Tuesday, January 17, 2006
O, how my bleeding liberal heart weeps for those poor persecuted fundies
Of course not, that is not the issue here. This is just exhibit #3800 in the self-martyrdom syndrome the Religious Right loves to play. It's those dastardly Satanic liberals in the universities who are trying to silence good, upright Christians from exercising their right to free speech. From Agape Press...
- A ban on "insults, taunts, or challenges directed toward another person" (Appalachian State University).
- A practice of outlawing "statements of intolerance" (North Carolina Central University), which FIRE says mirrors a speech code in Pennsylvania that was deemed unconstitutional.
- A requirement that all students "respect the dignity of all persons" and "strive for the openness to learn from differences in people" lest they be punished (UNC Asheville).
- A policy outlawing "disrespect for persons" (UNC Greensboro), which FIRE describes as "Orwellian."
- Two instances in which FIRE says it had to intervene to protect Christian student groups that were "threatened with dissolution" for refusing to admit members who did not share their beliefs (both incidents at UNC Chapel Hill).
The universities don't want a repeat of hate crimes like these, including one at UNC where a gay student was chased and beaten by unknown assailants yelling expletives and slurs. Such rhetoric can lead to hate crimes, but the fundamentalists would rather have you see them as the victims here, victims of liberal censorship.
Now, I'm for freedom of speech and all, but hate speech is something that should be restricted out in public. There's nothing to restrict anti-homosexual behavior sermons in the churches and all. If a preacher wants to preach against homosexual behavior, fine, so be it. We may not like it, but as long as it's done in church and in a way that does not demonize homosexuals unlike what the Religious Right leaders like Falwell, Dobson, and Robertson do, it should not be restricted. Maybe they can disagree on homosexual behavior, but no one should have their civil rights denied because they are gay. Perhaps, if the Religious Right or religious groups on campus can focus on policing the behavior of their own members instead of imposing their morality on everyone, the world would be a better place.
Maybe speech codes are a bad thing, I don't know. But I don't see anything wrong with restricting speech that could incite violence and hate crimes. I don't see anything wrong with banning the crying of wolf by shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater. The opponents of these speech codes claim that of course you must ban the shouting of "Fire" when there isn't any in a crowded theater because it could hurt someone. That's a legitimate argument, but one could turn that argument around and say that hate speech could also hurt someone too.
It's just me personally, but I would rather be politically correct rather than have unrestricted speech lead to someone getting hurt or even worse killed like Matthew Shepard. However, what strikes me is the utter hypocrisy. These are the same people who tried to ban books by gay authors in Alabama and these are the same people who tried to force corporations to stop advertising in gay publications. For them to cry out loud about freedom of speech is Phariseeism at its worst. They want to look like good martyrs to everyone and cry out loud about religious liberty, but they would just turn around and deny "religious liberty" if they were lucky enough to impose their religion on everyone.
I can't see what's so wrong about the universities promoting dignity and respect for everyone.