When A Free Press Opposes Free Speech

The Charlotte Observer recently ran an editorial, which seeks to intentionally misinform the public about HB527 – a bill to restore free speech on campuses in the UNC system. Let me be as clear as I possibly can: The editors who wrote this piece are not confused about what HB527 says. They are intentionally misrepresenting what it says because they oppose free speech. That’s a bold statement, which I intend to back by reprinting the worst parts of their editorial followed by my own observations:

…(T)he move by North Carolina and a handful of other states to enact laws that enhance punishment for students who disrupt speeches is a solution that would be worse than the problem. Despite what happened to (Ann) Coulter and the likes of Tom Tancredo over his immigration views, UNC Wilmington Professor Mike Adams and his conservatism, and Spike Lee, who faced death and bomb threats when he spoke in North Carolina years ago, free speech is well-protected on college campuses. The proposed law, which passed the House in Raleigh late last week, may end up undercutting some forms of free expression to purportedly enhance the protection of other forms.

The editors have managed to put three unsupported assertions into the same paragraph. They twice assert that HB527 may hurt free speech but they don’t tell us how. As bad as that is, it pales by comparison to the utterly absurd assertion that “free speech is well-protected on college campuses.” Such nonsense is on a par with saying that due process is well protected in North Korea. If the editors really believed that they would need to be hospitalized for severe intellectual hernia. But they don’t really believe that. In fact, no one believes that. The question is not whether there is a free speech crisis on our campuses. The question is whether it is a problem. The answer to that question depends upon two factors: 1) Your politics and 2) Your character.

If you are a conservative or an honest liberal you know there is a free speech problem on college campuses. Obviously, there are no conservatives or honest liberals working on the editorial board of The Charlotte Observer.

There has to be space for Coulter, despite her ugly rhetoric, which included saying Muslim countries needed to be invaded, their leaders killed and Muslims forced to convert to Christianity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. There also has to be room for students and others to confront her – as long as violence and other threats are not used. Coulter has the right to make audiences uncomfortable, and those audiences have the right to make her uncomfortable, too.

That last paragraph was written as if the editors did not even read HB527. Of course, we know that they did read it – but they are just misrepresenting what it says. Furthermore, the paragraph has no relevance to the HB527 debate – unless, of course, the bill purports to provide a constitutional right of comfort for conservatives like Coulter while denying a corresponding right to those who “confront” her.

The plain language of HB527 says, “It is not the proper role of any constituent institution to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” In other words, HB527 nullifies campus speech codes that purport to create a constitutional right to comfort – and it protects potentially offensive speech on a viewpoint neutral basis. Thus, the editors use feigned support of a specific provision of HB527 as a reason to oppose HB527. This is Soviet style journalism.

Critics of House Bill 527, also called “Restore/preserve campus free speech,” rightly note that it is based on model legislation from a conservative think tank and is overly vague, leaving too much room for abuse. Who gets to define how “disruptive” is too disruptive? Some of the country’s most important and effective social movements have involved in-your-face activists disrupting meals while sitting at segregated lunch counters, disrupting the flow of traffic, disrupting speeches on campus and elsewhere.

There are two dangerous admissions in this paragraph. 1) The editors admit that their real reason for opposing HB527 is that it came from conservatives. According to the editors, free speech is not a problem on campuses. But if there was one the editors couldn’t let conservatives solve it because that would deprive them of the ability to depict conservatives as the real enemies of free speech. 2) The editors actually equate lying down in the middle of a public road and blocking the flow of traffic with protected speech. It must hurt to be this intellectually constipated. Nothing more need be said.

There are already plenty of laws against violence and trespassing, as well as court-based remedies for those who have been wrongly silenced. (Adams sued and won when he was denied a promotion.) Colleges and universities everywhere have conduct codes that deal with unruly students.

