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Coons: I Will Bring Yale Divinity School Values to Senate

Witchcraft, Queer Worship, socialism taught at school: O'Donnell opponent salutes atheism.

By 9.27.10

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Serving in the United States Senate would be a "great way for me to apply the principles and values that were honed at YDS." --Delaware Democrat and U.S. Senate nominee Chris Coons, to the Yale Divinity School Notes from the Quad, September, 2010

Wow.

Chris Coons, the supposedly sure-thing Democratic opponent of Delaware Republican U.S. Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell, gave an interview published this month in Notes from the Quad, a publication of the Yale Divinity School (YDS) -- the school where Coons spent the early 1990s earning a Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) specializing in ethics, graduating in 1994.

Topic? 

Coons repeatedly expressed his determination to bring what he calls Yale Divinity School "values" to the U.S. Senate and public life in general. He wants, he says, to "put the educational and faith-formation experience of YDS into practice in the world." Coons says he has always been interested in "values-based leadership" and "enjoys the challenge of integrating across the practical and the values based." He sees his function as a public official as engaging in a "values formation role" and says he intends to use elected office as a chance to "apply the principles and values that were honed at YDS." After listing the issues he would face in the U.S. Senate he says that making the "tough choices…is all about values-based leadership."

So. 

If you've spent two or three years in a significant institution of learning like the Yale Divinity School getting a Master's degree in Religion -- and boast that when elected to the United States Senate you intend to bring the values you learned at that institution to Washington and the world, then the question becomes, in the case of Chris Coons:

What values does Yale Divinity School teach?

Values are transmitted by a university in at least three ways: courses, assigned reading, and last but certainly not least through the leadership and professors of the school. Which makes the following three questions about the Yale Divinity School values Chris Coons insists he will bring to Washington very important questions. They are:

• What kind of values are taught in Yale Divinity School courses?

• What kind of values are found in the books Yale Divinity School assigns as required reading to its students?

• What kind of values are role modeled by the professors or leaders of Yale Divinity School through their own writings and publications?

So. Are you sitting down? Sure? Good. We begin.

Yale Divinity School Courses and Required Reading

• Witchcraft and Witch Hunting: Specifically listed as REL 717: Witchcraft and Witch Hunting, the "REL" presumably stands for "Religion." Apparently Christine O'Donnell's main offense when it comes to dabbling in witchcraft in high school on a date is some sort of Ruling Class snobbery that she didn't go to Yale Divinity School, where witchcraft has been quite officially part of the school's curriculum. The very same school from which Chris Coons insists he has taken his values.

Not to get too non-Ruling Class here, but, like, cool! What do you study at Yale Divinity School when you are learning the values behind witchcraft as officially assigned on the Witchcraft reading list? (As opposed, of course, to non-Ruling Class girls doing the teenage-rebellion thing in high school.)

Well, apparently Witchcraft for the Ruling Class (graduate school division) consists in re-classifying witchcraft as -- don't you just love this? -- multiculturalism. That's right. Multiculturalism. Ahhhh but of course! The multicultural perspective on witchcraft! So what about the reading on witchcraft? If only Christine O'Donnell had just gotten a heads up on the Yale Divinity School-approved reading list for witchcraft! For example, let's peer into one of the assigned Yale Divinity School reading texts on the subject: Witches of the Atlantic World: An Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook.

What is this book all about? Well, Amazon.com tells us in its "Product Description" section that this bit of assigned reading from the Yale Divinity School, the precise Yale Divinity School from which Chris Coons proudly tells us he gets his values -- values he wants to bring to Washington -- that "this unique anthology is the first to provide a multicultural perspective on witchcraft…."

So in other words, Christine O'Donnell's real mistake when she mentioned a rebellious teenage-date while on Bill Maher's show over a decade ago was that she didn't blush and gush: "Ohhhhh Bill, witchcraft is sooooooooo multicultural."

Of course, not being a member of the Ruling Class like the Ruling Class Hollywood Bill, who has demonstrated his sophistication by smartly declaiming on The Conan O'Brien Show that Americans are "stupid" -- Christine O'Donnell was made to sound clueless. When in fact she just didn't understand how smart and sophisticated -- how Yale -- her nano-second high school-rebellion date with a witchcraft guy really was. And to think Maher took video advantage of this Country Class Lass on her visit to Hollywood when across the continent in staid New Haven in 1994, Chris Coons was getting a Master's Degree from Hogwarts --sorry -- the Yale Divinity School.

Yale Divinity School, the school that quite officially teaches witchcraft values -- make that multicultural witchcraft values -- in a course labeled "RELIGION 786." Or, as they might say at Hogwarts, Witchcraft 101.

