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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Respect others’ views, despite disagreement

Last week, a speaker on the Union Oval expounded his religious views and, in the process, sparked “some negative reactions from students,” to quote The BG News.

In his opinion, the fires of hell await homosexuals, fornicators and drunkards.

There’s no doubt the speaker was entitled to air his views. And there’s no doubt that some would disagree with them.

As a witness to last week’s events, it was evident that at least one student’s response went beyond what we would expect at an institution of higher learning. It consisted of an obscene hand gesture.

Although the First Amendment applies to both the speaker and his opponents, it cannot prevent bad taste, poor judgment or the absence of civility.

The problem with the student’s behavior is not that he wasn’t entitled to express his views, or even whether or not you agree with those views. His behavior did not involve the First Amendment.

Rather, it involved a failure to meet a standard we would expect from members of a university community.

Tolerance is woven like a thread into the tapestry of a university. The very premise of a university is the examination of new ideas and ways of looking at the world.

This is true diversity, not the faux diversity based on identity— that of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

It’s the diversity of ideas.

The siren song of “diversity” that we hear and see so much of today merely advances some groups’ agendas and promotes divisiveness.

It’s based on the belief that members of a certain group have a monopoly on knowledge or wisdom. It’s the tyranny of the minority.

This is not to imply acceptance of all new ideas. Tolerance of different ideas is not identical to acceptance.

But, by descending to the level of obscene gestures, the student has foreclosed any chance for rational discourse.

We hope for and expect a certain level of maturity on a college campus, which should be a place where different ideas can be discussed and debated without personal animus toward those who profess them.

In a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Justice William Brennan wrote, “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

Since we are a public university, Brennan’s words apply to us.

But, as a public university, we should seek and expect a higher standard for ourselves.

Respond to Phil at

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