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EDITORIAL: The intolerant left
Using academic freedom to silence diverse views
Question of the Day
You can hear a lot of big talk about tolerance and diversity from people who hang out in the ivory tower, but they rarely want to set an example. In the halls of academe, the only acceptable ideology is stunted liberalism.
Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, was forced to withdraw Wednesday as a speaker from the Johns Hopkins University's medical school convocation in Baltimore next month. Agitators in the administration and in the student body were outraged that someone with Dr. Carson's views would be invited to address graduating students. They might learn something they didn't already know. His offense? He believes in traditional marriage. The lavender lobby is upset that he mentioned homosexuality in the same breath as bestiality and pedophilia. He subsequently apologized, but not abjectly enough.
The student government at Johns Hopkins rejected the application for official recognition from the pro-life club Voice of Life, likening abortion foes to white supremacists. They insist that photographs of aborted fetuses are "offensive" and shouldn't be seen. Voice of Life appealed and won their case Tuesday.
Religious freedom is offensive to the left, too. In the District of Columbia, two homosexual activists at George Washington University last week demanded that the Rev. Gregory Shaffer, a Catholic chaplain, be fired because he supports the Christian teaching, central to the doctrines of all denominations, that homosexual behavior is sinful and therefore immoral.
Bigotry toward those who disagree with the mob has become almost routine. When Karl Rove arrived to speak Tuesday night to Republicans at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Smith College, he had to face down organized hecklers. Mr. Rove, the deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush and the architect of his two successful presidential campaigns, was called a "murderer" and "terrorist." Police were eventually called to escort the troublemakers from the auditorium.
All of this goes on with the tacit and sometimes open encouragement of the faculty. Many professors were the flower children of the 1960s, still determined not to grow up and determined to fill the minds of their young charges with radical ideology, preaching from the security and comfort of campus sinecures.
The championing of diversity in academia doesn't extend to everyone. Many schools still discriminate against Asian applicants. Diversity is rarely applied to those who challenge the prevailing political opinion in the faculty lounge, and intolerance trickles down to the high schools. Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania and a strong candidate in several presidential primaries last year, learned Monday that his speech at Grosse Pointe High School in an affluent Detroit suburb had been canceled because some parents were concerned that their children would be exposed to Mr. Santorum's conservative political views. The disinfectant of publicity quickly encouraged the school to think again, and Mr. Santorum's speech is back on the schedule for April 24.
Some of our universities could learn a thing or two about academic freedom from the high school. A little tolerance and common sense would do them a world of good.
The Washington Times
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