Daniel Belgrad is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of South Florida. He is also a disgrace to American higher education. Recently, he sent the following email to his fellow professors at USF. (He also encouraged those professors to circulate the email to students in the hopes of preventing them from encountering ideas espoused by speakers with whom they disagree):
“Hi all. One of our Humanities majors who is also a USF P.R.I.D.E. member was in my office just now. Apparently there is a student ministry group on campus, the Reformed University Fellowship, who has invited a guest speaker for next Monday, Dr. Rosaria Butterfield. I have seen flyers on the hallway and elsewhere publicizing Dr. Butterfield’s talk, which is advertised as “Homosexuality and Christianity.” However, what the flyer doesn’t explain is that Dr. Butterfield’s talk (and her book, too, which she is promoting) is about how Christian faith can ‘convert’ you from gay to straight.”
Before I finish with the full reprint of Belgrad’s letter, let me interrupt at risk of stating the obvious. The flyer doesn’t need to explain the fact that Christian faith can help convert someone from gay to straight. By simply including the words “homosexuality” and “Christianity” in the title of the speech, that much can be inferred. The relationship between the two words is unambiguous. Christianity considers homosexuality a sin, specifically condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Furthermore, Christianity does not see any sin as beyond the power of redemption and repentance. Any speech by that title arguing anything in contradiction with those two points is simply mis-named, or, if given by a lesbian feminist, ms-named.
Let’s continue with the email:
“The P.R.l.D.E. members in my office were concerned that the ambiguity of the flyer might mislead some LGBT students to attend the event thinking that they were going to get some message other than that, and that they might feel hurt as a consequence.”
Before we proceed, three points must be made:
1) These students weren’t confused by any ambiguity, they were concerned with the lack of ambiguity of the speaker’s message. When you’re peddling nonsense -and that is the main business of PRIDE – ambiguity is your friend. Moral certainty is your enemy.
2. More than anything, these students are afraid of diversity. They are afraid that somewhere, somehow, someone on campus was going to be permitted to express an idea contrary to their own. They are seeking nothing less than a fully monopoly in the marketplace of ideas.
3. These students recognize their own emotional inferiority. They know that gays cannot handle dissenting opinions- in fact, they “feel hurt” whenever people disagree with them. At some level, they recognize that homosexuality is not a genetic pre determination. It is an acquired emotional disorder.
We’re almost done so let’s continue:
“They have asked me to help them get the word out about Dr. Butterfield’s actual take on homosexuality. I don’t think I’m violating any university policies by offering a little additional clarity as to the likely contents of her talk. Dr. Butterfield of course has every right to speak on campus, and RUF has every right to invite her. Please help spread the word. Thanks, Dan.”
No, Dan, isn’t violating any university policies. Universities don’t have policies against rank Pharisaic hypocrisy. In fact, they encourage that sort of thing by promoting both “diversity” and censorship. But Dan has raised academic hypocrisy to a Zen art with this little missive. In the midst of trying to make sure that people aren’t exposed to different ideas, he proclaims his commitment to free speech. The whole idea of free speech is that it allows unpopular opinions to be expressed. The point of allowing such speech is to make sure that it reaches the ears of people who may disagree. There really is no point in having a marketplace of ideas if we partition speech in such a way that no one ever encounters a dissenting opinion.
In a nutshell, Dan just doesn’t understand his role as a professor. Professors are supposed to support intellectual growth, not stagnation. Fortunately, Dan’s efforts are backfiring and a good ole American protest is brewing on the campus of USF. The protest rally is being hosted by the usual leftist suspects – the PRIDE Alliance, College Democrats at USF, Students for a Democratic Society [SDS], and Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom.
Unsurprisingly, Luke Blankenship, the event organizer, is a gay man who is banning bible verses from the event due to their “ambiguity.” Co-protestor Samantha May wants the Butterfield speech banned altogether because it is “hate speech” that might drive young people to suicide. She really is an amazing woman. She knows hate speech even before it’s been uttered. And she has such a high opinion of young homosexuals that she thinks they will blow their brains out upon hearing a speech about hope and redemption. (Bear in mind, this is USF we’re talking about. It only takes a pulse to get a degree there).
But the protest is being joined by some unexpected parties. In fact, even the USF College Republicans are joining in. Come to think of it, that isn’t too strange. They’re just following the Rubio lead, which is to say that if you’re from Florida the word “republican” isn’t necessarily synonymous with the word “conservative.” Come to think of it, that’s actually a national trend. But I’ll save that for another column.
Perhaps most notable among the protestors are the USF Young Americans for Liberty. Libertarians are supposed to be in favor of personal freedom and self-determination. But not these guys. They think homosexuality is not chosen and that it can’t be escaped. And no one should be free to argue otherwise! They’ve got the censorship gene!!
The University of South Florida is one confused place. It is a place where professors don’t know what it means to be a professor, conservatives don’t know what it means to be a conservative, and libertarians don’t know what it means to be a libertarian.
But at least students know the three requirements of being a gay activist: throwing hissy fits, banning Bible verses, and making sins like homosexuality and PRIDE the core of their political identity.