Chris Brady has already mentioned the appearance of the SBL’s latest foray into group-think. I’ll simply observe, and you can take it or leave it, that whilst I have absolutely nothing but the greatest respect for the Executives of SBL, I can’t help but feeling that this is simply a sign of the times. Id est- yet another manifestation of the ever increasing movement towards intellectual conformity as manifested in uniform, controlled, ideology.
Think this way, act this way, adopt this attitude, conform to a standard from above as determined by persons you do not know. That’s the aim and goal of all ‘Professional conduct’ guidelines.
I suppose in a day when professionalism in general is slipping by the wayside (I’m thinking of public school teachers who wear spanks and jeggings to class each day) and executives wear blue jeans festooned with holes (like Steve Jobs loved to do) and casual Friday has become casual every day (with hardly a parson in the country wearing more than cutoffs and a tank top on Sunday morning) there is indeed a need to remind folk that they should behave a certain way.
And as sad as it is to say it, we do live in a time when women in particular are treated as inferior citizens in the academic world. And they continue to be harassed and ignored. Those injustices, and all injustice, needs to be eradicated. But will a code of conduct achieve that? What if the good old boy network still wields power when charges are brought and there’s plenty of ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ going on?
But how far is too far? When does SBL become an island where ‘Lord of the Flies’ is acted out? How long before certain people are out or certain books are out or certain publishers are out? It’s already a fact that the poor silly Fundamentalists are marginalized even though, on many issues, they are sensible and deserve a hearing and they are far better exegetes and linguists than their more liberal counterparts who don’t mind who reads scripture how. They came for the fundies and we were silent. They came for the minimalists and we stood by. When they come for you, who will stand with you?
Of course many no longer believe in the reality of the slippery slope, but I can assure you, it does exist. So, I suppose we do need a code of conduct. I like the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. But I suppose those are too outdated to be of use to our enlightened society. Or perhaps I’m just too libertarian to think that more rules will make the world a better place or the SBL a better society.