Rutgers Professor and Law Student Under Fire for Reading Racial Slur From Judicial Opinion

The New York Times is reporting that a Rutgers Law Professor and law student are under fire after the student reluctantly read the n-word in a 1993 legal opinion.  It is the latest such controversy in high education.

I am assuming that the professor and students were discussing State v. Bridges, which begins with this background discussion:

“On September 2, 1988, defendant, Bennie Eugene Bridges, attended a birthday party with some fifty to sixty young people for sixteen-year-old Cheryl Smith in the basement of her home in Roebling, New Jersey. At about 12 a.m., Bridges had an argument with another guest, Andy Strickland. Shortly after the heated exchange, Bridges left the party, yelling angrily into the basement that he would soon return with his “boys.” As he drove past the house on his way to Trenton, Bridges again shouted, “I’m going back to Trenton to get my [n*****s.]”

In the virtual discussion, the student states “He said, um — and I’ll use a racial word, but it’s a quote. He says, ‘I’m going to go to Trenton and come back with my [expletive]s.”

That triggers a petition from students to demand action from the law school and apologies from both the professor and the student.  The students declared that “At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion.”

Professor Vera Bergelson denied hearing the word but apologized, declaring “I wish I could go back in time to that office hour and confront it directly.” She added “There is no doubt in my mind that the student had no racist intent, and the fact that, given a chance, I would have corrected the student reflects only my personal pedagogical choices and not any doubt in the student’s good faith.”

We have been discussing professors who have been investigated or sanctioned for the use of the “n-word” in classes or tests at Georgetown, DuquesneJohn MarshallAugsbergChicagoDePaulPrincetonKansas, and other schools. There were also recent incidents at Wake Forest and Emory.

In my view, this should remain a decision for professors based on academic freedom and the specific context of the use. Some professors have read the word in literary or historical passages. The removal of such terms and images in a class addressing racism can substantially change and undermine a professor’s treatment of the subject. It is analogous to decision of the Yale University Press when it published Jytte Klausen’s “The Cartoons That Shook the World” (on the cartoons that led to riots and over 200 killed in protests worldwide). Yale removed the 12 cartoons from the book so not to insult Muslims. Thus, you could read the book but not actually see the cartoons themselves.  The question of how central this word is to a lesson is highly contextual. Faculty have been particularly reluctant to edited passages from classic works like the recent controversy over the writings of Mark Twain.

This is not the only law student under fire this week for controversial or offensive language. A law student at Abertay University in Scotland is facing discipline for the allegedly “offensive” and “discriminatory” statements. According to Daily Mail, Lisa Keogh is a mother of two who was taking part in a virtual class on “gender feminism and the law.” The class addressed transgender issues and Keogh expressed her view that allowing transgender athletes to compete against women was unfair — a view shared by many.  She referred to women as being physically weaker as a gender and that a 32-year-old trans woman who had testosterone in her body all those years “would be genetically stronger than the average woman.” She also reportedly responded to another student calling men rapists as an example of “man-hating feminists.”

There were obviously strong statements on both sides of the issue in the class. However, Keogh is facing possible discipline for speaking frankly about her views on the subject. As faculty members, we try to steer such exchanges into more civil and tolerant expressions. It is common for some students to cross the line on these subjects but there is value in all sides being able to be open about their views, including their biases. The best way to change minds is to be able deal directly with such views and rhetoric in a dialogue. College is a place for students to meet others with a myriad of different experiences and values. Hopefully, such exposure leads to a better understanding of the views of others and even evolution of one’s own assumptions.

The concern is that these investigations create a chilling effect on speech in our classrooms. We previously discussed a Gallup poll showing ninety percent of Pomona students said that they did not feel free to speak openly or freely. It is an indictment of not just Pomona but many of our colleges. This is not a problem for many students but an increasingly small percentage of self-identified conservatives. Another Harvard study showed that 35 percent of conservatives felt that they could share their views on campus.

