Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, January 09, 2006

No Catholics Need Apply

I was going to blog about The Wall Street Journal's Saturday front-page article about professor Joshua Hochschild, who lost his job at a Protestant college for converting to Catholicsm, but Scott Carson has beaten me to the punch:
In today's Wall Street Journal there's a front-page story about Joshua Hochschild, an assistant professor of philosophy at Wheaton College whose contract has not been renewed because of his recent converson to Roman Catholicism. The story emphasizes the growing trend towards "mission purity" at some religious campuses: for many years plenty of Protestant and Catholic schools looked for academic excellence as their primary criterion for new hires and tenure decisions, but there have been lots of recent cases in which adherence to some doctrinal or credal affiliation has played a major role both in hiring and in tenure decisions. The case of Baylor's recent president, Robert Sloan, has come in for much discussion over at the Reform Club, where resident Baylor almunus Hunter Baker has had much to say on the topic that is both interesting and important.

Hochschild was hired by Wheaton when he was an Episcopalian, but he was already tempted by Roman Catholicism. Even when he was hired, he discussed the meaning of "Biblical inerrancy" with the president of Wheaton, Duane Liftin. Liftin has a rather impoverished notion of what Roman Catholicism entails, but his understanding of it is not all that different from what is widely beleived among certain Evangelical circles, so it's difficult to fault him for his decision to consider Hochschild a person who could not, in principle, sign the Wheaton statement of faith, and it was on the basis of this that he terminated Hochschild's contract. Academically, apparently, Hochschild was a keeper: the chairman of the philosophy department is quoted as having a favorable opinion of him, and the suggestion appears to be that he was on-track for a positive tenure decision.
Hochschild had been a professor of medieval philosphy; the end of the article notes that Wheaton has not hired another medieval philosophy professor because most of them are Catholic. Ha! Hochschild is now teaching at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD, about which I've heard generally good things.

(Note: Amy Welborn has a link to the article, I believe, and quotes it extensively in her post.)

On a sillier note: Noogs and Babs were convinced that Daddy was in the paper, because the cover photo of Hochschild bears a very superficial resemblance to Darwin -- dark hair, glasses, and a blue shirt that looks like one Darwin owns. The girls were pleased and agitated by turns.

1 comment:

CincyDarwin said...

What a delicious irony!