The “Adams won and so can you” argument is simply hysterical. The editors do not mention that it took me seven years and over a million dollars in attorney fees to win in federal court. Nor do they mention that before I went to court I was already a campus free speech activist connected with the best First Amendment attorneys in America. The average student does not have my connections or my resources. In fact, none of them do.

Furthermore, by claiming that “conduct codes” are a solution (to the free speech problem they already denied) the editors show their deep ignorance of university policy. Codes such as UNCW’s “disorderly conduct” policy have been used as weapons against free speech.

Case in point: In 2015, a UNCW student faced expulsion for sending a single campus email referring to UNCW administrators as “punk asses.” While crude, this is constitutionally protected speech. Fortunately, the student contacted me asking for assistance. I called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education who came in and saved the day by defending the student and getting the charges dropped.

Obviously, the “disorderly conduct” code was there to protect university administrators from being offended. HB527 does away with that. Under the new bill, students can’t be prosecuted for offending government agents with their speech. They can only be prosecuted for disrupting the speech of other citizens simply because they were offended. This distinction is so simple that even a newspaper editor could understand it.

The solution isn’t another ill-advised law; it’s better education about why free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy and a more robust adherence not only to the letter of the First Amendment, but its spirit.

This is more intentional deception by the editors. HB527 states that, “All constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina shall include in freshman orientation programs a section describing the policies regarding free expression consistent with this Article.” In other words, HB527 educates incoming freshman about proper respect for free speech as well as the university’s refusal to tolerate those who obstruct it.

These editors are not confused. They are in bed with corrupt administrators and rioting “progressives.” They have no journalistic integrity.

Aborting Hitler

Author’s note: This post is for a former student of mine who was recently asked whether it would have been better if Hitler were aborted. She did not know how to answer and sought guidance from me. Indeed, the question does deserve a thoughtful response. Here is mine.

Someone once asked me whether I would abort Adolf Hitler if I knew in advance he would try to launch a Holocaust against millions of Jews. I said I would not. That is because aborting Hitler would not have prevented the Holocaust. It would have justified it. The killing of millions of innocents does not begin with the killing of one innocent. It begins with the idea that in the larger scheme of things it is permissible to kill one innocent person.

The movie Judgment in Nuremburg (1961) shows that, even in Hollywood, Americans once appreciated this important principle. The movie is three hours long. But one only needs to watch the last ten minutes of the movie in order to see how far we have fallen in just a half-century.

For those who do not remember the end of the movie, Spencer Tracy plays an American judge who sentences former Nazis for their involvement in the Holocaust. One Nazi judge who sentenced innocents to death was himself sentenced to life in prison. As the sentence is read, he stares off in disbelief. He initially believes he is innocent because he was simply following the law. He later realizes his life sentence was just.

Only a couple of days after he is sentenced, the former Nazi judge requests that the American judge visit him in his jail cell. As he faces the man who sentenced him, he makes an odd request: he asks him to keep his personal memoirs – adding that they must be placed in the hands of a man who can be trusted. It is then that he declares the sentence passed upon him was just.

After pausing for a moment, the condemned Nazi judge says of the millions of dead Jews, “Those millions of people. I never knew it would come to that.” Spencer Tracy, playing the American judge, responds with one of the most profound lines of his storied acting career saying, “It came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”

That has been the story of the American Holocaust as well. It began in 1966 in my native state of Mississippi. Just two years after I was born, a law was passed that made it legal to abort in the case of rape or incest. But then, the very next year, Colorado passed legislation allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the health of the mother.

Then the floodgates were opened. By the end of the year, several states were pushing legislation modeled after the Colorado statute. Within just six years, abortion for mere convenience was not just permitted by several states. It was enshrined as a fundamental constitutional right.

Some have declared that they will not rest until Roe v. Wade is overturned. Others say that is too lofty a goal. I disagree. I believe it is too shortsighted. We must reach further back if we want to reverse our moral free fall. Pre-1973 thinking is not enough. We must go back to the time when no state authorized the killing of innocents – a time when only the rapist, not the product of rape, was eligible for a sentence of death.