Returning to the Rutgers controversy, there is a real value to discussing the issues facing faculty over the use of this term. Despite all of these controversies, there is rarely a full discussion of the issue. Many universities do not expressly bar the use of this word in historical or other documents. Faculty face different issues when considering the use of the word in a literary passage as opposed to a hypothetical. Many faculty do not want to remove words from literary or historical texts but to teach them as reflective of their times.  That does not make them racists.

I do not use the term because I do not believe that it is necessary for the cases and material that I teach despite my teaching issues of discrimination in tort and constitutional cases.  Yet, I believe that the previously mentioned faculty had good-faith and non-racist motives for the use of the term in their own classrooms. Admittedly, as many on this blog know, I tend to taken a more robust view of academic freedom and free speech. However, I sincerely wish we could have a civil and substantive discussion of this issue rather than speak only through petitions or across protest lines.

130 thoughts on “Rutgers Professor and Law Student Under Fire for Reading Racial Slur From Judicial Opinion”

  1. Guess who?
    —–

    https://nypost.com/2021/05/22/no-remorse-in-nyc-pummeling-of-jewish-man-da/

    ‘I would do it again’: Suspect accused of pummeling NYC Jewish man shows no remorse

    By Andrew Dedinsky and Melissa Klein
    The Brooklyn man accused of beating a Jewish man in a hate attack in Midtown proclaimed from his jail cell that he would “do it again,” prosecutors said on Saturday.

    Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was held on $10,000 bail in the Thursday attack, in which he is accused of beating Joseph Borgen, 29, with crutches and punching, kicking and pepper-spraying him.

    “If I could do it again, I would do it again,” he told one of his jailers, according to a prosecutor at Awawdeh’s Saturday arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court. “I have no problem doing it again.”

    The attack was unprovoked, said prosecutors, who told Judge Kathryn Paek that Borgen was walking near Broadway and West 49th Street when Awawdeh “jumped him and attacked him.”

  2. Mespo says: “Science has never ruled out supernatural beings, not even alternate universes. You think those who make science their god would know science.”

    There are no scientific methods to gather evidence about supernatural beings. To be within the realm of science, an idea must be testable, somehow and in some way.

  3. The control of the universities by ideological zeolites is nothing new. To control a population the youth must be taught the proper dogma. Proper enforcement must be employed. Those who do not comply must be forced out and their means of making a living must be taken away. Those who oppose our policies and say they are dangerous must be forcefully dealt with. They must be made to understand that there is no danger. https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-5/controlling-universities

  4. This is stupid. Reading the N word in this context was not racist in any way, shape, or form, any more than reading the B word in a novel is a misogynist attack on women.

    Rappers can’t get through a single track without a mountain of N words. In some black cultures, the word is ubiquitous. It means friend, that guy, that guy going nowhere, that rich guy, people fighting the good fight, people in jail, enemies, no-accounts, and sometimes it’s used like a pause.

    There is systemic racism surrounding the N word, in which one set of rules on its use applies to one race, and another set applies to all the other races. Only one race has the right to use the word. All others can be destroyed financially, academically, and socially for using it, regardless of context. If a teenager takes a video addressing her N words, as in “my homeys”, trying to emulate a rap star, she’ll never get to go to college.

    The rules giving one race special privileges to say a word are systemic. They supersede the very Constitution. You can be utterly destroyed for saying a word, even if you just read it.

    I admit I was wrong. There really is systemic racism in America, at the behest of the Left. Asians have long understood this to be true. Any system controlled or influenced by the Left discriminates against Asians as being too successful.

    The Left doesn’t like successful minorities.

  5. The rhetoric at the heart of the new “woke” religion originates from a tiny minority who forcibly stir the pot.

    Most humans avoid confrontation, especially if they are not prepared to make an argument or have prepared for a fight. If students, faculty, and citizens would take the time to prepare, they could stand tall to this movement that is both chilling and dangerous.

