Congratulations to all the seniors at “Calvin College”:http://www.calvin.edu, my alma mater, who will be graduating tomorrow. Particular congratulations to my cousin Lauren, who’s among them.
Special congratulations, too, to all the members of the Calvin community who aren’t taking the fact that George W. Bush is their commencement speaker lying down. My thoughts are with all who have already voiced their opposition, whether to his presence or his policies, and with those who plan to protest in one way or another tomorrow.
From what I’ve been able to tell from a distance, Bush’s impending arrival on campus has already sparked no small amount of furor, tumult, and debate. There probably won’t be many fireworks tomorrow — the speech will most likely be uncontroversial and unpolitical. But regardless of whether Karl Rove (who engineered this particular gig, as has been widely reported) sees this appearance as a gesture to the Christian right or the Christian center, he’s not getting a warm-fuzzy campaign stop, but a reality-based cross-section of the many different responses that people have to this President, even in West Michigan. And, as a result of what modest nationwide coverage this whole affair has been getting, America is being reminded that Christianity comes in a lot of flavors.
Finally, a side note to every single reporter who’s written on this topic: Calvin College is not a “bastion of evangelical thought,” it’s a bastion of _Reformed_ thought. The Reformed tradition is big on having Christians engage _with_ the culture at large instead of dwelling apart from it, which means a Reformed college is going to do a way better job at preparing its students for, y’know, going out and dwelling in the real world. It’s also a refreshing antitode against developing a “completely irrational persecution complex”:http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2005/05/persecution_con.html.