Two questions: Is Bill Maher really Lord Voldemort? Is Chris Coons Draco Malfoy without the hair?

But let us not be Bewitched (sorry, Samantha). There's more than studying Witchcraft going on at Yale Divinity, the place from which Chris Coons says he gets his values. There is, for example:

Queer Worship. You read that right. The formal name for this course is REL 786, Liturgy and Gender (Queer Worship). Queer Worship, you see, stands for…stands for…well, let's just say the course description says in the wonderfully baroque style of academia that the course offers students like Mr. Coons once was "the opportunity to reflect critically on how ….queer theories and theologies are impacting how Christian worship is performed and reflected upon."

Uh-huh.

So, what does one do if absorbing the values of Queer Worship? When one tires of reading up on the multicultural wonders of witchcraft, of course. If one is intent on becoming a United States Senator from Delaware, and transmitting the values of Queer Worship as you guide the ship of state -- what do you read?

Well, the official Yale Divinity School reading list -- the same one that presents witchcraft as an example of multiculturalism -- suggests (OK, mandates; this is the school's official reading list) Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism is a great place to start. And Queer Globalizations? What values are to be found there? A check over at Amazon shows such interesting chapters and sections as "The Wily Homosexual" "Queer Values in a Global Economy" "Redecorating the International Economy: Keynes, Grant and the Queering of Bretton Woods," "Stealth Bombers of Desire," and, um, more of exactly the kind of values Chris Coons promises (or is that threatens?) to bring to the United States Senate.

Feminist/Womanist/Gendered Theologies:This course is listed as "REL 749." It is designed, the course description says, "to formulate a robust theological understanding of today's theopolitical issues" by "using feminist, womanist, and ethnic gendered theologies." Womanist theology? That would be? A religious movement focusing on how exactly to liberate -- there's that pesky Marxist word again -- African women in America. Drawn from feminist and liberation theology, there appears to be not a word of Witchcraft 101 or Queer Worship in this course.

Mandatory YDS reading for this gem? Since this course includes but is certainly not limited to liberating African women in America, can you guess what leads the reading list? Why, what better book to have on your shelf in the U.S. Senate if you're Chris Coons than a tome on Liberation Theology, Feminist Division? (Presuming you've already gotten the Witchcraft and Queer Worship collection in hand.) The Marxism-as-Christianity philosophy that Mr. Coons himself favored when hustling over to South Africa to volunteer for the Liberation Theology crowd that is the South African Council of Churches. Liberation Theology, remember, originated in Latin America -- and sure enough the first book on the mandatory reading list is the classic (?) Mujerista Theology by Ada Maria Asisi-Diaz. Mujerista theology brings it all together. Feminist theology and Latin American liberation theology nicely stirred so that when Coons is assigned to, say, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Delaware voters can rest assured the values Coons learned at Yale Divinity School are shared with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Introduction to Christian Ethics II:Yet another opportunity here in "REL 715" for Coons to study up on his favorites. Black Liberation Theology guru James Cone is mandatory reading here. Values taught in the reading for a class on Christianity? In God of the Oppressed Cone salutes the values of Marx in a chapter called "Marx and the Sociology of Knowledge" while also musing about "Jesus is Black and the "Meaning of Liberation."

Think of this. Marxism being taught in a course on Christian Ethics. Now there's an interesting value.

Perhaps even more telling about the Yale Divinity School values Chris Coons professes to admire are those learned through the mandatory reading of The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience by Ronald J. Sider. 

Who is Ronald J. Sider?

Sider, is, like Coons, a Yale Divinity School graduate and "social justice" advocate.

He is described by fellow left-wing evangelist Tony Campolo this way: "If it looks liberal, and it smells liberal, and it tastes liberal, it's liberal." Sider pushes the values behind the idea that Evangelical Christians "are more likely to hold racist views than other people" and that capitalism is sinful if not outright immoral. Says he in the language of the values admired at Yale Divinity School:

If God's Word is true, then all of us who dwell in affluent nations are trapped in sin. We have profited from systematic injustice.… We are guilty of an outrageous offense against God and neighbor.

Sider has his own think tank, the Sider Center working with the Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA). The ESA began with the issuing of "The Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern" (linked at the website above), a gem of a value-laden left-wing document that says in part:

We must attack the materialism of our culture and the maldistribution of the nation's wealth and services…. Before God and a billion hungry neighbors, we must rethink our values regarding our present standard of living and promote a more just acquisition and distribution of the world's resources.

In other words, these would be the values of wealth redistribution and social justice of not only Yale Divinity School and Obama-enthusiast Chris Coons -- but yes indeed, the Obama administration itself.

