Rhode Island liberals like to think of themselves as open minded in the spirit of Providence founder Roger Williams, but they aren’t. So averse to diversity are they that the state’s most-prominent Catholic institution of higher education has driven out a well-respected professor for being too, well, Catholic:
Anthony Esolen, the prolific Catholic scholar and author known for his distinctly Catholic worldview and translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has accepted a teaching position at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, severing his ties with Providence College, where he held a tenured professorship and waged a long battle for its Catholic identity. …
Esolen told the National Catholic Register that the turning point for him came after Providence’s president, Dominican Father Brian Shanley, allegedly refused to meet with a small group of Catholic professors intent on resolving the conflict and persuaded the Dominican provincial not to meet with them either.
Esolen explained that he could have lived with a “somewhat Catholic school that was really committed to the humanities” or “an unreservedly Catholic school where the humanities needed shoring up.” However, he concluded Providence offered neither of these options: The campus had become “highly politicized,” and the administrative decisions, to him, appeared “basically secular in their inspiration and their aim.”
Rhode Island’s cultural leaders are open minded to ideas that they already find congenial. Like the Massachusetts Puritans who drove out Roger Williams, to the extent they’re aware of Esolen, they’ll likely receive the news of his departure with relief that he won’t be drawing attention to the hypocrisy of Leftist secularism.
The conclusion of his controversies with the college ought, instead, to inspire self reflection. What does it say of a state and a college when a professor will give up tenure to escape it?