We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country through speech codes and increasingly violent protests. Conservative speakers are now routined denied the opportunity to speak on campuses by university officials who cite security concerns or by mob action preventing events from occurring. The latest example is Ann Coulter whose speech was cancelled at the last minute by the university even though she agreed to additional conditions set by officials. Coulter however pledges to show up to speak regardless of the decision. That could produce a confrontation with the university in its continued failure to protect free speech on its campus.
We have previously discussed how some schools are abandoning the use of traditional pronouns to reflect a growing list of possible genders for students. Brown University has pushed these changes even further in its acceptance letters this year by using “they” as the “gender-inclusive” pronoun. Thus the letter refers to “their” achievements when referring to the singular admitted student. For many, the use of such plural pronouns for a single individual is confusing and ungrammatical. However, the Associated Press recently adopted the use of “they” as a preferred pronoun in recognition of transexual and other individuals who may not be comfortable with traditional genders.
We have previously discussed how the growing Chinese market for exotic animal parts is wiping out the world’s populations of endangered and threatened animals. This week the extent of that slaughter was brutally evident in Russia where poachers have killed over 20,000 reindeer . . . only to cut their tongues out and leaving miles of rotting carcasses.
Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the need for the Trump Administration to rescind the ill-conceived Obama order calling on universities to strip away due process rights of students accused of sexual harassment or assault.
We previously discussed the controversy over a painting by a constituent of Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay that depicted police as pigs in Ferguson, Missouri. As we discussed, the House had a right to remove the art and eventually did precisely that. However, before that decision from the House, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Cal.) took down the painting. Clay called for criminal charges. When the painting was rehung, another Republican member removed it. At the time, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them. Then the architect stepped in and barred the hanging of the picture. A lawsuit challenged the actions of the House of Representatives and I expressed my great skepticism over the merits of such a case. It appears that U.S. District Judge John D. Bates agrees with that assessment. In a ruling yesterday, Bates rejected the claim that the Architect’s actions were unlawful in removing the painting by David Pulphus, a student artist from Missouri. Pulphus joined Rep. William Clay, in the legal challenge.
The world has condemned the referendum that narrowly gave near dictatorial powers to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Not only was the government accused of tampering with the close results, but the referendum represents the final demise of democracy in Turkey. Erdogan is also responsible for destroying the separation of church and state. However, Erdogan did get one call of congratulations . . . from the President of the United States.
There is an interesting study out this week by two University of Kentucky researchers that the number of atheists may be twice as large as previously estimated. The number may be closer to 26 percent — an fascinating prospect given the politics surrounding faith-based initiatives and policies. As I have previously discussed, both parties have courted the religious vote and largely ignored the sizable number of Americans who are either agnostic or atheist. That number may be finally reaching a political tipping point for office holders to heed their preferences for secular government and the separation of church and state. We have previously discussed studies indicating that one out of four Americans may not believe in God. This study would seem to support those earlier estimates.