We could go on and on and on here. There isn't room enough to talk in depth about the values to be found in the mandatory reading that is, say, Indecent Theology. This value driven beauty of a book, according to its reviews, integrates "Latin American liberation theology, feminist theology, queer theology, and other theologies of the poor and oppressed" to emphasize that "all theology is sexual."

And so on.

Are we getting the idea of what kind of values so impressed Mr. Coons at Yale Divinity School? This is a school devoted to the divinity of secular leftist extremism, the philosophical golden calf that is the real God at the center of Yale Divinity School. This is the real core set of values taught to students like Chris Coons.

And Chris Coons is dead serious about bringing these Yale Divinity School values to Washington.

LET'S MOVE FROM THE COURSES and reading list of Yale Divinity School on to the third category, personnel. The people on the ground who help run the place. Here are but two who are representative of the larger belief system on full display in terms of courses and reading material offered or required. It must be noted here that no one is questioning their First Amendment rights to speak or write their beliefs. Rather, the point is the stunning lack of intellectual diversity, itself a notable value in a prestigious school whose values Chris Coons insists he will bring with him to Washington if elected.

Yale Divinity School Professors:

Thomas Ogletree: The Dean of the Yale Divinity School during Coons' time at YDS was Thomas Ogletree. Professor Ogletree has also been the Frederick Marquand Professor Emeritus of Ethics and Religious Studies at YDS. He is now listed among "Faculty Emeriti" after years of teaching Ethics, the very subject in which Coons received his degree from YDS. 

A snapshot of Dr. Ogletree's view of the world that he imparted to his Ethics students can be found in a 1974 book he co-wrote that bears this title: From Hope to Liberation: Towards a New Marxist-Christian Dialogue Co-wrote? And with whom did Professor Ogletree, future Dean of Yale Divinity School and Ethics Professor for almost two decades, have as his co-author?

That would be the late Herbert Aptheker. The same Mr. Aptheker who is known to history famously in the day as a prominent member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and the founder of the American Institute of Marxist Studies.

Sister Margaret A. Farley: Sister Margaret, Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics -- Ethics being Coons' focus at YDS -- has her own interesting background. She shares with a late colleague the fact of being the first Catholic member of the YDS faculty.

But Sister Margaret is not your run-of-the-mill Catholic nun. She is, in Catholic circles, famous as the Sister of Mercy feminist, pro-abortion activist. In 1984, Sister Margaret signed a statement supporting abortion that appeared as an ad in the New York Times. In a review of Sister Margaret's book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, Anne Barbeau Gardiner, herself a Professor Emerita (of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York), titled her review of Sister Margaret's book: Reverend Mother Libertine. Ouch. Why? Because among other things Sister Margaret is a staunch supporter of abortion, defends masturbation, "heaps contempt on the Catholic view that marriage involves the 'total gift' of self," "contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church by endorsing divorce and remarriage," and makes a "full-throated defense of homosexual relationships." Or, again quoting Gardiner, "defends the entire gamut of sexual activity outside of marriage."

One does not have to be a Catholic, as I am not, to understand instantly that all of these positions are in flagrant opposition to Catholic Church doctrine. If one disagrees with such vehemence on the fundamentals of one's religious faith, is it ethical to claim the privileges bestowed by the church on a nun? Yale obviously sees no conflict-of-values here, not the slightest ethical problem in the world. Which is presumably why Sister Margaret gets to teach Ethics at Yale Divinity School. And why Yale Divinity School has a "Margaret A. Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics."

Really.

One last Yale Divinity School values reading assignment to take a look at in order to understand the values of Chris Coons and what they really mean for both Delaware voters and the rest of America.

That course would be Just Hospitality. REL 922. The mandatory reading features The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Written some thirty years ago by Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator who died in 1997, Freire was…can you guess? -- a committed socialist. 

Now.

LET'S WIND UP by keeping the focus on Chris Coons, the Democrat opposing Christine O'Donnell for the U.S. Senate in Delaware.

Coons is already holding public office, the job of New Castle County Executive. Knowing that he is eager to implement the values he so "animatedly" (in the words of his interview) embraces, how has he gone about this in New Castle County?

Here are but two examples of his Yale Divinity School values at work in New Castle.

Prevailing wage costs: Coons put the Yale Divinity School social justice philosophy to work as a county council president by voting for a prevailing wage provision for county-funded construction projects. The ordinance insisted in its language that the social justice policy "means lower construction costs on public projects." A year later, on October 1, 2004, the Wilmington News-Journal's Ron Williams reported that, lo and behold, as a result of Coons actions the prevailing wage provision not only didn't lower construction costs as promised, this Yale Divinity School value in action "has cost taxpayers more than $4 million for 12 county contracts" -- meaning an extra $4 million than would have been the case without applying this particular YDS value. Coons also voted to have "the County or its Agents" authorized to inspect any employer's private payroll records "to ensure compliance," the latter precisely the type of "soft tyranny" that has helped ignite the Tea Party.

