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More 'Tolerance' From Stalinist Universities


Honestly, sometimes leftist thought police surprise even me, not so much with their unreasonableness, extremism and tyrannical tactics but with their brazenness in openly showing who they are. Each new day's headlines trump yesterday's.

A few weeks ago, Fox News' Todd Starnes reported on a Marquette University student's encounter with his ethics instructor. The professor, Cheryl Abbate, was leading her "Theory of Ethics" class in a discussion about the application of philosophical theories to controversial political issues.

Among the issues listed on the blackboard were gay rights, gun rights and the death penalty. Professor Abbate removed gay rights from the list before the discussion began, with the summary explanation, "We all agree on this."

This puzzled the student, as he certainly did not agree with his instructor's view on the issue and believed it should have been open for discussion along with the other issues. He approached Abbate after class and expressed his opinion that the class should have been allowed to discuss gay rights.

The student recorded his conversation with Abbate without her permission or knowledge. Questions concerning the impropriety of that secret recording aside, the substance of the recorded exchange is illuminating.

The student asked, "Are you saying if I don't agree with gays not being allowed to get married that I'm homophobic?"

The teacher said, "I'm saying it would come off as a homophobic comment in this class."

After further discussion, Abbate said, "You don't have a right in this class (an ethics class) especially to make homophobic comments."

When the student persisted that he is not homophobic and that the professor was restricting his rights and individual liberties, Abbate shot back: "You can have whatever opinions you want, but I will tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, sexist comments will not be tolerated. If you don't like it, you are more than free to drop this class."

The student took her up on the offer and dropped the class. His complaint with university officials went nowhere.

As totalitarian and censorial as Abbate's behavior was, what followed was arguably worse.

Marquette professor John McAdams learned about the incident and expressed his strong disapproval on his blog, Marquette Warrior. McAdams wrote: "Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university."

Boy, did McAdams step in it. It's not just university students whose speech is suppressed there.

On Dec. 16, McAdams received a letter from the dean relieving him of his teaching duties, saying he was under investigation and banned from campus.

To get a flavor of the terse three-paragraph letter, take a look at the first sentence of the final paragraph from Dean Richard C. Holz: "You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit."

In its letter to McAdams, the university did not specify the charges against him, but President Michael R. Lovell wrote a letter to the campus community and said: "This is a matter of official policy, but it's also a matter of our values. Respect is at the heart of our commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching. ... The university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. ... We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format."

There you have it. We have a professor at a university (a Catholic one, no less) — an institution ostensibly dedicated to intellectual and academic inquiry and the free flow of ideas and expression — prohibiting certain relevant views from even being discussed in the classroom, encouraging a dissenting student to drop the class if he doesn't approve of the Stalinist tactics, and casting opposing views as "hatred."

Then we have another professor who expresses his strong dissent of such Stalinist practices and is consequently subjected to worse Stalinist practices in the form of being summarily suspended from his duties and banned from the campus as if he were a serial felon or known terrorist.

Do leftists even pretend to be intellectually open and behaviorally tolerant anymore? If they do, will anyone take them seriously?

Defenders of these abominably indefensible actions will tell you, indignantly, that they give no quarter to those who are intolerant. But what they mean is that they are militantly intolerant of people who express views different from their own, even if the people expressing those views are highly respectful of everyone concerned.

What scares me more than the left's deliberate muzzling of people's expression is that it's doing so with an air of moral superiority, coupled with a perfect blindness to the perniciousness of its actions, its overt hypocrisy and its moral bankruptcy.

The enemies of liberty and tolerance continue their scorched-earth oppression of their political opponents under the fraudulent banners of tolerance and liberty — and it is truly sickening and highly disturbing.

David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... The professor was correct in her handling of this situation. Universities should be places of knowledge and not of political or religious intimidation. Kids are like ivy who grow against the wall of the institutions and their teacher, but no one can tell that ivy where to grow, but neither should the ivy tell the professor and institution where to stand.

Your "puzzled student" did not belong in a class, but out in the real world and on his own because his mind was clearly made up. What one must surrender to learn anything is the thought that one knows. One must give belief a walk to give knowledge a chance of a seat. I personally think that nothing is off the moral black board ever. Every single choice we make in life is a moral choice, and whether we make that moral choice well or poorly judges us moral or immoral. But there is no point in a Theory of Ethics class in treating some issue so little off the moral table as a done deal.

There will most certainly be a backlash on this and on other moral issues. As our civility ends, as the whole political system fails us, and the economic system crumbles before our eyes there is certainly going to be an effort for the most organized group in the country, meaning the churches, to assert their authority which they believe is moral; and because they have the guns and the willingness to use them in the context of their morality, they are a danger.

We need to have these moral discussions, and not because Ethics or even a Theory of Ethics can be taught. I think this society is dying because of its accepted moral contradictions. I do not think it is even able to produce moral children, so that if we do not find the root of our morality after the fact, we will not have it at all. And this is essential. In war, moral victory is essential to military victory. You cannot expect immoral people to die in battle or die in bed without fear for their eternal souls. And it is my soul that is my concern, just as your soul should be your concern. Jesus gave me no authority to save the world. Jesus gave me all the authority I need to save my own soul.

The extent of my moral obligation to tweek your morality is found in giving you an environment in which morality makes sense to you, so that you make good moral choices on the truth that is obvious to you.
Freedom is a predicate to morality as only moral people can defend their freedom and use it wisely. I would have made that class room a place where morality could be freely discussed with the same reservation expressed by Cheryl Abbate: No one should feel abused.

The word Christian means Slave of Christ. These Christians have given up the right to make their own moral choices so they are unfitted for freedom and democracy. I am not saying they should be denied any human right, but they should be denied every political right to influence the course of this nation. This is not to abuse Christians, but only to protect the from their own excesses which has proved so violent and inhuman it the past.

Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:37 AM
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