The October 18 edition of the Echo featured two op-ed pieces about Res Publica. One of these, authored by student Taylor Burns, was particularly critical of our site. We do appreciate Mr. Burns’ concerns regarding the health of the Taylor community. This is certainly a concern that we at Res Publica share, and we also appreciate his initiative in taking the time to write his piece and stimulate dialogue about these issues in our community. Those are good and admirable aims.
However, we were disappointed to see Mr. Burns’ mischaracterizations of Res Publica, specifically in his statement that “Res Publica tends to exclude the voices of minorities, namely those who are not white, evangelical or part of the LGBTQIA community. Not only because the published writers of Res Publica do not affiliate with any one of those vital campus minorities but the articles tend to discourage minority voices from contributing.”
There are several factual inaccuracies in this statement.
1. At Res Publica we explicitly invite articles from anyone, including those who are critical of our perspectives. Just a few weeks ago we posted a piece by Professor Stephen Hoffmann which is somewhat critical of Excalibur. We respect, honor, and welcome dissenting voices.
2. We do not exclude those who are non-white. In fact, one of our original founders of Excalibur was a Hispanic Accounting Professor who has since left Taylor. This man is a native Mexican and a strong conservative. Moreover, we have explicitly invited racial minorities to write pieces for Res Publica. So far they haven’t done so, but we are hoping one such piece will be forthcoming.
3. We do not exclude LGBTQ persons. In fact, two members of the LGBTQ community have been a part of our movement, one of whom was very active with both Excalibur and Res Publica). They have since graduated from TU, but we are hopeful that one of them will eventually share their perspective in a Res Publica post.
4. We do not exclude non-evangelicals. We welcome posts from people of all Christian theological traditions. In fact, I was the most active Taylor faculty member in spearheading the Ray Fitzgerald Lecture Series, the purpose of which is to bring Roman Catholic speakers to campus to help Taylor students grow in their appreciation for this rich theological and cultural tradition of Catholicism.
5. All of my Res Publica colleagues (Dr. Richard Smith, Coach Gary Ross, and Ben Wehling, as well as some other contributing writers) have a long track record of interacting with—in very intentional in-depth ways—people who are different from us and disagree with us. I could share many stories about how several of us have been deeply immersed in and interactive with minority and LGBTQ communities over the years.
We hope this will set the record straight regarding Mr. Burns’ false and potentially slanderous claims about us. And we strongly encourage anyone who is posting or publishing pieces about Res Publica to check with us regarding any critical claims that they are not absolutely certain are true. We have been slandered fairly consistently over the past 19 months, and we’d like this to stop.
Please know that we are not angry or bitter, just weary and exasperated by the perpetuation of falsehoods which have been personally and professionally damaging to us and, by extension, the Taylor community and our national reputation. Please also understand that we forgive Mr. Burns and anyone else who has falsely accused or slandered us. We forgive and we will always forgive, even as we trust others will forgive us for any wrongs or mistakes we have made. That is, after all, the Christian way.