DePaul University President Calls Pro-Life Message “Bigotry”

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At DePaul University in Chicago, it is now impossible to be both pro-life and pro-black lives — at least according the university’s president.

Last week, Fr. Dennis Holtschneider silenced the DePaul College Republicans, halting use of their proposed “Unborn Lives Matter” campaign on campus. In a letter explaining his decision, Holtschneider claimed, “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic and Vincentian values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community to be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.” He went on to describe the advertising campaign as “[s]peech whose primary purpose is to wound” and called it “inconsistent with our Vincentian and Catholic values.”

Holtschneider may have believed these words when he wrote them, but his accusation rests on a baseless assumption of malicious intent on the part of the College Republicans. The poster blocked by the University merely imitates a well-known, popular phrasing of a powerful message, and one that the university had a chance, and perhaps even an obligation, to promote as an avenue for unity. Is it really so difficult to consider that the group’s reappropriation of “Black Lives Matter” is more akin to others’ reappropriation of the British mantra “Keep Calm and Carry On,” for example, than it is to mocking the rallying cry of a movement seeking justice and equality for African Americans?

Furthermore, when it comes to protecting and defending black lives, it can be argued quite compellingly that the pro-life movement is at the forefront. Continue Reading

Iowa Church Faced With Censorship Over Beliefs on Sexuality

It seems the long arm of left-wing totalitarianism stretches even to Iowa.

Fort Des Moines Church of Christ is suing the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, claiming that the group is interpreting an Iowa state law in such a way to infringe on religious liberty.

A press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the church in this case, asserts that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission’s extremely broad interpretation of state laws effectively constitutes a ban on any speech that would make LGBT individuals feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

Opponents of religious liberty do not simply want tolerance of differences of opinions on human sexuality. As their fight, both formal and informal, with the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ and countless other religious organizations prove, these radicals want to remake society around their idea of self-identification.

Now, it would seem, the radical social agenda is resorting to violence of the state instead of violence of the mob.

The Iowa Civil Rights Act, which serves as the basis for the government’s policy, also requires that all organizations subject to the law must allow individuals to use bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other sensitive areas based on their “gender identification” rather than biological sex.

However, although the Commission is attempting to apply the law to the Fort Des Moines Church, all activities which happen at a church constitute genuine religious activity, and should therefore be protected by the First Amendment.

“Churches have always been protected from government intrusion, and they still are. Continue Reading

The Totalitarian Left Begins Its Crackdown on Thoughtcrimes

Photo credit: Jennifer Moo via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Yesterday here at The Pulse 2016, Jane Robbins noted a frightening implication from a federal judge’s recent decision to strike down a Mississippi religious liberty law. It is no longer enough for the left that same-sex couples receive equal treatment under the law when it comes to marriage; they must also receive full approval from every government employee:

. . . It is not enough that a clerk accommodate a same-sex couple’s demand for a marriage license by asking someone else in the office to issue it; rather, her labor must be dragooned — unnecessarily — in service of a result she finds morally objectionable.

There is something sinister about this. It reeks of Soviet-style tyranny, employed to alter the citizen’s thinking — to sanction no private space in which he or she is allowed to dissent from the State-sponsored orthodoxy. The judge and his ideological comrades are determined to control not only how every person acts, but ultimately, how every person thinks. Disagreement can mean unemployment. Perhaps, someday, it will mean something worse than that.

Lest the reader think this is something new or unprecedented, however, take a look at this story in Politico about potential Hillary Clinton VP pick, Sen. Tim Kaine. Politico points out that some progressives are not thrilled by the prospect of Kaine’s selection, including pro-abortion activists. But pay close attention to their reasoning:

If you’ve only been loosely following Kaine’s career, this reaction from the left might seem a surprise.

Continue Reading

The Media Ignores the Left’s Growing Violence

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The “storm troopers” of the radical left have been busy in recent days.

In California, open borders radicals beat up and harassed conservative activists attempting to attend the state Republican convention. There were mob attacks on individuals, which, by the way, you won’t see on the network news.

