Bryan College Students Host Christianity in Politics Debate

4 weeks ago Triangle 0

Written by: Daeana Barkubein, area editor

DAYTON, Tenn.–In partnership with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Bryan College sophomore Darien Barret organized and hosted a debate in Mercer 312 at 8:00-9:30 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 23 about the place of Christian values in politics.

To offer multiple perspectives, four different students with political views ranging from far right to far left were chosen as speakers: Junior Joshua Bianchi (Ultraconservative), Senior Alexander Daniels (Constitutionalist), Senior Jack Dunn (Christian Libertarian), and Junior Mathaus Schwarzen (Democratic Socialist).

The event was prefaced with an opening address given by Senior Joshua Robe, president of Bryan’s AEI chapter. He informed the audience about AEI activities, encouraging students to get involved.

“I can say from personal experience that [AEI’s programs] have been really beneficial. Not only have they contained a thought-provoking discussion about some of the most important issues facing our nation, but it’s a great chance to network with high-quality students,” Robe said.

After Robe’s opening remarks about AEI, debate moderator Professor Michael Palmer gave an opening statement.

Palmer said, “All of you walked in here tonight without fear, and none of you were looking over your shoulder wondering if someone’s going to inform on you. But there are lots of countries around the world tonight where if you did this, for one thing, you wouldn’t get in, you’d have to sneak in, or if you did get in, you’d be in trouble.”

(Above: Alexander Daniels speaking for the Constitutionalist side.)

After Palmer’s opening, he posed questions to the speakers, who were each given one min. to answer and 30 seconds of rebuttal if they requested it.

The questions posed concerning topics ranging from Christian perspectives on economic policy and immigration to specific matters about the appropriateness of church involvement in politics. Each panelist was expected to give their biblically and socially informed opinion on the matter.

In response to the question of whether politics should be kept out of the church, Schwarzen said, “We as Christians are supposed to take [the] word of God and apply it to our hearts and lives. That applies to our lives should be what dictates how we vote, how we think about politics, how we believe.” 

Besides being open to Bryan students, the debate was also broadcasted on Facebook, garnering over 1,000 views to date. 

Organizer Darien Barret said, “The whole point of making this debate public was to pique the interest of Bryan students in politics and to show the student body and all who watched the debate how Christians should conduct themselves in the political realm. And I believe our mission was accomplished.”

Due to its success, the organizers and Mr. Palmer are anticipating making the debate at least an annual event. They hope to continue encouraging the student body towards possessing biblically informed political opinions that will enable them to fulfill the college’s mission of producing students who serve Christ and “make a difference in today’s world.”

(Above: the organizers and panelists with Mr. Palmer after the successful debate.)

Daeana Barkubein is a freshman area editor for the Bryan Triangle majoring in literature and minoring in communication. When not studying, she enjoys knitting, painting, and many other hobbies.