The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Once upon a time, people thought that America was sliding toward moral relativism. A few minutes on Twitter today should disabuse anyone of that notion — morally loaded claims are everywhere.
But there is something strange about this ocean of moral evaluation: Many people seem ambivalent about the existence of moral truth. People speak of universal justice and human rights, but also resist external authority and unchosen “truths.” We are told that no one should “impose” their values on anyone else in the same breath that we are chided for not being moral enough.
There are complex reasons for this ambivalence, but there’s one moral issue in particular that colleges and universities around the country are wrestling with right now: belonging. How do you create an environment where people of various races, backgrounds and beliefs feel like they belong as full members of the campus community?
Brigham Young University President Kevin Worthen recently introduced a “Statement on Belonging” that seeks to address “the needs of all marginalized individuals on (BYU) campus.” This “unique” approach will provide the framework to evaluate all proposals to foster belonging at BYU.
Will it succeed in helping marginalized people feel a sense of belonging?
To answer that question, we have to go one step deeper and ask: What should the basis of belonging be? It will be useful to imagine two broad approaches to creating a community of belonging: belonging based on difference and belonging based on truth. In belonging based on difference, the shared value is openness to people and lifestyles different from one’s own, especially those that have been historically marginalized. Difference is valued because everyone should have space to be “who they really are,” and because limitations on difference perpetuate oppression and exclusion. Openness to difference ensures that no one is excluded; indeed, it preempts the possibility of exclusion (but perhaps not for everyone). As we often hear these days, the focus on difference is necessary to make sure that everyone and all people are welcome and included.
Belonging based on truth takes a different tack.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.