Now that’s interesting. When a 78-year old Trump supporter punched a demonstrator, we’re shown that video over and over again as evidence of rising intolerance and “fascism” in America. But what happened in California has largely been ignored. The Mexican flags were ignored. The violence and profanity of the left was ignored.

Sunday was May Day, a socialist-communist holiday. Not surprisingly, given the left’s tendencies, it ended in violence. In Seattle, police officers were assaulted with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Nine people were arrested.

FBI agents arrested a South Florida man Friday evening for plotting to fire bomb a synagogue. One press report suggested the man may be a Muslim convert.

Meanwhile, as anti-Semitic violence is reaching record-breaking levels in England, the left-wing Labour Party, led by an avowed socialist, just launched an inquiry into growing anti-Semitism within its own ranks.

And, of course, this doesn’t include the countless incidents of intimidation and harassment that take place each day on college campuses against conservative students and speakers.

In Germany, during the 1930s, Nazi thugs silenced anyone who dared to speak out against them. (By the way, the Nazis were socialists.) Today’s socialists are increasingly using violence in the same way to silence debate. Continue Reading

Silencing Conservatives on Campus

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Last week, students at Emory University found messages written in chalk at various places on the campus. Some students were traumatized and complained to the administration that they were afraid and “in pain.”

What did they see? Swastikas? Was “KKK” scrawled in large letters on the side of a dorm? Did they see the Arabic writing from the ISIS flag? No. What was so incredibly offensive to these students was, “Trump 2016!”

I thought universities were supposed to be places where the free exchange of ideas was welcomed, where diverse opinions were celebrated. Yet these students are having nervous breakdowns over chalkings of the name of the Republican presidential front-runner. Seriously. Offended students were offered “emergency counseling” by the student government association.

If they need counseling, they may have to get in line behind Emory’s president, Jim Wagner, who has joined in the collective breakdown. In an email to the Emory community, President Wagner stated that his administration was taking steps such as:

Immediate refinements to certain policy and procedural deficiencies (for example, our bias incident reporting and response process); Regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues (like the Transforming Community Project of several years ago); A formal process to institutionalize identification, review, and addressing of social justice opportunities and issues.

If I were paying tuition to Emory University, I’d be furious at how my money was being wasted.

Sadly, I suspect if someone had written “Cruz 2016!” the reaction would have been the same. Continue Reading

Dershowitz on the Left’s Intimidation Tactics to Pro-Israel and Christian Speakers

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Now that Barack Obama has delivered his last State of the Union address, we can all enjoy waving goodbye to this far left president. But even after Obama is gone, the left will retain a firm grip on many U.S. institutions, including our institutions of higher learning.

On Fox & Friends yesterday morning, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal American Jew, commented about the growing intolerance of the left. Here’s what he said:

In fact, when I was first teaching in the ’50s there were attempts to censor speech by Senator McCarthy. The right-wing was trying to censor left-wing speech. Now it’s the hard left that’s trying to censor . . . conservative speech, Christian speech, pro-Israel speech, you name it.

And this idea of safe spaces, we have to distinguish between safe spaces for ideas, there should be none, and physically safe places where you’re not intimidated or you’re not threatened. And Christian speakers, pro-Israel speakers, speakers that are not politically correct today, have their physical safety endangered.

I know when I speak on college campuses in favor of Israel, I need armed guards protecting me from radical leftist students who would use physical intimidation. They won’t give me a safe space. They won’t give pro-Israel students a safe space, they won’t give Christian students a safe space.

For example, when a group of Christians who were against abortion said all lives matter . . . they were attacked. They were told to be subject to training, and sensitivity, and the president of Smith College had to apologize for using that term.

