Religious colleges and universities in America are growing at a breakneck pace. In this startling new book, journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley explores these schools-interviewing administrators, professors, and students-to produce the first popular, accessible, and comprehensive investigation of this phenomenon.
Call them the Missionary Generation. By the tens and hundreds of thousands, some of America's brightest and most dedicated teenagers are opting for a different kind of college education. It promises all the rigor of traditional liberal arts schools, but mixed with religious instruction from the Good Book and a mandate from above.
Far removed from the medieval cloisters outsiders imagine, schools like Wheaton, Thomas Aquinas, and Brigham Young are churning out a new generation of smart, worldly, and ethical young professionals whose influence in business, medicine, law, journalism, academia, and government is only beginning to be felt.
In God On The Quad, Riley takes readers to the halls of Brigham Young, where surprisingly with-it young Mormons compete in a raucous marriage market and prepare for careers in public service. To the infamous Bob Jones, post interracial dating ban, where zealous Christian fundamentalists are studying fine art and great literature to help them assimilate into the nation's cultural centers. To Thomas Aquinas College, where graduates homeschool large families and hope to return the American Catholic Church to its former glory. To Yeshiva, Wheaton, Notre Dame, and more than a dozen other schools, big and small, rich and poor, new and old, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, and even Buddhist, all training grounds for the new Missionary Generation.
With a critical yet sympathetic eye, Riley, a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Weekly Standard, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, studies these campuses and the debates that shape them. In a post-9/11 world where the division between secular and religious has never been sharper, what distinguishes these colleges from their secular counterparts? What does the missionary generation think about political activism, feminism, academic freedom, dating, race relations, homosexuality, and religious tolerance-and what effect will these young men and women have on the United States and the world?