Ideas have consequences. And so do exceptions. One of the consequences of embracing an evil exception is that it hardens our hearts and clouds our thinking in advance of our consideration of other exceptions. Eventually we come to a point where we cannot imagine life without that initial exception.

It is fitting that it all began in Mississippi. We have a legacy of executing innocents by denying their personhood. It happened with slavery. It happened again with abortion. Now we have learned to justify our own Holocaust. We didn’t need Hitler after all.

My Spread the Wealth Grading Policy

Author’s Note: A reader asked me to repost this article, which originally appeared on TownHall.com shortly after Obama was sworn into office.

Good afternoon students! I’m writing you this email to announce that I’m making some changes in the grading policies I announced two weeks ago when I sent an email with an attached course syllabus. As you know, we now have a new president and I thought it would be nice to align our class policies with some of the policies he will be implementing over the next four years. These will be changes you can believe in and, I hope, changes that will inspire hope, which is our most important American value.

Previously, I announced that I would use a ten-point grading scale, which means that 90% of 100 is an “A,” 80% is a “B,” 70% is a “C,” and 60% is enough for a passing grade of “D.” I also announced that I will refrain from using a “plus/minus” system – even though the faculty handbook gives me that option.

The new policy I am announcing today is that those who score above 90 on the first exam will have points deducted and given to students at the bottom of the grade distribution. For example, if a student gets a 99, I will then deduct nine points and give them to the person with the lowest grade. If a person scores 95 I will then deduct five points and give them to the person with the second lowest grade. If someone scores 93 I will then deduct three points and give them to the next lowest person. And so on.

My point, rather obviously, is that any points above 90 are really not needed since you have an “A” regardless of whether you score 90 or 99. Nor am I convinced that you need to “save” those points for a rainy day. Those who are failing, however, need the points – not unlike the failing banks and automakers that need money to avoid the danger of bankruptcy.

After our second examination, I intend to take a more complex approach to the practice of grade redistribution. I will not be looking at your second test scores but, instead, at the average of your first two test scores. In the process, I may well decide to start taking some points from students in the “B” range. For example, if someone has an average of 85 after two tests I may take a few points and give them away to someone who is failing or who is in danger of failing. I think this is fair because the person with an 85 average is probably unlikely to climb up to an “A” or fall down to a “C.” I may be wrong in some individual cases but, of course, my principal concern is not the individual.

By the end of the semester I will abandon any formal guidelines and just redistribute points in a way that seems just, or fair, to me. I will not rely upon any standards other than my very strong and passionate feelings concerning social justice. In the process, I will not merely seek to eliminate inequality. I will also seek to eliminate the possibility of failure.

I know some are concerned that my system may impact their lives in a very profound way. Grade redistribution will undoubtedly cause some grade point average redistribution. And this, in turn, will mean that some people will not get into the law school or medical school of their choice. Or maybe some day you will be represented by a lawyer – or operated on by a doctor – who is not of the highest quality.

These are all, of course, legitimate long-term concerns. But I believe we need to remain focused on the short term. I think my new system will immediately help the self-esteem of those failing or in danger of failing. It should also help the self-esteem of those who are not in danger of failing. After all, it just feels good to give – even if the giving is compelled and not really “giving” in the literal sense.

Finally, I want to note that a former presidential candidate named George McGovern also inspired this idea. In a debate with the late William F. Buckley, McGovern said that people who earn more money should pay more taxes. Buckley replied that the rich do pay more in taxes – and more as a percentage of their income. McGovern looked confused.

But I don’t think there’s anything confusing about our pending social responsibilities. Whether we are talking about income or grades it does not matter how much or what percentage we are giving. The question is and should always be “Can we give more?”