Continue Reading

Against the Hysteria: Trump Is Helping — Not Hurting — the Political Debate

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

There have been two voices of reason amidst the hysteria in response to Donald Trump’s latest outburst. “Instead of debating the proposal in a reasoned way, the political class—both parties—and … the media are treating it as a thoughtcrime,” writes James Taranto. While there are, he notes, some good practical, policy and moral arguments to be made against Trump’s Muslim immigration proposal, the reaction of the establishment has been unhinged. The other GOP candidates who, rather than suggesting reasonable alternatives, are joining the hysteria by spouting the same P.C. bromides as The New York Times (“not who we are,” etc.) are making a big mistake. They’re leaving the field to Trump as the only candidate addressing the valid fears of the public. When a native-born Muslim-American and his Saudi bride dump their 6-month-old, and, in the name of Allah, mow down the co-workers who gave them a baby shower, we’ve got a big problem. We need to deal with it rather than giving condescending moral lectures to the American people. Hopefully, Trump won’t be the only candidate who gets this.

David French makes the even more important point that by saying outrageous things Trump is shifting the boundaries of the political debate that have been set by the P.C. left and is making it possible for others to say reasonable things. As I’ve argued previously, a main reason for the political-gravity-defying success of Trump’s candidacy is that he has given voice to the disgust with the growing tyranny of political correctness, which “is no longer just a sideshow one can joke about. Continue Reading

Pew Poll: Americans Lead the World in Commitment to Free Speech

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Yale students may be so traumatized they feel they need protection from Halloween costumes, but overall Americans lead the world in our commitment to freedom of speech as a principle, according to a new Pew global survey.

Ninety-five percent of Americans say people must be free to criticize their government publicly. When asked whether people must be free to say things that are offensive to “your religion or beliefs,” Americans chose freedom, with 77 percent acknowledging that freedom means the freedom to offend me. (Around the world, just 35 percent of people agree.) Even in the hardest case for American liberals, saying things that are offensive to minorities, 67 percent of Americans choose freedom, compared to a worldwide average of just 35 percent.

This is a very precious and unique heritage we must not lose to a set of angry adolescents, no matter how genuine their grievances.

Thank God for the First Amendment.  I mean that literally.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Will Marquette, a Jesuit University, Fire a Professor for Opposing Gay Marriage?

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Prof. John McAdams is warning that he may be fired for opposing gay marriage at Marquette University. The university is claiming it is not about free speech, but McAdams isn’t buying it:

“Marquette’s disregard of due process and its incredible denial that its campaign against McAdams’s tenure implicates free speech or academic freedom in any way should frighten anyone concerned about faculty rights,” the foundation wrote in a piece published in March in the Huffington Post. “Indeed, if the university succeeds in removing McAdams, free speech and academic freedom will lose whatever meaning they had at Marquette.”

Even as he faces the threat of losing a post he has held for nearly 40 years, McAdams remains an outspoken critic of policies and actions that trample on academic freedom and free speech, not just at Marquette, but in higher education across the country.

He pointed to the turmoil at the University of Missouri. Amid massive protests on racial unrest at the university, there have been multiple incidents that have threatened if not violated First Amendment rights. While McAdams said reports of actual threats of violence should be taken seriously, he noted that campus police, prompted by the far more powerful politically correct cops, fired off emails to faculty and students advising them to report any comments deemed “hurtful.”

“I think we all know that ‘hurtful comment’ is anything the politically correct types disagree with,” McAdams said.

“What’s happening at Marquette is what is happening everywhere, but that’s a shame because Marquette claims to be a Catholic university.

Continue Reading

Yale Wasn’t Made for People Like Me, Either

Yale University Clock Tower (photo credit: Adam Jones via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Illiberal attacks on free speech are nothing new. In the early 1970s, the Yale administration pressured the Yale Political Union to disinvite William Shockley, who was in fact a racist. A small group of students had risked the ire of the powerful to issue multiple repeated invitations to Shockley, to test the boundaries of the university’s commitment to unfettered discourse. When he came, the Yale police stood by as student protesters shut down his ability to speak.

In 1974, Yale issued the famous Woodward report, in which, by twelve votes to one, Yale upheld the principles of free speech in a profoundly moving statement of the university as a place committed to truth:

The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within its walls but with the world beyond as well. It follows that the university must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom. The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views. . . .

Read the full article at National Review. Continue Reading