    What is the definition of group think? Unchallenged thinking. Why else would the instigators advocate silencing their opponent through censorship? What are they afraid of? True truth?

    The author wishes for a substantive and civil discussion on this matter, but how is that possible when dealing with the irrational and uncivil? The “woke” movement is a bizarre contagion that must be resisted at every turn. A truly just concept can withstand debate and scrutiny.

    1. E.M:

      “What is the definition of group think? Unchallenged thinking. Why else would the instigators advocate silencing their opponent through censorship? What are they afraid of? True truth?”

      Sounds like Religion. Group think. Blind faith in lieu of thinking. Censoring scientific achievement as heresy.

      1. Jeff Silberman, be careful. Your leftist friends are controlling the group think at the universities. It’s still not too late to understand the source of the group think and make your stance for freedom. Maybe?

            1. TiT,

              If the Right doesn’t like what colleges are teaching, don’t send their children. Stick with a high school education. Trumpists prefer low information voters. But colleges are not going to teach Creationism or pseudo-science like Intelligent Design along with Evolutionism. Unless you go to a religious university, you are going to get a secular education. Take it or leave it.

              1. “But colleges are not going to teach Creationism or pseudo-science like Intelligent Design along with Evolutionism.”

                Nor would I want them to.

                That’s a stereotype and caricature of people on the right. I won’t argue that there aren’t any, but that is an over-generalization.

                1. Of course I am referring to Evangelical Christians who believe literally in the tales of the Bible. Not all Trumpists are Evangelical, big the great majority of Evangelicals are Trumpists.

                  1. Jeff S.,
                    “Stick with a high school education. Trumpists prefer low information voters.”

                    I think you focused on the smaller part of the Venn diagram. Yes, there is overlap, and maybe my perception is skewed, but I don’t think the majority of people who voted for Trump are Evangelical.

                    Also, I’m not convinced that that that is preference for low information voters. What is your evidence?

                    I am inclined to agree that the powerful tend to prefer low information voters, in general, though. Much easier to steer if you don’t know much and don’t think much. That is not a preference you could target to those who support Trump, though. It is rife amongst the left elite, too.

                    Maybe I am in a bubble, but of those I know who voted for Trump, I would not say they are low information. Many held their noses to vote for him. Regarding education, they care about their children gaining a more classical education with a broad knowledge of history, the Great Works, science, mathematics, and the Arts.

                    1. Egad. I need to proofread before I hit post comment. I sound like a woodpecker with all those thats. What happened on my phone?!

                    2. Rose,

                      I said that the majority of Evangelicals voted for Trump. Polls show that the Non-college-educated voted in much greater numbers for Trump. Trump declared he preferred “low information voters.” Trumpists believe that the entire system of higher education is anti-American propaganda and needs to be purged of Leftist teachers. Do you ever listen to Talk Radio?

                      You can get a fine liberal arts education at any university or college if you chose the correct courses and apply yourself. I went to an Ivy League college, and thanks to my education, I was sufficiently educated not to fall for Trump’s lies.

                    3. Jeff wrote: “Trump declared he preferred “low information voters.”

                      If Trump had said that, then he would have been referring to Jeff. But he never said that. Trumo said: “We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people, and you know what I’m happy about? Because I’ve been saying it for a long time. 46% were the Hispanics—46%, No. 1 one with Hispanics. I’m really happy about that.”

                      Jeff’s use of quotation marks here and elsewhere is intolerable. He intentionally distorts the truth and lies. Jeff is the genuine “low information voter” that Rush Limbaugh referred to. That is why Jeff relies on rhetoric rather than fact.

                    4. Prairie Rose,
                      Silberman and others have one purpose on this blog: keep the attention away from what the Biden administration is (un)doing. You do not need to defend Trump’s policies or his base. Biden’s policies are so bad for our national security, they could be coming from Russia and China. And if religious, low information voters are Trump’s base, then it must be godless, no information voter’s supporting Biden and the Democratic party.

