers love Biola students. Soon it’s reputation in the academia will be equivalent. It is on track to fulfill it’s goal to become a “global center for Christian thought.” Articles like these portray Biola students as ignorant and insulated, as being concerned with our faith and nothing else. Let them. Biola’s scholar activists (see Scott Rae, Craig Hazen, John Mark Reynolds, the Film school, and J.P. Reynolds) are breeding a coterie of thinkers to replace them.
At any rate, Biola is beginning to matter. We are replacing Wheaton as the evangelical Oxford. Watch it happen.
**Incidentally, the author says his search for a Democrat was in vain. Yet he talked with a Talbot student who claims “Jesus would have been a Democrat,” but is still voting for Bush. Apparently, being Democrat entails voting for Bush. Tell that to the Mayor of Youngstown.**
The LA Times article seems a bit like a fluff piece, mostly; although you could interpret some of its observations as biased, you also neglected to mention that the article did point to a student who had actually been to Compton (the one who said he “understood why its residents felt Kerry was their best hope for better jobs and affordable healthcare”) and did find a Democrat on campus (just not during one silly afternoon between-class search).
I’m more curious, though, what your take is on the NY Times Mag piece, which is much more interesting, and seems like a more accurate reflection of the tension between faith and secularism in the evangelical college experience–and totally undercuts your claim that “[a]rticles like these portray Biola students as ignorant and insulated, as being concerned with our faith and nothing else.”