Divinity and Diversity Part V (Duke Process of Law)

Duke is the most fundamentally racist and sexist university in America. If you don’t believe me just ask Paul Griffiths – an Oxford educated now-former Professor at Duke Divinity School (DDS). Just last semester, Griffiths, who is white, expressed opposition to a Racial Equity Institute “diversity” program that was being pushed by one of his so-called colleagues. Expressing his opposition to the program resulted in a charge of racial and sexual harassment by a white professor named Thea Portier-Young. Rather than face a kangaroo court that refused to provide him documentation of relevant evidence in advance of his hearing, Griffiths resigned his tenured position.

To be sure, the decision of Griffiths to resign rather than fight has been met with sharp criticism. But critics of Griffiths seem to have forgotten what happens to people at Duke when unsupported charges are leveled against them. Lest we forget what history has taught us, let us review the actions of the campus community at Duke University beginning over a decade ago in the wake of the Duke lacrosse scandal.

After a lying criminal named Crystal Mangum accused two, then three, then four, then five, then six, then twenty white lacrosse players of raping her she finally settled on a version of events in which she was raped by three white lacrosse players. Later, she was unable to identify any of them from a comprehensive set of photos of players then on the team. By this point, it was clear she was lying. The campus should have come to the defense of the falsely accused students. But what happened next? Here are some highlights:

-Larry Moneta, vice president of student affairs at Duke, told a defense attorney that he thought the boys were guilty, despite the clear contradictions in Mangum’s story.

-Professor Tim Tyson protested outside the home of the Duke lacrosse captain. He later stated, “The spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house.” He added the asinine remark that it was probably “illegal” for the accused players to refuse to talk to the police without a lawyer.

-Professor Houston Baker demanded the dismissal of all 46 Duke lacrosse players – and dismissed the presumption of innocence as a “tepid legalism.”

-Professor Kim Curtis lowered the grades of two innocent lacrosse players in her class. She then joined a protest march in the neighborhoods of the innocent students.

-Emboldened by their professors, Duke students marched on campus with signs calling for innocent players to be castrated.

-Duke President Brodhead cancelled the lacrosse season and forced a completely innocent coach to resign.

-Brodhead then accused the innocent players of advancing “dehumanization,” “racial oppression,” – and then, bizarrely, “wealth,” “privilege,” and “attitudes of superiority.”

-A group of 88 professors joined the political gang rape of the innocent students by promising their condemnation of them would not end “with what the police or court decides.”

-After an ATM video cleared one accused rapist – and DNA analysis cleared everyone else – Duke President Brodhead said, “if our students did what is alleged, it is appalling in the first degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”

-After all the players were cleared, 10 Duke sociology professors condemned them in an open letter declaring, “sexual assault is endemic” at Duke.

-Professor Paula McLain was then rewarded for her vocal role in falsely accusing the lacrosse players. Lauding her “concern for the individual well-being of students” Duke promoted her to dean of Duke Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education.

-In the wake of their unsuccessful 2006 witch hunt against the lacrosse players, Duke made policy changes that would make it easier to launch future witch hunts. Their 2009 “zero tolerance” policy included a new definition of rape, which warned that “Real or perceived power differentials between individuals may create an unintentional atmosphere of coercion.”

-Sheila Broderick, Duke’s gender violence intervention services coordinator, warned that when the campus judiciary acquitted an accused rapist “you and I know that he’s responsible, and that’s at the end of the day what really matters.” In other words, everyone is guilty of rape when accused.

-Duke then implemented a new training program to teach those who sit on sexual assault disciplinary panels that less than two percent of all sexual assault allegations are false. Duke also changed the sexual assault sanctions to allow for the expulsion of students who engaged in mere kissing without affirmative consent.

-A newly trained Duke rape tribunal then found a drunken male student who had sex with a drunken female student guilty of rape. Coercion was assumed because she was drunk. After his expulsion was recommended, the student’s lawyer pointed out that the presumption of non-consent based on drunkenness would mean that he was also raped by the woman he was accused of raping. Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek responded by saying, “It’s the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex.”