                    5. Olly, Silberman, and what he says is not the problem. Silberman is ignorant of most things and represents the “low information voter.” He gets his information and repeats it without understanding. The problem is the MSM news media intentionally distorts the news and repeats the same ignorant claims.

                      Biden’s policies are horrible for the US but put in a good light by the MSM. Trump’s policies were excellent, but the MSM put them in a bad light. The MSM needs to be disproved, so I think Prairie should defend Trump’s policies. Her silence would add one more voice to the left.

                      Trump voters are not low information voters. Several polls have demonstrated that Trump supporters had more knowledge than the rest. Jeff says he is a lawyer, so that I will accept him at his word. Has all that information made him any more intelligent? No. Has that education taught him logic? No. Has law school taught him not to misquote others? No.

                      Jeff is a low information voter who is unable to defend his position.

                    6. Silberman, and what he says is not the problem. Silberman is ignorant of most things and represents the “low information voter.” He gets his information and repeats it without understanding. The problem is the MSM news media intentionally distorts the news and repeats the same ignorant claims…Jeff is a low information voter who is unable to defend his position.

                      I didn’t say Silberman was the problem. I said Silberman sole purpose was to distract attention away from what Biden and the Democrats are doing. He doesn’t need to defend anything because his role is not to defend, but rather attack. The problem is that it works.

                      The MSM needs to be disproved, so I think Prairie should defend Trump’s policies.

                      Ben Domenech wrote a short piece for The Federalist out today that demonstrates why focusing on defending Trump works to the advantage of the Left:

                      Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech railed at legacy media’s obsession with branding the right as antisemitic throughout the four years of President Donald Trump, which blinded coverage of growing support for anti-Jewish discrimination on the left.

                      “One of the things that came out of the corporate media’s coverage of the last four years of former President Donald Trump was this false depiction that the right was in some way dominated by antisemitism… and that the left basically was innocent as the driven snow,” Domenech said, as cases of antisemitism spike in the wake the worst Palestinian-Israeli conflict erupting this month in decades. “I think that that really took them away from paying attention to a rise in antisemitism on the left that has been apparent to anybody who was looking at what politicians were saying in the last several years.”
                      https://thefederalist.com/2021/05/24/ben-domenech-media-obsession-with-tarring-the-right-hid-lefts-antisemitism-as-it-grew/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_federalist_daily_briefing_2021_05_24&utm_term=2021-05-24

                      There is no amount of evidence that will convince Leftist’s that Trumps policies were good, primarily because we don’t define what’s good for the United States the same. After 4 months of Biden’s administration, the contrast couldn’t be more clear. If you took the totality of Trump’s policies and wrote a vision statement, it would be America First. If you took Biden’s policies after just 4 months, what vision for the United States do they have? If you took the Democrat’s actions from 2016 to the present, what appears to be their vision for America?

                      We need to stop playing defense and go on the attack.

                    7. “I didn’t say Silberman was the problem. I said Silberman sole purpose was to distract attention away from what Biden and the Democrats are doing. ”

                      I think that statement is correct.

                      Comparison is a good way of expressing what Biden is doing. Most working people are too busy working to look into the news deeply.

                      “We need to stop playing defense and go on the attack.”

                      Then attack. A good offense requires both defense and offense. Concerning Trump, one needs to demonstrate his policy’s effectiveness. We also need to show Biden’s failure. Promoting Trump’s political effectiveness need not promote Trump.

                      Anti-Semitism is expressed in two ways, 1) not wishing to be around Jews and 2) attempting to make Jewish life miserable or exterminating them.

                      The anti-Semitism of the right may have been #1, but except for the extremes, it was not #2. Corporations, in particular financial corporations, kept Jews out. Chase Manhattan Bank not that long ago wouldn’t hire a Jew. Cantor Fitzgerald was born in response to such attitudes. But, for the most part, the right permitted Jews to thrive without them.

