Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has on the strength of his 1989 master's thesis attracted considerable attention to Regent University, his Pat Robertson-founded alma mater. Even piquing the Washington Post to pen an expansive piece about the school.
Since McDonnell's thesis looked with a jaundiced eye on working women, the creation of tax credits for child care, feminism, homosexuality in general and the use of contraception by married couples, Regent students are a little worried about being misunderstood in this perhaps more enlightened era.
Helpfully, WaPo Staff Writer Ian Shapira collected a list of more recent theses, writing:
Student theses archived at Regent's library reveal a generational difference between the school's early years in the 1980s, when it was known as Christian Broadcasting Network University, and its recent history. Early theses have titles such as "The Role of the Press in Disseminating Communist Propaganda as a Foreign Policy Strategy of Totalitarian Governments," and "Homosexuals' American Dream . . . or Nightmare," a study that advocated "Criminalizing Homosexuality -- The First Line of Defense." Thesis titles from the 21st century: "U2's Gospel of Modulation in a Decade of Change" and "Federal Funding for Needle Exchange Programs," which advocated the idea as a way to prevent HIV.
That should clear things up. About Regent. Not about McDonnell. Post-thesis revelation poll numbers showed McDonnell's opponent had moved to within striking range:
Dramatic shifts among independent female voters and Northern Virginians over the past month have propelled Democrat R. Creigh Deeds to within four points of Republican Robert F. McDonnell in the race for Virginia governor, according to a new Washington Post poll.
The change among likely voters -- down from a 15-point margin in mid-August -- coincides with the publication and ensuing controversy surrounding McDonnell's graduate school thesis, in which he writes of his opposition to working women, feminists and gay people.
Sigh. Maybe being a true, red (blue isn't Republican) member of the Christian Right ain't what it used to be. After all, McDonnell has been a good Ralph Reedster, attracting Reed's help and praise in the early days. McDonnell is a political child of Robertson's Christian Coalition and enjoys the group's current support.
But you don't have to use or subscribe to misguided terms like Paliban to see that those alliances and any associated thesis-embalmed views are no longer taint free and cannot be retrospectively disowned.