It was a few weeks after the election, and the question came at the conclusion of a report I had made to the university trustees. “We have been hearing a lot about red states and blue states, the role of religion in the election, and a lot of other things about religion in public life. There seems to be a lot of division. Could you offer some comments about where you see things?”
It wasn’t the first time I had been asked the question. But this time the context invited me to reflect not only on the status of religious commitment in American life, but also on the role higher education has played and might play in relation to it. Could it be that those of us in long-established institutions of higher education, especially those founded by religious traditions and impulses, have been more a part of the problem than the solution?