                      When we look at the left, we see anti-Semitism geared to the destruction of Jewish life and the destruction of Israel.

                    8. Concerning Trump, one needs to demonstrate his policy’s effectiveness. We also need to show Biden’s failure. Promoting Trump’s political effectiveness need not promote Trump.

                      SM,
                      I would agree if both parties shared the same vision for America and were competing on what each side believed would be the best means to reach it. There’s a reason the Left is still focused on Trump and his base of supporters, because they cannot have an open debate on the efficacy of his policies. Democrats painted themselves into a corner when they targeted President Trump and his conservative base from the get go. They had to prove Trump and conservatives were dangerous to our “democracy” and that backfired. Biden and the Democratic party have been forced to take policy positions 180 degrees out from the previous administration, because to give in 1 degree means they’d have to admit something from their avowed enemy was good. So instead, what we have from Biden and the Democrats is the reversal of policies that put America First. That won’t sell.

                    9. “because they cannot have an open debate on the efficacy of his policies.”

                      Olly that is true, and that is why the offense needs to be a basic two-prong attack. Our biggest problem is that the left has gained authority from the media, academia, Hollywood, and social media. The left is willing to use intimidation when they aren’t lying, cheating, and stealing. The product they sell is free goods and services. All the right has to offer is individual freedom, and preserving the lifestyle of our children.

                    10. Jeff S.,
                      “Do you ever listen to Talk Radio?”

                      No. I have listened, but it has been years. Too strident.

      2. Jeff just agreed with Young. Wow and now he states this “Sounds like Religion. Group think. Blind faith in lieu of thinking. Censoring scientific achievement as heresy.” Yes, leftism is a faith based religion. Add to these thoughts and the fact that Jeff hasn’t been dissing Turley and we might think someone else is posting for him.

        But, the real question is, is apparent agreement really agreement or a Trojan Horse type of activity? The latter is more likely but the former would be a good thing.

      3. Jeff S.,
        Thoughtful religion is way more complex than blind faith, and, it does not dissuade thinking. Science is not incompatible with religion. Methodists, for example, have no problems with the Big Bang or evolution.

        1. Prairie,

          You are right to correct my generalizations. From now on, when I refer to religion, I mean fundamentalist religions. Fundamentalism is incompatible with science.

          While I am an atheist, I respect the fundamentalists. While they are deluded, I do respect their total commitment to their beliefs. If I truly believed there was a god, as a Jew, I would follow all 613 mitzvot to the letter. I would dare not pick and choose. But I don’t believe. So until there is smoking gun evidence that the Old Testament is fact and not largely fiction, I won’t disbelieve the scientific method.

          1. Jeff S.,
            “While they are deluded, I do respect their total commitment to their beliefs.”

            But you can be totally committed to your beliefs without being a fundamentalist.

            “If I truly believed there was a god, as a Jew, I would follow all 613 mitzvot to the letter.”

            I thought it was not possible to follow a few of them anyway since there is no Temple.

            “So until there is smoking gun evidence that the Old Testament is fact and not largely fiction, I won’t disbelieve the scientific method.”

            Why does there have to be smoking gun evidence that it is literal fact for you to believe? Torah means Teacher. What are the lessons to be learned, what meaning to be derived?

            A good discussion of Torah can be found on Nahum Roman Footnick’s podcast, Torah Means Teacher. He is an extremely analytical person and former atheist.

            1. Prairie,

              I do not profess to know that much about Judaism for obvious reasons. I am aware of 4 grades of Jewish observance- reform, conservative, orthodox, and Haredim. All can be devout in their forms of worship, but it seems to me that if you believe there is a god who commands you, you had better do all that he commands and not relax the rules to suit you.

              Of course there is much wisdom to be drawn from scripture. I am referring to Evangelical belief which takes the Bible as the literal word of god. At the heart of our culture war is the clash between fundamentalist religious belief and secular belief. This fault line separates the political parties.

