By Vincent Schiffiano, M.A. Student
Recently the M.A. in Human Rights student met with Dr. Kent Hill. Dr. Hill is an example of a man whose life will never run out of stories and is as varied as it is accomplished. Beginning his journey as a fallen-away Christian in college, he decided to pursue Russian studies in an effort to avoid the military draft.
This led him to study in Russia where he encountered a group of Russian Pentecostals who were being persecuted for their faith. He quickly took up a job as their interpreter. From there he began a life dedicated to religious freedom and human rights around the world, serving in academia, government, NGOs, and other fields. He has advocated for human rights in a variety of capacities, including with USAID, World Vision, and the Religious Freedom Institute.
Dr. Hill’s message to us was one of firmness but kindness. His message centered around the importance of respecting those with whom you disagree and always treating them as human persons, while at the same time firmly making arguments for what we believe in.
We who believe in morally orthodox viewpoints must not be afraid to draw on our rich intellectual tradition to argue for our point of view. This does not include being nasty or hateful towards anyone (a tactic which is usually counterproductive), but it also calls us not to just roll over and ask for exceptions to be made for us.
Overall, we learned from Dr. Hill the importance of truth in charity. We have a beautiful truth that we hold dear and we must use our lives and vocations to bring that truth to the rest of the world.