Holding unpopular opinions in today's society


#1

A couple of days ago I had an experience that was a little disheartening for me.

I’m a graduate student in a fairly prestigious law program. Obviously, the law is an area where society and my faith tend to conflict quite a lot, and the school I attend would be considered quite “left wing”. I don’t shove my faith down anyone’s throat, but I also don’t shy away from expressing contrary opinions to the more controversial topics, like gender identity, medical aid in dying, reproductive technologies, abortion, etc.

In a class this past week we were discussing the issues associated with extending medical aid in dying to children and with refusing to assign children genders at birth, both of which are hot topics in children’s law right now. I gave my opinions, and I feel I was respectful. However, other students were not reprimanded when they were making disparaging noises when I said something they disagreed with - which I am sure would have happened had the reverse been true. Further, after class, one of my classmates approached me and thanked me for raising the issues I had brought forward because she agreed with me, but didn’t feel comfortable in that environment saying anything.

I hold firm to the idea that beliefs are beliefs. Mine are based on a faith and a 2000 year tradition, and theirs are based on whatever they are based on, but both are just beliefs. Respect means we respect each other’s right to hold our own beliefs.

I’m toying with the idea of going to the professor and sharing what was said to me (though not who said it). The professor is new and young, however, and is more on the side of those who were being disrespectful than me.

How would you respond? I did encourage my classmate and assure them that I knew where they were coming from and could sympathize with the challenge of being Catholic in this particular school.


#2

That’s tough. The benefit of law school, with its evaluation based on the blind grading of just one exam, is that you could reasonably bring this up with the professor without fear of reprisal in your grade. If you bring it up, you could simply talk about how you expressed a viewpoint and that other students are being flat-out disrespectful. That is contrary to the idea of a robust education, and you would appreciate a reminder to the class about respect.

As a practicing lawyer, I can assure you that if opposing counsel were to act as your classmates did, the judge would likely say something. And, jurors aren’t stupid - they would see that and, likely, hold that against your opponent. As always, continue to love your neighbor and treat your classmates with respect, even if it is not reciprocated.


#3

This isn’t an exam course, but is based on papers, assignments, presentations and participation which means it isn’t a blind grade. And the professor has already shown signs of being less than impartial toward me.


#4

I should also clarify - I’m not concerned about the students’ disrespect toward me. I’m confident in my beliefs and an older and more experienced than most of the students (because of the structure of the program, this is an undergrad course that I take as a graduate student). I was just disappointed that anyone should feel unable to speak up in class because they have a less popular opinion.


#5

From my experience at University I wouldn‘t engage at all. People can be very abusive if you go against mainstream ideas these days.

Be very careful in future jobs about expressing a Catholic view. Here in the UK, a Christian was thrown out of his social worker course because he said he believed in traditional marriage.

It’s maddening. I think you can make your opinion known and stand by it at University but you have to deal with the fact that most people have become so convinced of the craziest concepts…Fluent genders, embroys are paracites…to name a few.

All I can say, and that should encourage you, only dead fish go with the stream.


#6

That is unfortunate as in the current climate for more politically charged people on the left when someone disagrees with their opinion it’s not because they have a difference in opinion or life experience or knowledge, it’s because the other is a bad person and therefore deserves to be shut down. It’s extremely hard and frustrating to try to have a conversation with someone like that.

I’m not sure if I would speak to the professor about it, however, I would probably see the rest of discussions as a challenge to try different methods of persuasion when discussing issues to see what is more or least effective with fellow classmates.


#7

Are you a member of the Catholic Bar Association, I believe membership is free for law students.

https://cba16.wildapricot.org/membership


#8

I didn’t know about it! Thanks!


#9

Have you seen the movie or video called ’ God’s Not Dead ’ ?
On the first day of studies the professor (Kevin Sorbo ) throws down the gauntlet and declares ’ God is Dead ’ Now all sign this paper and we can commence our philosophy studies. One student (Shane Harper ) refuses to sign and thats when the fireworks start. The professor puts God on trial and the student finds himself in the dock defending God. Its quite good movie .
You could say that what you’re experiencing in your law studies is like ’ the seperation of the sheep from the goats '. Christians are counter cultural.


#10

Law school professors are generally biased and it shows. It takes a true giant in his or her field to get past this bias in a teaching situation. I’ve seen a handful of professors who did it very well. Most do not.

When you get into the profession you will also find some biased law firm partners and biased judges. I note that the bias falls on both sides so some of them are likely to be biased in favor of your views and some will be biased against.