              Because I believe in science, I cannot believe in supernatural beings. I place my faith in mankind though I have to admit that Trumpism has raised some doubts.

              1. Jeff S.,
                I do not know very much about Judaism either. I thought there were only 3 branches. I have read a little of Maimonides, as well as a few other books, so my understanding is limited. If you have any book or podcast recommendations, I would be glad to have them.

                “All can be devout in their forms of worship, but it seems to me that if you believe there is a god who commands you, you had better do all that he commands and not relax the rules to suit you.”

                I mostly agree with this. However, it is my (albeit limited) understanding that the relaxation of the rules regarding anything occurring in a temple was determined after much serious discussion. The literal sacrifices were transformed into prayer and other rituals. While He has high expectations, I do not think God is unreasonable. Abraham could even say to Him, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?…Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’

                “Of course there is much wisdom to be drawn from scripture. I am referring to Evangelical belief which takes the Bible as the literal word of god.”

                Can the literal word of God be about things that are not literal? God speaks to convey meaning. I see much of what is in the Bible as expressing meaning most deeply through symbolism and metaphor more than ‘just the facts’. A house built on rock is a metaphor to be applied to foundational Truths in our lives rather than how best to construct a building. Much meaning would be lost if only the facts were considered.

                “At the heart of our culture war is the clash between fundamentalist religious belief and secular belief.”

                Is it? In what way? I’m not sure that is at the heart.

                “This fault line separates the political parties.”

                In what way? I do not see this as *the* fault line.

                These two statements just above make me think of the movie The Dark Crystal and the Mystics and the Skeksis. They were divergent, polar opposites. There was healing in the land when both elements were balanced and coexisted. There should not be a clash or a war between ideas that are both needed in a society. It would be like tearing apart the weft and the weave of a cloth; it will fray until it fragments.

                “Because I believe in science, I cannot believe in supernatural beings.”

                Why can you not? I do not see these things as mutually exclusive. Science is a materialist exploration of the world. This is a very good thing, but it is only one element of exploration. It is a tool rather the thing itself. A scientist can wonder how God made the world and analyze how He did it. Besides, I’m not sure God could be encapsulated as simply a ‘supernatural being’. A ‘being’ is typically something material. God is sideways from that, I think. He can create both meaning and material by His Word. It is like He is exactly on a balancing point, the line between yin and yang, the veil between two divergent ways of thinking. On a slightly side note, if one of Vermeer’s paintings was boiled down to the science of it, some of its magic would be lost.

                1. Prairie Rose,

                  Because I believe man wrote the Good Book and not god, all the wisdom therein came from the heart and mind of man. That is why I put my faith in humanity. To me the science of the cosmos and our human evolution from stardust is a more remarkable story than Adam and Eve. It’s true that science has yet to explain existence itself, but they are working hard at it.

                  Obviously, you are a believer, and I am not attempting to change your beliefs. I just don’t need religion for myself. Perhaps, religion would make me better person, but I can’t make myself believe in it.

                  1. Jeff S.,
                    I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. Mankind definitely had a role.

                    “To me the science of the cosmos and our human evolution from stardust is a more remarkable story than Adam and Eve.”

                    I do not think the story of Adam and Eve is literal; it is sideways from science. There are plenty of valuable lessons embedded in the stories of Genesis. I do not go to the Bible for lessons in science; I go for lessons in morality, ethics, and building good relationships with God, His creation, myself, and my fellow man. I, too, believe in the science of the cosmos and evolution.

                    “Obviously, you are a believer, and I am not attempting to change your beliefs. I just don’t need religion for myself.”

                    Ok. 🙂

                    “Perhaps, religion would make me better person, but I can’t make myself believe in it.”

                    I’m not sure what you are having trouble making yourself believe. Is it something that you can define or is it ineffable? (I agree, though–it isn’t something that you can *make* yourself believe anyway.)

