For those of you who choose not to, it is a weblog post regarding Virginia Tech's attempt to ferret out those on campus who don't "behave" properly and who don't meet "expectations" with regard to proper deference afforded sexual deviants and other protected groups wandering the hallowed halls of academe. The thought police are alive and well and running things in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Basically, here's what's going on there: Stand out in front of Burruss Hall and mention to a friend that you find homosexuality to be a sin in the eyes of God, have it reported to authorities by a member of the ever-vigilent conversation-monitoring student body, and you'll be punished. You've violated the university's laughable "Principles of Community."
But that is as it should be, they'll tell you. Tech officials will argue that minority groups are to be protected and that if anyone willingly and maliciously disparages a member of one of those protected groups, the offender needs to be hunted down and disciplined.
How noble. Of course, the nobility only carries so far. And only to certain privileged groups.
Let the "offense" be leveled against Christians and, well, this is a college campus, after all.
When Christ is ridiculed, or lampooned, well, that falls into a different category; a whole different "principle."
Down the road from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, in Radford, Virginia, a drama along these lines is playing out. The Christ-is-a-cartoon controversy.
I made mention the other day of Christian Keesee's (sophomoric) cartoon strip that appears in a student magazine entitled, "Whim." As the Roanoke Times describes it, his work; "depicts the misadventures of Jesus on a college campus. Some installments have offended believers. One has Christ punching a doubter in the face; another shows him fighting Santa Claus to the death. "(link)
"Some installments have offended believers."
Now this is a different circumstance on a different campus. But look at how the "offender" is treated by campus officials:
After the university started receiving complaints, officials had to respond. On Monday, they met with Whim Executive Director Andrew Lent, and, by all accounts, had a frank, productive discussion with him. Lent explained the cartoon; officials pointed out the potential for offense and left editorial decisions where they belong -- with Lent.The Times editorialists, ever vigilent when it comes to respecting minority rights (actually, I don't remember them ever saying squat about Tech's Big Brother approach to controlling thought) even have high praise for the officials at Radford:
As a public school, Radford successfully tread the boundary between teaching and censoring. Public leaders who reflexively condemn media for printing uncomfortable ideas could learn something from that measured response.Oh, the nobility.
But how far does that nobility really extend? Perhaps until the next installment of Keesee's cartoon.
If, in tomorrow's cartoon strip, the cartoonist pokes fun at gay men, lesbians, transsexuals, transgenders, crossdressers, child molesters, even feminists, especially racial minorities, watch how quickly the attitude changes. He will be burned at the stake.
Do I advocate that Radford University punish Christian Keesee because he offends Christians? Absolutely not. His idiotic attempt at punditry does us a favor.
Rather, I ask officials at Virginia Tech - all of whom should be ashamed of themselves - a despicable lot who have come up with a whole host of "offenses" (see them spelled out in lengthy detail here) that relate in part to verbal interaction between adults on campus, to rethink this grotesque assault on free expression.
Let the free flow of ideas - and words - flourish. Especially those that offend you. Your attempt to control the thoughts of your students is unbecoming and will only backfire.
As General Colin Powell once said: "Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word; and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection.