The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Students can’t, won’t engage every culture
By TAYLOR SVENDSEN,
Published: April 25 2012
At Seattle Pacific, we hear no evil and see no evil. When we do, it’s all too common for the first response to be one of reconciliation.
When that fails, students simply proceed to close our eyes and let the many authoritative devices maintain the order and homeostasis of the university.
By way of exclusive selection do we keep the environment clean and safe of influences that we find unedifying or beyond any possibility of salvation or assimilation.
Even after being at SPU for two years, I still can’t shake the harsh realization that even a liberal Christian university like this will, in all its self-proclaimed tolerance and cultural integration, continue to sweep the dirt under the rug time after time, displaying a farce progressive nature, and a twisted starting ground for anyone with any hope of venturing into the world without rose-colored glasses.
It is completely crazed in my mind to think of this university as being any proponent of objectivism when its underlying tenets turn a blind eye to those emerging worldly philosophies which pioneer the future of humanity, calling for uncensored, progressive thought.
Engage the culture, change the world. This is a motto everyone swallows in unity like Sunday communion, not giving a second thought to its incredible, tumultuous paradox.
Should we engage the culture when humanism, homosexuality, atheism, free love, communism, drugs, and anarchy are outside our door?
How can we engage these cultures when these are cultures SPU seems to condemn?
Some can deliberate their validity but none are justified to condemn or demonize these based off of personal belief or collective tradition.
In the same way, none can idly stand by and claim not to be a part of the rising damnation and rejection of modern human discourse by mainstream Christianity simply because he or she did not contribute to the slander.
We are all players in the future of society, and we all have a duty to guard the freedom of people and cultures.
The recently passed holiday “4-20” offers us a topic through which we can observe how SPU engages cultures that seem to oppose its rules, specifically the subculture of marijuana.
4-20 is a global celebration of marijuana in which people are encouraged to smoke the substance as a sign of solidarity in the community.
This has been a growing event since its creation in 1971 by six students at San Rafael High School in California.
According to an investigation by High Times Magazine, these students would meet at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana and attempt to locate a rumored hidden cannabis patch.
After failed attempts, they soon began to use “4-20” as a code for marijuana itself.
The phrase grew in popularity until it reached a national audience and common understanding among those in the community.
The use of marijuana is widely acknowledged in the community surrounding SPU — in fact, Seattle acknowledges the plant every year.
Seattle Hempfest, which began in 1991, “advocates the decriminalization of marijuana for responsible adults, legal access to medical marijuana for patients who could be benefited by cannabis, and legal domestic hemp production,” according to its website.
Hempfest’s goals have been acknowledged and supported by many for years, but getting involved with marijuana while at SPU is a quick way for students to get reprimanded.
The devices of this institution, such as Resident Life and Safety and Security, are the chosen ligaments for the dirty job of enforcing SPU’s lifestyle expectations on a community of diverse individuals who do not all adhere to SPU’s ideologies and official policies.
Those who oppose these regulations, for example, those who use marijuana, are met not with tolerance and reconciliation but with the iron fist of said institutional devices.
Is this truly the best way to engage a culture that we do not approve of?
This institution has made it clear that we are called to reconcile with everything we can and rebuke that which we can’t.
We have been conned to believe that we are to change the world, but somehow the world is unworthy to change us.
We are too afraid that our own perceptions of truth will not harken to the call of humanity, that our traditions and beliefs will be left as remnants in the wake of a soaring pull to enlightenment.
Our most deep-seated fears of the world are truly born out of our most innate ignorance.
Staff reporter Taylor Svendsen is a sophomore psychology major at Seattle Pacific.
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