                    Do you believe there is Truth to the stories? Not literalness but Truth in the meanings.

                    1. Prairie Rose,

                      I agree that there is much to be learned in the teachings of the Bible, though much harm resulted as well. On balance, I would not argue that more harm than good. I would presume that you believe that any harm caused by reading of the Bible was a result of man’s fallen nature.

                      It is a tenet of Evangelical belief that without god there can be no morality. I don’t think that you believe atheists are inherently immoral. As a student of moral philosophy, there were many ancient philosophers who advocated moral codes which were not ordained.

                      Even though we have diametrically opposed beliefs in the supernatural, it’s a pleasure to converse with you.
                      I wish that more religious people were as open and tolerant as you. I’d like to believe in life eternal as do you, but I have resigned myself to the reality that we have only one life to live. However, if you live it right, one is enough!

                    2. Jeff S.,
                      I hope I didn’t make you shy away from the conversation. I am not trying to convince you of anything either. I was seeking clarity only. People’s conception of God (whether they believe or not) and what religion is or entails is so varied and complex that conversing on the same page can be challenging.

                      “I agree that there is much to be learned in the teachings of the Bible, though much harm resulted as well. On balance, I would not argue that more harm than good. I would presume that you believe that any harm caused by reading of the Bible was a result of man’s fallen nature.”

                      Yes, I agree that harm has resulted from how people have chosen to read the Bible. I do think more good has resulted from many people knowing its lessons and aiming to pursue the ‘smart ways to live’ outlined therein (with a nod to the Maccabeats’ excellent parody). I do think fear, brokenness, and fallibility of people can play a strong role in how harm can come from reading the Bible. The same kind of ‘fallen nature’ may have plagued some of Socrates’ students so that he was blamed instead of the misapplication of his teaching.

                      “It is a tenet of Evangelical belief that without god there can be no morality. I don’t think that you believe atheists are inherently immoral. As a student of moral philosophy, there were many ancient philosophers who advocated moral codes which were not ordained.”

                      You are correct; I do not think atheists are inherently immoral. I am not Evangelical. I am kinda sorta Methodist. I was raised a Methodist and there is much I align with (I definitely lean towards James’ ‘Faith without works is dead.’). However, there are some key elements in my belief in God that actually aligns me more closely with Judaism, as I understand it anyway.

                      “Even though we have diametrically opposed beliefs in the supernatural, it’s a pleasure to converse with you.”

                      Yes, I have enjoyed our conversation, too.

                      “I wish that more religious people were as open and tolerant as you.”

                      Thank you. You are very kind.

                      “I’d like to believe in life eternal as do you, but I have resigned myself to the reality that we have only one life to live. However, if you live it right, one is enough!”

                      I think there are many ways for people to be with God following their physical death. I have a rather expansive view of what ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ means. However, the only life I know I am living for absolutely certain is this one right now. If this life is lived well, then the rest will take care of itself if that is, indeed, part of the process. I do not think much of the afterlife other than I hope there is one because I would like to be reunited with those who’ve gone before me.

                    3. Prairie Rose,

                      Were I ever to decide to become religious, I would do so only to be in communion with a nice person like yourself. I used to be part of a community for many years, and it was very spiritual in a way though not religious. It’s the companionship and fellowship of others which makes any group worth joining. Having shared beliefs and serving a common purpose brings people together. I just watched a documentary on WWII, and the veterans were never happier than the camaraderie of their platoon even in times of war.

                      While I went to Hebrew school and was a Bar Mitzvah, the inculcation never took. I was in a Reform Congregation, and the half-hearted observance of the members did not instill me with devotion. Congregants were just going through the motions. I actually envy you, but I am afraid nowadays I am too cynical to suspend my disbelief in the supernatural. All I can do is wish you well, and hope that you avoid believing in an unrepentant sinner like Trump. While a have precious little respect for either political party, I do recognize that Trumpism is a real threat to the soul of this country, and my fervor to see it vanquished borders on the religious!