Looking back at what happened in the case of the Duke lacrosse team, and subsequent changes in campus judiciary procedures, there are at least three reasonable inferences one can draw:

1. Duke’s obsession with racial politics guarantees that anyone accused of racism will be lynched in the Duke “community.”

2. Duke’s obsession with sexual politics guarantees that anyone accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment will be deprived on any semblance of due process or fair treatment.

3. In a case that involves both racial and sexual politics, the peril to the accused is exponentially increased.

So does anyone have any questions about why Professor Griffiths resigned instead of facing trumped up charges of racial and sexual harassment by a thin-skinned leftist professor with tenure?

Divinity and Diversity Part IV

Dean Elaine Heath and Professor Thea Portier-Young of Duke Divinity School (DDS) are apparently intellectually incompetent. When faced with disagreement, they are unable to express their ideas with cogent argument. Instead, these “Christian” academics prefer to destroy their colleagues, rather than debate them. In fact, their conduct towards a fellow Christian professor has been so egregious that any decent Christian school would have removed them from their faculty for conduct inconsistent with basic Christian values. Of course, that will never happen. DDS has long been Christian in name only.

In the case of Dean Heath, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to initiate a ludicrous charge of “unprofessional conduct” against Professor Paul Griffiths for the crime of simply refusing to share her commitment to radical racial identity politics. In the case of Professor Portier-Young, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to file an even more ludicrous charge of “harassment” against Professor Griffiths – for the crime of simply criticizing her agenda of advancing racial identity politics. Such actions are anti-intellectual, totalitarian, cowardly, and antithetical to basic Christian principles.

I have obtained emails from Professor Griffiths that detail the actions taken against him by Dean Heath and Professor Portier-Young. Here is an overview of what they reveal:

(1) The Discipline initiated by Dean Heath against Professor Griffiths. In February 2017, Dean Heath contacted Professor Griffiths and asked for an appointment in which she proposed to communicate her expectations for “professional conduct” at DDS. After a brief email exchange concerning the conditions for the meeting, an agreement was reached for a four-way meeting. The participants would include Dean Heath, Randy Maddox (Dean of DDS Faculty, as support for Dean Heath), Professor Griffiths, and Professor Thomas Pfau (as support for Professor Griffiths). That meeting was scheduled for March 6, 2017. Just before that date, Dean Heath cancelled the meeting without explanation. Shortly thereafter, Dean Heath proposed a new meeting on the same topic, but without Professor Pfau’s participation. Professor Griffiths responded by proposing a one-on-one meeting between himself and Heath. No agreement was reached and, to date, no meeting has occurred. In a letter dated March 10, 2017, Dean Heath initiated financial and administrative reprisals against Griffiths. The reprisals included a) banning him from faculty meetings b) banning him from voting on faculty affairs and c) banning him from future access to research or travel funds.

(2) Discipline initiated by Portier-Young against Griffiths, through the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). In early March, Professor Griffiths received a phone call from Cynthia Clinton, who is an officer of the OIE. It was disclosed that Professor Portier-Young had filed a complaint of harassment against him. The accusation was that Professor Griffiths had used racist and sexist speech in a manner that rose to the level of creating a hostile work environment. A meeting was then scheduled for March 20, 2017 between Griffiths and representatives of the OIE to discuss the allegations. Professor Griffiths then requested a written version of the allegations, together with all of the supporting evidence, in advance of the meeting. Clinton declined both requests. Consequently, Professor Griffith declined the meeting and sent a written statement to the OIE.

In response to the malicious accusations again him, Professor Griffiths decided to resign his position as a tenured professor at DDS. Why he decided to resign rather than fight will be the subject of the last installment in this five part series. It will also be the most important installment in the series.

