Letter to the Editor: Troy understands and celebrates our diversity

Larry Fogelberg
Assistant Professor
Division of Economics and Finance

At the beginning of this new school year, it only makes sense to focus on what makes Troy University special and what makes the Troy campus particularly special. It would be impossible to talk about those without focusing on what makes the Troy community so special.
We have become an international community, where our local residents, churches and civic groups have opened their arms to embrace our international students. With each new family that adopts an international student, with each new local church that prepares food for our international students or supervises a weekend trip for our international students, and with each new civic group that finds some new way to support our international students, we see our local community embracing the mission of our university.
We can joke about the fact that Troy is one of the few places where one can find a Japanese restaurant run by a Korean, a Chinese restaurant run by an Indian, or an Oriental specialty store run by a Romanian, but the fact remains that Troy celebrates its diversity.
But what does it really mean to “celebrate our diversity”? It would be absurd to think that we are even able to celebrate our differences without the ability to call upon some body of common values, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that binds us together in spite of those differences. It would just as absurd to think that celebrating our diversity must involve some gag rule of political correctness forbidding any discussion of what those differences are, or what those common values are.
For instance, does “celebrating our diversity” mean that a Christian cannot share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our students? If that were true, then “celebrating our diversity” would mean nothing more than ignoring our differences, or worse, pretending that they did not exist.
Does “celebrating our diversity” mean that we must adopt the secular belief that all religious beliefs are equally true and, corollary, equally false? That would not entail any real celebration of our diversity, but rather a forced compliance with a secular world view.
Thankfully, the Troy community understands what it is to truly “celebrate our diversity.” They understand that any celebration of our diversity is a celebration of American exceptionalism and of our unique Constitution which allows us to live together in spite of our differences: a Constitution which acknowledges our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, whether we are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews or even Christians.
The Troy community understands this, and hopefully, so does the University.

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