Santorum Is Right about Colleges; Facts Back Up Perception That Campus Life Is Faith-Killer

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

Santorum Is Right about Colleges; Facts Back Up Perception That Campus Life Is Faith-Killer


Byline: Patrick J. Reilly, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Chiding presidential candidate Rick Santorum for calling America's colleges indoctrination mills, MSNBC host Ed Schultz recently accused Mr. Santorum of citing a bogus study from the Cardinal Newman Society.

What's bogus is MSNBC's reporting. Mr. Santorum is right about the indoctrination.

What has the liberal media all flustered is Mr. Santorum's frank criticism of America's colleges and their frequent hostility toward traditional religious values. What goes on today at most colleges is offensive and destructive from a moral perspective.

Unlike most media reporters, Mr. Santorum's audiences understand his language. Religion is not the same as the undefined spirituality claimed by many young people today. In some respects, the two are polar opposites.

But liberal reporters seem to distrust anyone they can deride as old-fashioned religious folk. So they have set their sights on Mr. Santorum and a curious statistic that he cited recently, claiming that 62 percent of students lose their faith commitment during college.

It seems no one can find the source of that statistic, but the focus on it is something of a red herring. There's plenty of data to back up Mr. Santorum's concern about the leftist and secularist biases of higher education in the United States.

What I know, as president of the Cardinal Newman Society, is that MSNBC falsely attributed the statistic to us while failing to cite an actual study that we published. We're not the source.

So why would Mr. Schultz drag the Cardinal Newman Society into his rant against Mr. Santorum? I have a guess.

In advancing our mission to renew Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, we have vocally opposed the Obama administration's efforts to force Catholic colleges to insure both students and employees for sterilization and abortion-causing drugs. In 2009, we also organized a national petition with more than 367,000 signers protesting the University of Notre Dame's honors to President Obama - a point noted by Mr. Schultz with disdain.

So that's it. Mr. Schultz doesn't like those who stand in the way of Mr. Obama, even a nonpolitical religious organization. We're those old-fashioned religious folk.

Our focus is Catholic students at Catholic institutions. For instance, in 2010, we reported on a finding from Georgetown University that 12 percent of Catholic students leave the faith by graduation from a Catholic college or university. For us, 1 in 8 students is alarming.

But the even greater problem is that among those graduates who still say they're Catholic, many are no longer truly committed to traditional Catholic practices and morality.

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Santorum Is Right about Colleges; Facts Back Up Perception That Campus Life Is Faith-Killer
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