Divinity and Diversity Part III

Dear Dean Heath (eheath@div.duke.edu):

I am writing to express my grave concern over some remarks you recently made during the course of an exchange among faculty members at Duke Divinity School (DDS). I have reproduced all three paragraphs of your email to DDS below. Following each paragraph, I have listed several questions. I hope you will take the time to respond to each one of them.

First, I am looking forward to participating in the REI training, and I am proud that we are hosting it at Duke Divinity School. Thea, thank you for your part in helping us to offer this important event. I am deeply committed to increasing our school’s intellectual strength, spiritual vitality, and moral authority, and this training event will help with all three.

1. What do you mean by intellectual strength, spiritual vitality, and moral authority? Could you offer concise definitions of each of these terms?
2. How did you arrive at the conclusion that Racial Equity Institute (REI) training “will help with all three” of the concepts I just asked you to define?
3. Have you ever considered that racial identity politics (e.g., the Duke lacrosse travesty) has contributed to the diminished reputation of Duke University?
4. Have you ever considered adding a component to REI training that would educate faculty about the harmful effects of making false allegations of racism against students and faculty at Duke University?

On another matter: It is certainly appropriate to use mass emails to share announcements or information that is helpful to the larger community, such as information about the REI training opportunity. It is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements–including arguments ad hominem–in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree. The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution.

1. Could you please define the following terms: ad hominem, racism, sexism, and bigotry?
2. How did you arrive at the conclusion that Professor Griffiths was making an ad hominem attack or otherwise engaging in racist, sexist, and bigoted speech?
3. Have you ever considered the possibility that your use of mass email to characterize Professor Griffiths’ speech as expressions of his “racism,” “sexism,” and “bigotry” would be seen as an ad hominem attack?
4. Are false accusations of racism, sexism, and bigotry acceptable in a Christian institution?
5. As a Dean at DDS is it your job to encourage the free exchange of ideas or to discourage the free exchange of ideas by making disparaging statements against those with whom you disagree?

As St. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, regardless of how exquisite our gifts are, if we do not exercise them with love our words are just noise.

Elaine A. Heath, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral Theology
Duke Divinity School

1.Was your recent mass email attack on Paul Griffiths an act of love?
2. Do you understand the meaning of the words you use or are you just making noise?

That’s all I have for now. I look forward to your responses.


Mike S. Adams
Columnist, TownHall.com
Professor, UNC-Wilmington

Divinity and Diversity Part II

Dear Professor Griffiths (pgriffiths@div.duke.edu):

I have written your colleague Thea Portier-Young to ask some questions about her recent interest in promoting racial equity training for faculty at Duke Divinity School (DDS). It struck me as odd that this would be a priority at DDS. So far, she has not given me the courtesy of a response. While I was waiting on her to respond, I decided to write to you to express my strong agreement with some comments you made in response to Thea’s request for members of the DDS community to attend such a time-consuming and obviously politically one-sided exercise in self-flatulation. In my view, your comments were right on target. I have reproduced your three-paragraph response below with some of my own observations included between paragraphs:

I’m responding to Thea’s exhortation that we should attend the Racial Equity Institute Phase 1 Training scheduled for 4-5 March. In her message she made her ideological commitments clear. I’ll do the same, in the interests of free exchange.

I simply want to comment that you have distinguished yourself as among a minority in higher education in 21st Century America – simply by calling for the free exchange of ideas on a university campus. I suspect that your decision to include a specific reminder that your comments were “in the interests of free exchange” was motivated by an expectation that you would be ostracized for expressing an unpopular opinion. Yet you spoke your mind anyway. Accordingly, I applaud your courage.

I exhort you not to attend this training. Don’t lay waste your time by doing so. It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: there’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty. When (if) it gets beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show. Events of this sort are definitively anti-intellectual. (Re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history; I hope you’ll keep that history in mind as you think about this instance.

