Complaints about social justice teaching go back a ways. Family lore has one of my Czech ancestors accompanying early Protestant reformer Jan Hus to Rome in 1415, when Hus and his entourage were guaranteed safe passage and then burned at the stake. Hus, Martin Luther, and other reformers presumed to teach their fellow Christians the radical idea that they could read the Bible and engage in moral reasoning for themselves. Importantly, they also taught that religion can be hijacked and used to mask corruption, bigotry, and inequality.

Now some well-funded people with odd ideas about what constitutes justice at this point in our nation’s history are making wild claims about indoctrination of the intelligent, ambitious, and hard-working young adults attending our public universities and colleges. Worth recalling the original sin of social justice teaching in the US dates to the abolitionists, who risked imprisonment and lynching for teaching enslaved Africans to read.

What better expression of genuine social justice than helping uplift Idaho college students of all races, genders, and ethnicities into their chosen professions and productive roles within our society? I’d say a few questions about ethics and right and wrong seem a fitting supplement to that education.

Chris Norden,

Moscow