(TB: This post is submitted by a calm and reasonable man who is himself the product of a large public research institution's school of law.)
As if breathing the breath that comes from their Heavenly Father’s hand weren’t enough, as if the fruit of the Holy Spirit and centuries of Christian spiritual capital deposited into education weren’t enough, Vanderbilt University leadership takes money from Christians hand over fist and then gags the Christian conscience. The money I’m talking about isn’t tuition paid by Baptist or Episcopalian students. It’s the nearly half billion dollars of federal money that Vanderbilt has steam-shoveled into its coffers. In 2009 alone. Vanderbilt even brags that it broke the Top 25 varsity ranking in its haul of federal collegiate pork. You can find more details on the webpage maintained by Vanderbilt’s “Office of Federal Relations.” Some relations.
So why is federal largesse (i.e., tax receipts and U.S. sovereign debt) Christian money? The vast majority of Americans who pay federal income, capital gains, excise, and a motley assortment of other federal taxes identify themselves as Christians. Further, it’s likely that our descendants...to the thousandth generation will pay tens of trillions of dollars of debt the federal government has maniacally racked up since the dawn of the New Deal. At a day not too distant, quadrillion will enter everyday fiscal parlance.
The problem is two-fold. First, a private citizen’s means to maintain independence from government are taxed clean away. Second, through a vast, labyrinthine spoils system, the extracted wealth is transferred to other entities, a “private research university,” for example, who tells the Christian to keep his religion to himself as it makes sure he’s never alone on campus. Vanderbilt’s billing itself as a “private research university” would be on par with the City of San Francisco billing itself as a Silicon Valley start up launching an IPO. It’s ludicrous. Put differently, think of the government taking your mini van, handing the keys to a thug, and then allowing him to run over your children.
This goes well beyond First Amendment jurisprudence. The government isn’t just growing bigger and bigger. As government devours more and more GDP, its essential character is mutating into something hideous and demonically oppressive, especially as it works to empower, manipulate, and corrupt so-called private institutions that feed from its hand. Vanderbilt couldn’t have gotten away with the gag order if it weren’t backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America. I, for one, demand my money back. And my great-great grandchildren’s. Seriously.