A couple of weeks ago a professor at Vanderbilt University became the center of controversy. Carol Swain, professor of political science and law, wrote what should be a very non-controversial op-ed in the Nashville Tennessean:
As Miller has so often stated, Islam has a problem with the West. Islam will never understand the freedoms that we live and die to preserve. If America is to be safe, it must remove the foxes from the henhouses and institute serious monitoring of Islamic organizations.
Civic education and other indicators of assimilation should be a prerequisite for remaining and advancing in this nation. We must be willing to recognize the dangers of the burka (head-to-toe garb worn by women in some Islamic sects), which allows individuals to completely conceal their identities.
If Muslims are to thrive in America, and if we are to be safe, then we must have ground rules that protect the people from those who disdain the freedoms that most of the world covets.
While we haven’t had anything on the order of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, we have seen Christian evangelists arrested in Dearborn, Michigan for fear that they would start a riot. Mind you, the police didn’t act against any rioters, they arrested men preaching the Gospel. And, of course, attacks on Dr. Swain weren’t far behind. From muslims:
Vanderbilt undergraduate Farishtay Yamin said she “could not believe her eyes” when she first read the editorial.
“How could such an educated, informed woman, a professor at Vanderbilt in charge of educating our youth, publish such ignorance?” Yamin said. “It’s hard for me to describe how much pain I felt reading an article written by a Vanderbilt professor who, before meeting me, considers me to be a threat to Western society. She wrote that I was a threat to American people and children. I was born in New Jersey. I’ve lived almost my entire life in the United States—and yet there are people who will never consider me to be an American or accept me as one of their own. And that really hurts.”
It is interesting to note that Ms. Yamin (below) would be flogged if she showed up in Riyadh wearing this garb, and the fact that she as a muslim woman is allowed to attend a co-educational institution and drive a car is due solely to the fact that she does not live in a country with a muslim majority–
And she is unable to offer any response to Dr. Swain’s measured and reasonable critique other than “Meany-Pants!”
Naturally, when ever totalitarianism is challenged you will find a college Democrat defending it and attacking whoever denounces it. A dipstick named “Michael Diamond” writes in Vanderbilt College Democrats respond to Carol Swain
As an organization with members from diverse ethnic, religious, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, Vanderbilt College Democrats is committed to maintaining an atmosphere on campus of inclusion and respect for all. We therefore condemn the caricature of Islam presented in Professor Swain’s Tennessean op-ed and reaffirm that the vast majority of the Vanderbilt community has nothing but respect for our Muslim friends and colleagues, and we applaud those who have posted, written letters, emailed and even rallied to demonstrate our support for tolerance and inclusion.
However, noxious as it may be, Professor Swain is entitled to her free speech, and Vanderbilt College Democrats does not call for and would not support administrative action against her. Yet at the same time, we must not confuse speech that is legally permissible with speech that advances education. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” The remarks in question not only showed lack of critical analysis, but also revealed troublingly bigoted beliefs, rooted in ignorance of one of the world’s major religions.
Again, you’ll note that both here and in the full letter, Diamond doesn’t address a single point raised by Dr. Swain. He, like Yamin, screams “Meany-Pants!” and accuses Dr. Swain of bigotry in the bargain.
In addition to the juvenile whining and utter intellectual incapacity shown by Yamin and Diamond, there is the rather bizarre spectacle of a bunch of privileged, upper class, white kids calling a black female professor, who did not graduate high school (she received a GED), and was a teenage mother of bigotry.
I don’t profess to be an authority on comparative religion. I’ve found that Trinitarian theology provides more than ample fodder for my intellectual abilities. Though I have no doubt whatsoever that Christianity is the only true faith and I might try to nudge a non-believer in that direction, I have no interest in telling other religions how to conduct their affairs. At the same time, I don’t subscribe to the view that all religions are compatible with the mostly-secular but Judeo-Christian based societies one find in mostly in Europe, the Americas, and Australia. In the case of Islam, it has become very, very obvious, as Dr. Swain notes, that that religion simply cannot coexist with core Western values.
When the discussion of the issues is placed completely off limits, like the two little neo-Nazis at Vanderbilt are trying to do do, based on the excuse that feelings will be hurt, then a grave disservice is done to our society. You know what, slave owners didn’t like be criticized. The Klan didn’t like being criticized. And muslims don’t like being criticized. And basically for the same reason. If their peculiar beliefs are not subject to scrutiny and debate then their belief are safe.