Will our liberal campus support full-fledged free speech going into the future, even when it may be inconvenient? WUD responded clearly in the affirmative today in choosing to bring anti-Islamic speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali to campus.
The controversy is, as always, whether this will promote hatred toward and the discrimination of Muslims on campus. Why risk this? Ross Douthat provides one of the best answers:
And the differences between religions are worth debating. Theology has consequences: It shapes lives, families, nations, cultures, wars; it can change people, save them from themselves, and sometimes warp or even destroy them.
In practice, the admirable principle that nobody should be persecuted for their beliefs often blurs into the more illiberal idea that nobody should ever publicly criticize another religion.
This is about ensuring an open dialogue on campus, sure, but it is also about being able to address one of the most important of all questions. This woman isn’t presenting bigotry. She is a scholar with real experiences and arguments. Will the lecture make people think poorly of the Muslim religion and those who practice it? Maybe, maybe not. All one can say is, tough, but welcome to the marketplace of ideas, ask the Catholic church about whether it is always nice to religion.