I was sent a copy of the letter by a group of former and current students objecting to my scheduled appearance at John Brown University on Thursday, February 2. I appreciate the courage of the students who signed the letter and welcome their criticism and condemnation of me as simply a part of the current American political process. Let me assure you that being accused of everything from being “too Christian” to “not being Christian enough” is something I’m accustomed to.
I hope the students will attend my address and the question/answer session to follow. There’s no better way to build bridges than to actually get to know someone—not for what has been reported in the increasingly discredited US news media, but in an honest and open forum. It’s truly what a university experience should be about—going to the source and getting information unfiltered by those who have an agenda to misrepresent and misreport.
For the record, I was honored to have received an honorary doctorate at John Brown University in 1995. My wife Janet is a proud graduate of JBU and served several years on its board of trustees. One of my dearest and closest friends is Jonathan Barnett, a JBU grad, whose generosity created the lecture series at which I will speak in memory of his remarkable parents, Ray and Lorraine Barnett, who like Jonathan and his brothers and sisters, have made Siloam Springs and JBU their home for generations.
It’s my sincere hope to personally meet the students who are distressed by my being back on campus to speak again. Whether I resolve their concerns I can’t predict. But if they fail to attend and ask their questions, we will have missed an opportunity to engage in healthy and open dialogue.
Sincere best wishes,