As for being afraid to speak up in class, people who are hoping to practice law need to get over fear of an “unpopular opinion”. When they have to raise an unpopular argument in court to help their client win, their job is to help their client and they would be failing in their duty if they did not raise the argument for fear of its being unpopular. So tell your friend to man up and say what is on their mind next time. The reason why there are class discussions and seminars and such is to get people in the habit of airing their opinions. If somebody else is rude enough to make a disparaging noise or remark then they are just showing their immaturity and as the other poster said, if they did that in a courtroom they would be reprimanded.


#11

I think you have spoken well enough already, and I am not sure what more you can gain by speaking to the professor. It may be too much to hope that anyone’s mind will be changed. If the professor addresses the class about respecting other’s views, that might be useful but it depends on how the professor says it (and how he lives it out by his own example).


#12

In Lending when the lender feels Insecure they call the entire loan due, even while payments have been agreed upon. It’s a case by case basis. Just pat yourself on the back and go forward.

Strengthen your defending the faith in love so emotions don’t get the best of you. One plants the seed, another waters and God does the growing. The disgust might not have had to do with religion. Could it have been that graphic nature of the thing in general?


#13

I admire your courage. I think most Catholics just clam up under that kind of social pressure, even in Church I might add, let alone society. I hope you continue that way for the rest of your life. Get used to it. It is everywhere. I will say the private sector is usually a little better than school environments. People honor real diversity more than they talk about it, or perhaps just care less - less political correctness. But even these environments can be ‘progressive’ in a very militant way; this depends on the company, the job. Agree this behavior amounts to intimidation, suppression of free speech rights. McCarthyism. I would take it seriously, get a thick skin, but don’t give in to it. Be careful. Use discretion. Pick your battles. But if it matters, stick to your guns.


#14

I think this is what you should tell the professor.

And try not to exemplify with your self too much, make sure they don’t try to make it your personal issue. i wouldn’t expect success nowadays except in finding others that think like you.


#15

To be fair, a philosophy professor would definitely be thrown out for that.

Honestly, my biggest problem IRL is little slips. Like I mentioned something about finding a local hotel for a visiting gentleman, and that seemed to shock everyone.


#16

People really aren’t good at dealing with different opinions these days.


#17

Gotta be careful nowadays because some opinions could label you as transphobic. I’m in law school and there are a few trans students and I’ve shyed away from saying how I feel about gender ideologies.


#18

There’s no such thing as a fair discussion nowadays. Just watch CNN or any media. They’re all leftists. We are in the midst of a culture war.

The left will shut you down by ridiculing your beliefs, giving you no time to speak, or switching the discussion from one of your beliefs to another so that you have no time to direct the conversation.

I would not speak to the professor about this. Remember you need to show strength, and the strength of the truth is the last impression you left them with. Your buddy is going to have to fight his own battle to be heard.

Next time you discuss something, you will have to be the one asking questions. That way you put them on the hot seat. Put anything they say to the test with a question. So, for instance, in the discussion on abortion, if somebody says a woman has a right to control her own body, you ask, is a child the same thing as the woman’s body or is it a separate being with its own DNA?

Also, if somebody snickers, you have to call it right away. You need to be savvy about your enemy if you hope to win any arguments or even stand your ground.

If I were becoming a lawyer, I would learn how to speak on hot button topics through an organization like Catholic Voices.

https://www.catholicvoices.ca/speakers-training/https://www.catholicvoices.ca/speakers-training/


#19

:slight_smile: Maybe God is using you to help our Christian brethren who are and will be dragged before the courts in the future for refusing to bow down to this madness sweeping across the west.

Such madness, this would be so comical if it wasn’t actually happening and didn’t have such devastating consequences.

I’d consider it a badge of honor. lol, they say children shouldn’t be assigned a gender? my goodness, what absolute madness, they are the ones to be laughed and scoffed at for such folly. Just like the ones in California putting two men on a child’s birth certificate (apparently no one stopped to ask ‘who gave birth?’), these people are nut jobs, if they want to scoff or laugh at me I’m not offended in the least, I’d be upset if they didn’t lol.

That’s not true, it’s not a belief that I am a male, it is a fact.

The following I believe will help - http://www.ncregister.com/blog/benjamin-wiker/benedict-vs.-the-dictatorship-of-relativism

I personally wouldn’t bother, especially if the professor him/herself holds the same kind of madness to actually buy into such nonsense gender theory ideas or to consider murdering children with euthanasia and abortion.

Expose the madness when you can like you did, let them scoff and laugh, stay strong. I would be honored to join that other classmate and shake your hand. Good job. :slight_smile:

I hope this has helped

God Bless You

Thank you for reading.


#21

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