This video (despite my cameo) captures the hope you’ve given us all. Well done, Students for Life:
For much of the last fifteen years, I’ve battled in courts of law and public opinion for the free speech rights and of Christian students and professors. This long fight has led me to dozens of campuses and conventions where I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of Christian students. Frequently, I’m challenged by the same question and argument: “Why are you Christians so obsessed with gays and abortion? If you concentrated on serving the poor, like Jesus did, you wouldn’t have any problem being accepted.”
After hearing the question for years, I finally began to put it to test. Are we, in fact, “obsessed with gays and abortion? Do we neglect the poor to fight for marriage?” Read and find out. The answer may surprise you.
With all due respect to Twisted Sister (my sincere apologies for the hair band reference), 2010 International Pro-Life Activist of the year, Ruth Lobo, from Carleton College has decided that she’s not content with a memorable YouTube moment, she’s not going to tolerate further censorship of her pro-life views, and she is going to push back against a Canadian regime that pays lips service to free speech even as it arrests peaceful pro-life activists.
This week Ruth — along with fellow pro-life activist John McLeod — filed a Statement of Claim (the Canadian version of a lawsuit) against officials at Carleton College. Their claim is simple and compelling: that the university violated its own free speech promises when it had them handcuffed and arrested when they were merely holding signs in a public area. The university has repeatedly allowed other groups — like animal rights groups — to publicly display graphic images in the open spaces on campus. Yet it not only censored Ruth and John, it had them arrested.
It’s worth noting that Ruth and John are not your ordinary plaintiffs. In the U.S., if a student loses a lawsuit against their university, there’s virtually zero chance that they’ll have to pay the university’s legal costs. But if Ruth and John lose, Canadian rules could potentially compel them to pay the university’s lawyers. Yet these students are willing to take that risk because they understand that the cause of life is too important to be silenced.
And to think . . . here in the U.S. some students are afraid to defend the unborn because — maybe — they’ll have a harder time getting a reference letter from their favorite professor or — maybe — they’ll get a lower grade. We could learn a lot from Ruth and John.
This case will be a fascinating test for Canadian jurisprudence. Do the university’s policies extolling the value of free inquiry and debate actually mean what they say? Or is free speech in Canada on its final countdown?
He isn’t sure what political party he’d support if he was old enough to vote. “I’m not sure about the parties,” Bieber says. “But whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad.” He does have a solid opinion on abortion. “I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber says. “It’s like killing a baby?” How about in cases of rape? “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”
Not many celebrities are willing to take any kind of stand for life (*cough* most of the Christian music industry *cough*), much less in the pages of Rolling Stone. And so, as a tribute to Justin and a gift to you, dear readers, I give you . . . Justin Bieber!
Jeff, I enjoyed your neutrality post. In fact, it reminded me of the following brilliant analysis . . . from all the way back in 2002. In a discussion about the legal imbalance in our public schools, an exquisitely insightful bald lawyer said:
For the evangelical Christian, the Establishment Clause truly does create a wall of separation between church and state. Because our purposes are never “secular,” we cannot even even cross the first hurdle of the Lemon Test. There is simply no way we can explicitly, “officially” teach Christ to public school children.
For the [secular] liberal, however, the Establishment Clause is meaningless. Because their purposes are almost always explicitly “secular,” and because the “objective” view of the courts insulates leftist teachings (and even occasionally fringe religious practices) from constitutional challenge, there is no legal barrier to explicitly, “officially” teaching doctrines that stand directly against Christ. Because the scope of modern liberalism is so vast — touching on virtually every area of public and private life, from private sexual behavior to marital power dynamics to racial understanding to economic justice, and so on — the local public school can launch a comprehensive assault on virtually everything a Christian student believes, and there is nothing the courts will do to stop them.
Both sides hold beliefs with religious intensity. Only one can use the government to get out its message. Those two sentences are a virtually complete explanation for the contemporary Christian exodus from public schools.
And who is that brilliant, follicle-challenged scholar? I’ll give you a hint . . .