              2. “Because I believe in science, I cannot believe in supernatural beings.”

                Why? I ask the question as a relatively non-religious person. If you believed in science, you would never have made that statement. There would be doubt in your mind. There is not sufficient proof to prove God exists or God doesn’t exist. That is science.

                Science doesn’t tell a person to form a belief and prove it. Science desires the person to work to solve a question. The scientist then lays out all the evidence on both sides of the conclusion.

                You talk about errors of the Old Testament. I think the Old Testament is very valuable for numerous reasons. Yes, it has errors, but that doesn’t make everything it says invalid. Newton developed laws of motion. That was science, but according to you, it wasn’t because quantum electrodynamics demonstrated that those laws also contained errors. Likewise, that doesn’t make everything regarding Newton’s laws of motion invalid.

                It seems, Jeff, that you wasted your time on education because you remained uneducated.

          2. “I won’t disbelieve the scientific method.”

            Jeff, though you might recognize the dictionary definition of science, you don’t understand it or know how to use it. The closest you get to science is in its applications, not in its use. Almost everything you say demonstrates an ignorance of what science is all about.

            Develop a bit of doubt in what you say and learn how to use numbers correctly. Then you might have infantile compatibility with science.

            1. SM:

              Science has never ruled out supernatural beings, not even alternate universes. You think those who make science their god would know science.

              1. “You think those who make science their god would know science.”

                I agree with you, but those like Jeff do not use science as their God. The left is a faith-based religion whose God is a disconnected dream that could never occur in the world where we live.

  6. Personally, I would not have quoted the slur from the opinion. Not because it would have been wrong to do so, but because I would not have wanted to deal with false outrage from the left and the cowardly response from the university.

  7. Olly says:

    “So you [Turley] self-censor, but decry others for their chilling effect on free speech? Well congratulations, you’ve been chilled.”

    We self-censor too little. Your mother instructed you to self-censor- “Don’t discuss politics or religion with strangers.” This would be a better world if all censoring was self-censoring! If only we all could conduct ourselves a little more decently by respecting the feelings of others out of common courtesy.

    1. “We self-censor too little. Your mother instructed you to self-censor…”
      ************************************
      Yeah mamma’s boys are in high demand. And moms are never wrong!

  8. If someone faces consequences for using the n word, how is evidence presented without being able to actually say it? If you can’t say it there is no evidence.

    On a different tack what happens to ‘the n word’ if we start referring to blacks as ‘n words’ as in “The n-words are rioting again” or the “n-words are de-gentrifying the neighborhood and property values are sinking”?

    Seems that would be prohibited too after awhile.

    Maybe the problem is deeper than just words.

  9. He’s under fire for quoting a word that blacks say many times a day and Rappers say in every song? Maybe we do need an all out race war. 13% of the population, 80% of the problems!

    1. A typical Trumpist call to arms despite Turley pleading:

      “I sincerely wish we could have a civil and substantive discussion….”

    2. No! We do not need an all out race war!!

      Your race-based categorizing is a mirror image of the CRT categorizing and such categorizing is part of the problem.

  10. They can use the “W”-for-white word but we can’t use the n word.

    They can use the “C”-for-cracker word but we can’t use the n word.

    They can use the “H”-for-honky word but we can’t use the n word.

    Anybody had enough yet?

    Why don’t Americans express how hurt and offended we are by the use of the “W”-word, the “C”-word and the “H”-word?

    1. George, I believe a large number (majority, no doubt) of Americans have had enough. But having enough is not enough…where is the pushback?

      1. Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, BlazeTV, Infowars, and last and least, Trumpism. That is your pushback.

    2. But I’m not all hurt and offended by those words. They get an eyeroll like other childish attempts at insults. They are effectively ad hominems that demonstrate a real discussion cannot be had.

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