censorship, christians, education, religion, religious right, sexism, Things We Should Know, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Shenanigans 2: The Next Day

For the edification of readers who are interested, here is an article from the Chronicle-Herald in which the university defends its decision to move the pro-life lecture discussed yesterday:

SMU defends moving pro-life lecture


Saint Mary’s University is defending its decision to relocate a pro-life presentation that was disrupted on its Halifax campus last Thursday.

“The university remains committed to academic freedom, diversity of opinion, and supports open debate in a forum that does not put the personal safety and rights of our community at risk,” a news release on the university’s website said Monday.

“There is a balance that must be maintained among all of these.”

Jojo Ruba, who helped found a Calgary non-profit group called the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, visited the university Feb. 5 as part of his speaking tour.

His lecture, Echoes of the Holocaust, drew comparisons between abortion and the genocide of six million Jews during the Second World War.

A new pro-life group at the university invited Mr. Ruba and booked a room through the school’s chaplain. But demonstrators from the Coalition for Choice arrived just as he started speaking, drowning out his speech and blocking his visual presentation.

“Protesters were asked to stop disrupting the event, but after more than an hour and a half, the presentation was relocated to a nearby location,” the university’s news release said.

The university said it was reviewing the matter.

(At least the C-H has finally decided to share the fact that the lecture continued, rather than omitting it from the story as they did yesterday.)

And there you are – no matter how offensive, how wrong-minded or how misogynistic his opinions might be, he does have the right to offer them. Free speech means just that: the freedom to speak about what you want, when you want (I’m not going to launch into a discussion of hate speech right at this moment – that way lies madness). The university’s position, no matter how much we may dislike it, is completely defensible, and would likely have been made in a similar way if the positions were reversed. In fact, by letting him talk, and display just how ignorant and deluded he is, the university has done everyone a favor. Let the petard-hoisting begin!

Addendum: Originally missed this editorial from the same paper, which covers largely the same ground. I disagree somewhat with the assessment of the CCLA lawyer quoted – the basis for my opposition to pro-life groups is their desire to take rights away from women, and not to generously offer them ‘another choice’. I doubt that it’s just me…

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9 thoughts on “Shenanigans 2: The Next Day

  1. “In fact, by letting him talk, and display just how ignorant and deluded he is, the university has done everyone a favor. Let the petard-hoisting begin!”

    Well, we should thank the protesters for causing the stir as well. If not for them, he would have spread his nonsense quietly and unnoticed, without having broad scrutiny put on them – as he usually does.

    So, by causing the stir, the protesters actually sparked the very debate Jojo sought to avoid and his views are being critically examined by more than a room full of fellow-travelers at a university (who of course, would not examine them critically, but lap them up like a saucer of milk).

    See, it did accomplish something.

    Now, what was that you were saying about petards?

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  2. A good point. Bravo, sir. Bra…vo.:)
    Seriously, I agree in principle, but approaching the media and indicating your opposition would have been more effective than having yourselves perceived as unreasonable – it just adds evidence for those who consider pro-choicers specifically, or ‘lefties’ in general as strident and emotionally motivated. The content of the message suffered because of the mode of delivery, in my opinion.

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  3. “The content of the message suffered because of the mode of delivery, in my opinion.”

    I don’t disagree, but I have a hard time being upset at a bunch or 20 somethings whose passions are inflamed. Perhaps its me, but given my time at Carleton University in the 80s, this is exactly what I expect.

    I’m sure Jojo expected it to and has played it to the hilt.

    Hopefully those kids have learned something.

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  4. Good point on the inflamed passions of 20 somethings, Mike, I think the point of Flash’s post, and certainly the argument that I’m trying to make is that while we certainly support their viewpoint, and applaud their enthusiasm – that maybe that energy could be better directed than in playing to their game…

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  5. I’m not really upset so much as disappointed that they made that particular choice. Behind it all is an appreciation that we live in a place where they could make that choice.
    I’m a Saint Mary’s alumnus, so I’m sure they’ve learned something – I know I managed to.:)

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  6. To those who follow the link above from “The Crustier Curmudgeon”, please read carefully before judging my position – it may surprise you. And feel free to comment as you feel appropriate. But only after you have read the post carefully.

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