Sick Leave Policy: In 2008 Coons employed his Yale Divinity School values to pay $1.2 million in taxpayer monies to just 58 county retirees -- for unused sick time. The next year -- 2009 -- he did the same thing, this time paying over $600,000 to just 40 county retirees for unused sick leave. When taxpayers protested Coons made clear he had no intention of changing the policy.

Sound familiar? The wildly wrong spending estimates, the intrusion by government into the private sector, the stiff arrogance and refusal to change course when constituents express concern? This is, of course, the core Obama/left-wing value system at work, the values taught day-in-and-day-out at Yale Divinity School.

Coons, reported his YDS interviewer, "animatedly" vowed he was determined to bring the values he learned at YDS to Washington as a Delaware Senator. Those values -- formed by a school teaching Witchcraft as multiculturalism, Queer Worship, feminist theology, liberation theology and recognizing a Catholic nun as an ethicist because she openly opposes Catholic doctrine while accepting the offices and honors of her church -- would be considered little short of bizarre by millions of Americans were they aware of them. Tellingly, like many liberals who live out the famous quote from the late liberal New Yorker film reviewer Pauline Kael (who is said by the New York Times to have remarked after Nixon's 49-state victory over George McGovern that she couldn't understand this because "I only know one person who voted for Nixon"), Coons is clueless, adrift in the liberal bubble.

Yet his background, beyond a cursory and predictably shallow look at his Amherst-college "Bearded Marxist" article, is being completely ignored by a liberal media obsessed with painting Christine O'Donnell as some sort of out-of-the-mainstream kook.

OH YES. DON'T FORGET the values behind the Coons appeal to atheists.

That's right. To top all of this off Coons also said his job as a public official was to show that "I… value those that have no faith in a higher being." Which is to say, not satisfied with the values he has learned from a school that instructs on the multiculturalism of witches not to mention the values found behind Queer Worship, socialists and Marxists, Coons is making a determined pitch for the atheist vote. What a guy! What values!

And Christine O'Donnell is not in the mainstream? How utterly laughable. Among other lessons in looking at the values Coons promotes is the realization that liberals who study in glass covens shouldn't throw broomsticks.

Again. Hello? Republican Establishment? Delaware is in the middle of one of the greatest smear campaigns in recent American political history -- purposely designed to distract from the reality of what is happening all over America right this minute.

Why? Are you kidding?

Without doubt, the central problem in America at this instant is the economy -- no jobs, no paychecks, bankruptcies, lost homes, lost savings. Americans are quite justifiably both livid and scared to death.

And what values does Chris Coons insist he will bring to bear on this problem?

The values taught at Yale Divinity School. Values exemplified by the exotic, overripe teachings, readings, preachings, and writings of socialists, Marxists, and camp followers of Liberation Theology who believe in one variation or another that capitalism is immoral, a sin. This includes the one-time Dean Thomas Ogletree and his late writing partner the American Communist Party's Herbert Aptheker, the assigned writings of Liberation Theology's James Cone, Ronald Sider the anti-capitalist Evangelical leftist, and the Brazilian socialist Paulo Freire. Their philosophy, it is now abundantly clear, is at the core of the values taught by the Yale Divinity School that Coons so admires.

Except, of course, these values are already in Washington. These are the values (think the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in the first place.

These values are in fact the centerpiece of the Obama Administration and the actions of the Harry Reid-led U.S. Senate Coons hopes to join. These are the values that are in the process of turning America from a job-and-paycheck entrepreneurial society to a nation of food stamp recipients as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently noted on The Sean Hannity Show.

In fact, the left-wing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- say again, that's left-wing!! -- reports that the number of food stamp cases in Delaware has shot up over 45% in just two years -- a tragic reminder of exactly what happens when the Yale Divinity School values Chris Coons so admires become public policy.

Which makes the question for voters in Delaware and across the country a simple one: paycheck or food stamps? A job -- or begging from the government?

When you cut through all the academic jargon, intellectual pretense, and nonsense, the end result of the values Chris Coons wishes to bring to Washington from the Yale Divinity School are the same as they always are with the dismal socialist experiment through the centuries. Inducing poverty, financial and personal humiliation, they are legendary in creating unsustainable debt and the cruelest of economic misery. In the case of the values learned at Yale Divinity School by Coons this is all served up with a side dish of utter nuttiness.

And that's no joke.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.