UPDATE: Since we wrote this article, the University of Central Oklahoma has reversed its decision and will now allow Ken Ham to speak on campus in March.
There is a disturbing trend happening on universities across North America and it is starting to creep into society. It is an attack by those on the radical left to stop free speech, the cornerstone of a free society.
Spurred on many times by radical professors, the left have protested, often violently, to stop conservatives from speaking on campuses. Predictably, they accuse conservatives of hate speech, which simply isn’t true. The real issue is that the left will no longer allow anyone who disagrees with positions they hold to speak and they will protest violently to stop it.
Ben Shapiro, the former editor of Breitbart and current editor of the Daily Wire, was scheduled to speak at the University of Berkley in California in September last year. He had been invited by campus Republicans.
Because Shapiro is a well-known conservative, hundreds of radical left protestors, many wearing black masks, showed up to stop the event. It wasn’t the first time this happened at Berkley, so this time the police were prepared. They set up concrete barriers and kept it mostly under control, but still ended up making nine arrests.
Though Shapiro was able to speak, the total costs for security was $600,000.
At a similar event held seven months earlier at Berkley, radical leftists rioted, setting fires, damaging property and even threw Molotov cocktails at police. They caused an estimated $100,000 in damage and their violent actions resulted in police cancelling the speaking event.
Though the radical left were not able to stop Shapiro, one wonders how many universities are willing to cough up a half million dollars on security to allow conservatives to speak? There may be a final price tag for free speech.
Recently, Ken Ham also had a personal encounter with university activists shutting down free speech. Ham is President of Answers in Genesis (AIG), an organization dedicated to defending Christian beliefs. AIG also operates Creation Museum and Ark Encounter that features a full size version of Noah’s ark in Petersburg, Kentucky.
A Christian campus group had invited Ham to speak at University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma on March 5. Ham intended to speak on the two world views — evolution and creation.
However, when campus LGBT activists became aware of Ham’s invitation, the small group aggressively pressured university administrators and the student’s association to stop the event.
Though the campus group responsible for bringing in Ham had a signed contract, the administrators caved, ripped up the contract, and cancelled the event.
In an article on AIG’s website, Ken Ham said:
“Free speech in America is under increasing attack by some very intolerant people. In this case of discrimination, I find it highly ironic that after being booked to speak in the school’s Constitution Hall, our constitutional right to free speech and the free exercise of religion, guaranteed under the First Amendment, have been denied.”
“A small but vocal group on campus put up a fuss about my talk and the university caved in, tearing up the contract and contradicting its policies of promoting ‘free inquiry’ and ‘inclusiveness’ on campus.”
Ham will now be speaking at a church venue off campus the same day.
But this is the trend today. Hate speech is now being defined as anyone who disagrees. This is very dangerous for free speech and equally dangerous for democracy.
- University Denies Free Speech to Ken Ham and Boots Him from Speaking: Answers in Genesis
- LGBT Activists Kick Ken Ham off College Campus: Charisma News
- Multiple arrests at Ben Shapiro Berkeley protests: USA Today