Your one sentence stating the incontestable truth that, “Re-trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history,” is sheer poetry. At universities all across the nation, academics from well-established disciplines such as English, history, sociology, and psychology have shown a willingness to sit through these lectures, which are almost invariably initiated and taught by career administrators.

Almost without exception, such administrators possess illegitimate degrees – either in “educational administration” or in some recently established pseudo-discipline ending in the word “studies.” To make matters worse, the administrators teach faculty about things such as proper English usage, racial history, sociological dynamics, and their psychological ramifications. In other words, these professors relinquish their own claim to authority within their own areas of expertise to ideologically driven bureaucrats.

There can be no other explanation for the concession than that they fear the reprisals of refusing to concede legitimate academic authority in their designated areas of expertise. This is the height of anti-intellectualism – not to mention individual cowardice. Again, you have shown courage in your resistance.

We here at Duke Divinity have a mission. Such things as this training are at best a distraction from it and at worst inimical to it. Our mission is to think, read, write, and teach about the triune Lord of Christian confession. This is a hard thing. Each of us should be tense with the effort of it, thrumming like a tautly triple-woven steel thread with the work of it, consumed by the fire of it, ever eager for more of it. We have neither time nor resources to waste. This training is a waste. Please, ignore it. Keep your eyes on the prize.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the Book of Galatians that, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In other words, there is no room for identity politics in Christianity. Apparently, you are among the few people in DDS who gets that. Again, I applaud you – this time for your discernment.

In closing, I just wanted to thank you for standing up to the rigid ideological conformity that has overtaken DDS – as well as the larger campus of Duke University. The fact that Duke has become an ideological echo chamber helps explain the poor decisions made in the course of the Duke lacrosse meltdown of 2006. If more professors had the courage to resist ideological conformity then Duke would have been spared the public relations disaster that followed the decision of over 100 professors and administrators to defame innocent Duke students in the name of “social justice.”

That single incident was a sufficient testament to just how divisive and unproductive racial politics can be. Thus, it stands alone as sufficient justification for ignoring the victim industry that has been fueling division in academia for far too long.

Best wishes in your future endeavors,

Mike S. Adams

Columnist, TownHall.com
Professor, UNC-Wilmington

Divinity and Diversity

Author note: This is the first installment in a short documentary series on the latest controversy at Duke University. Several more installment will follow.

Dear Professor Portier-Young (apyoung@div.duke.edu):

It is my understanding that on Monday, February 6, 2017, you sent an email to the entire faculty of Duke Divinity School, in which you urged them to attend a two-day 8:30 am to 5 p.m. “Racial Equity Institute” training program. I also understand that your email started an exchange that has resulted in harassment charges against – and, ultimately, the resignation of – a faculty member. As one who writes about free speech and diversity issues in higher education, I have taken great interest in that exchange. I have reproduced the lead paragraph of your February email below. Following that paragraph, I have listed some questions, to which I hope you will take the time to respond:

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

On behalf of the Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee, I strongly urge you to participate in the Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training planned for March 4 and 5. We have secured funding from the Provost to provide this training free to our community and we hope that this will be a first step in a longer process of working to ensure that DDS is an institution that is both equitable and anti-racist in its practices and culture. While a number of DDS faculty, staff, and students have been able to participate in REI training in recent years, we have never before hosted a training at DDS. Those who have participated in the training have described it as transformative, powerful, and life-changing. We recognize that it is a significant commitment of time; we also believe it will have great dividends for our community. Please find the registration link below. Details about room location will be announced soon.

1. Could you list some specific details concerning the “transformative” nature of racial equity training? In other words, exactly how were the lives of members of the DDS community “transformed” by the training?
2. In what ways were these “transformations” similar to their conversions to Christianity? In what ways were they different?
3. What exactly are the “great dividends” you expect the racial equity training to provide to your divinity school?

That is all I have. I look forward to your responses.

Mike S. Adams

Columnist, TownHall.com