Some Baylor University Faculty and Students Fear Free Speech, Try to Ban Christian Author/Speaker Matt Walsh
Christians are called to be strong and courageous, but that’s not what Christian students are being taught on many Christian college campuses today. Too often, they’re taught to fear and to hide behind a false pretense of grace while extending none.
Christian writer, speaker and author Matt Walsh was protested by college staff and students, at Baylor University, who didn’t want to hear a Biblical perspective on culture-shifting issues. How dare a Christian father speak Biblical truths about abortion, marriage and gender! That’s “hate speech.” This is intolerable in a day and age when many define their own subjective truth which, apparently, cannot be subjected to any level of scrutiny no matter how civil the discourse.
Truth is offensive. It’s divisive. It boldly separates fact from fiction. It’s freedom.
In a Knight Foundation college student poll, 69% agreed that colleges should “restrict slurs and other speech that is intentionally offensive to certain groups.” Who determines what’s considered a slur and which language is “intentionally offensive?” Hate speech is now the default accusation for ideas or words that challenge a “progressive” worldview.
There’s no America without free speech. It’s not free if it comes laden with restrictions and heavy societal costs.
I don’t support legislation through Presidential Executive Orders, but why should any American president have to resort to such lengths to ensure our First Amendment rights? Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency and Accountability at Colleges and Universities was signed because many places of alleged higher learning have become institutions of intolerance.
Walsh is not a threat to civility, but conformity. The Baylor Lariat has several articles attacking him with titles like “Hate Speech Has No Place in Christianity” and “Why I Pulled Down Fliers Advertising Matt Walsh Event.” There is a spiritual and emotional immaturity that is on full display here. Patrick Hill, a gay Baylor graduate, started the petition to ban Walsh from campus. Hill decries the suggestion that there is such a thing as LGBT activism. Perhaps he’s not aware of how multi-million dollar, pro-abortion LGBTQ orgs like Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the ACLU have been fighting to erase religious liberty, free speech, pronouns, and faith-based adoption agencies.
Hill complains that Walsh and Baylor’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) are “demonizing an entire people group.” In their letter of protest, the signers proceed to absurdly equate YAF with white supremacists of the Jim Crow era. That’s not demonizing at all.
I find it amusing that throughout the letter, signed by current and former Baylor faculty and Board members, there’s not one use of Scripture to defend homosexuality. They refer to YAF and Baylor’s official position on sexuality as a “debatable view of Biblical teaching.” It’s not debatable. It’s undeniable. (Please see Dr. Michael Brown’s thorough take on all of this.)
The fear of (truthful) free speech on college campuses should be alarming to all. In November 2018, I was invited by the Wheaton College Republicans to deliver a talk about race and abortion entitled “Black Lives Matter In and Out of the Womb.” Two Wheaton staff members and three student government leaders denounced my presentation in a campus-wide email as “offensive rhetoric” that made “students, staff and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented and unsafe on campus.”
I’m black. I was the speaker. Nobody of my color was “unheard” or “underrepresented” in an hour’s worth of Q&A. And “unsafe?” They had no factual basis with which to argue against my perspective, so they chose to become victims. The school’s leadership stood behind them, refused to resolve the issue with The Radiance Foundation or the College Republicans, and allowed us to be demonized by those who espouse an unbiblical approach to truth.
One of the only professors to attend my event wrote an outrageous article, recently, defending abortion in the black community. Wheaton professor Theon Hill is an African-American who passionately supports the #BlackLivesMatter movement and seems to have ignored everything I talked about in the presentation. I don’t support a radically pro-abortion, anti-fatherhood, anti-Biblical, secular movement with zero intention of forgiveness. Instead, I proposed that the Church should be leading on issues of racial justice. In his Faithfully Magazine article, Hill reveals he either knows absolutely nothing about the prolife movement or doesn’t care. He falsely claims we don’t address the relationship between abortion, poverty, racism and access to health care. That was my whole presentation (see it here).
Less activism, more factivism professor.
Even worse, while praising the rabidly racist Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam, Hill defends abortion with an example of infanticide. Invoking Toni Morrison’s disturbing novel, Beloved, Hill justifies abortion in the black community (which Fannie Lou Hamer considered to be “black genocide”) with a story about an unremorseful slave woman who kills her two-year-old daughter to prevent a life of pain. Yeah. Because black people today live in exactly the same horrid circumstances as 1860. Former slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth had 13 children, most of whom were stolen away from her by slave masters. She mourned the tragic loss of her children in her speech “Ain’t I A Woman?”; she didn’t wish she had killed them.
My dear friend and colleague Star Parker was recently banned from speaking about abortion’s impact in the black community at the University of Northwestern, a Christian college in Minnesota. Why? Because as a conservative Christian woman, the school’s leadership decided that she “radically holds beliefs that UNW as a whole would not agree with.” Of course, they never articulated what those “radical beliefs” are. Apparently, they meant her Biblical beliefs. Who better to address race and abortion than a post-abortive black woman saved by grace?
Matt Walsh, Star Parker and I aren’t the real problem. Loving people enough to speak difficult truths is anathema to those who confuse capitulation for compassion. How will these Christians evangelize a fallen world if students, staff and faculty are too busy taking shelter in their safe spaces on campus?
I agree that campuses should be places where diverse views, which would include views that some would find offensive, should be able to be expressed freely. I do think the illustration on the Baylor flier was gratuitously offensive, and in extremely bad taste. It appears to have been deliberately designed to provoke a confrontation, rather than dialogue. So there were problems on both sides there.
It seems like the only diversity that’s supported in public colleges and universities is the anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-life views that dovetails with the said views of the administrators and professors.