At Cedarville University, we strive for academic excellence with Gospel purpose. We believe the Bible is God’s Word. We have chapel five days a week, a Bible minor in each of more than 100 accredited programs of study, and a biblical worldview in every class. We have a doctrinal statement and a community covenant that every faculty and staff member affirms, and that is what has recently attracted a good bit of attention.
J.D. Winteregg, a high school French teacher who used to serve as an adjunct online instructor for Cedarville, released a campaign ad against Speaker John Boehner parodying a Cialis commercial. Some have contended that Cedarville University gave into pressure from Speaker John Boehner and fired J.D. Winteregg. That is not true.
Here are the facts. First, we did not fire Winteregg. He completed his contract and finished teaching his one online French class. He was, however, informed by the Academic Vice President that we would not request his services in the future.
Second, we did not receive any communication from Speaker John Boehner or his office.
J.D. Winteregg’s ad was creative and clever but inappropriate. It may have gained him name recognition for future political pursuits but does it represent what Cedarville University expects from its professors?
Every faculty member affirms our Community Covenant, which includes the following:
- We covenant together to express our love for others through acts of kindness, wholesome and uplifting speech, redemptive expressions of confrontation and forgiveness, merciful acts to those in need, and loving proclamation of the gospel.
- We covenant together to be people of integrity and self-control, truthful in our speech, honest in our conduct, and morally pure in both thought and action.
- As a Christ-centered learning community, we understand that we are role models; and students, as well as others, observe our values, our conduct and our work ethic. This not only takes place as we perform our University function, but in our non-work and home environments as well.
Many people who watched the video will agree that it does not reflect the values and high standards expressed in our Community Covenant. We must engage the culture, but we must do so with statesmanship. I like a good joke as much as anyone but does this type of humor set a proper academic and spiritual example for Cedarville students?
Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” We will all fail to keep biblical commands at some point. When we fail, we repent and keep growing. But as followers of Christ, we must constantly seek to live up to the commands of Scripture or we lose respect and our witness to others.
After all the second greatest commandment, Jesus said, was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” While that doesn’t usually play out in politics, it should at a Christian University.