Starting at the Top: Take the World from a Different Point of View

So, you want to be an independent journalist. First lesson: Take a different point of view.

As an independent journalist living in North America, the social and political contexts, and the historical life, of an environment affect you. The narratives can come forward at seemingly random times and different opinions about events become apparent, as opinions are like cells; everyone has them.

As frequent readers of materials in a wide range of content on most continents, excluding Antarctica, by me will gather, I live in a small town called Fort Langley in the Township of Langley known for a fundamentalist Christian community.

When doing field work, I can take different points of view into account. While doing so, these can come into casual conversations. These can be formal dialogues. These can exist as informal, off-the-record discussions over food with members of community.

Trinity Western University is the most prominent university in Canada for private universities, for Christian universities, for Evangelicals. A university with a student population larger than the local community. In this context, it becomes important to analyze.

Examine the fundaments, the basics of the theological community. A community of religious individuals devout, worshipful, Evangelical, and divinely inspired by their theity, Christ Almighty as declared in the Bible. Those in whom “pretty childish” myths — to quote Albert Einstein — are taken as literal truths upon which to live one’s life. Thusly, a community of pretty childish moral stories and, therefore, morality.

At one point, a community covenant was mandatory for all faculty, staff, administration… and students.

In 2018, unfortunate — for them, they lost 7–2 in a nationally infamous court case at the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada. Upon failing to achieve law school status, they removed mandatory status of the Community Covenant. However, this was only for students, not staff, faculty, or administration.

In this sense, they didn’t remove the authority structure upon which the Community Covenant could be enforced; the students are awash in a theology against homosexual unions with only an affirmation of heterosexual unions, which was the — ahem — crux of the issue for them.

Now, the moral of the story is the morals; they aren’t truly there. In fact, as with the longest-standing president of any Canadian university, of any type, in Canadian history, there was a controversial case. It was former TWU president Neil Snider acting as president for over 30 years and then receiving — well before MeToo — a sexual harassment claim.

In the 2000s, a former employee made a formal sexual harassment complaint against Snider. The former employee did this through the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. The student newspaper, at the time, claimed the charge was not only against Snider, but also against the university, as a whole, for failing to respond “adequately” to the filing.

Now, bear in mind, Snider lead the university from a few hundred to several thousand students. The complaint was dropped with some promises of changes to the internal systems. Now, the moral of the story isn’t the morals here. Although, the hypocrisy is glaring because this starts with the presumably highest moral exemplar within the university at the time.

In some field work, I have come across some different views on this case. Some students, probably a lot, have zero idea about this case. One current member on the pay roll stated anonymously, ‘Snider was a sexual predator.’ Another former member who knew him noted how his wife or partner had died. They went into a long harangue about the difficulties of it — no doubt. Also, no doubt excuse-making about to ensue. They claimed, “He was lonely.”

A lonely man, therefore, unimpeachable; this gives a sense of the contexts in which authority and theology combine to create a veil of excusing the inexcusable at a postsecondary institution proclaiming itself living in the image of Christ. I don’t recall that parable.

In journalism, the different points of view can give light into the statistical perspectival imagination of a community or present glaring hypocrisies in the midst of obvious truisms. If you wish to pursue a life in independent journalism, you will have more freedom of expression and more consequences; however, often, this will make your path an alone one, assiduous, and finding challenge in challenging centers of unjustifiable power.

Photo by Microsoft 365 on Unsplash

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist. Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email.

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