I recently visited Muhlenberg College, a traditionally Lutheran college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. When I discovered that a small minority of students are actually Lutheran, it got me thinking about the pitfalls of making assumptions about schools that have a religious affiliation. Have a look at this video.
If you prefer, you can read the transcript.
Right now I’m on the campus of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania and I’m on a college tour and visiting several different colleges that all have different religious backgrounds. I’ve visited a couple of Quaker schools now, a Methodist school, Presbyterian school, and now I’m in a Lutheran campus. And sometimes when I ask students about religion and how that plays a role in their college decision, some people can be very clear about it, other people are like I really don’t want my college experience to be religious.
But the labels can be deceiving because Muhlenberg College, for example, is a Lutheran College, but it’s about 33% Jewish and about 33% Catholic, and I think she said about less than 10%—around 10% of the students—are actually Lutheran. So while Muhlenberg has a historical relationship with the Lutheran Church and its Chapel is to die for—absolutely drop dead gorgeous on the inside; gothic architectures, stained glass windows, the whole nine yards in terms of the religious symbolism and imagery—the student body is not necessarily Lutheran. In fact, Muhlenberg has one of the strongest Hillel programs for Jewish students anywhere in the world—anywhere in the country.
So make sure, as you’re looking at colleges and you see that religious label—whether it’s Catholic or Methodist, or Presbyterian, or Church of Christ, or Lutheran—that may or may not have anything to do with the actual composition of the student body or the spiritual orientation of the school itself. So look beyond the labels and see what the truth really is about a college.