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A Note Of Good News

January 27, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Hostility against pro-life students on college campuses has been escalating. This is not only troubling, but difficult to comprehend. Abortion is a violent act that ends an innocent life. It is, as a matter of fact, the country’s most egregious act of domestic violence. Why, then, is so much animus directed against students who stand opposed to abortion?
Secondly, since colleges are mandated to be educational centers where dialogue and debate are an integral part, why is there such opposition to freedom of speech when it centers on defending life?
But there is a note of good news. Late last year, a federal court ordered Gregory Thatcher, a professor of public health at Fresno State, to pay $17,000 in damages to Fresno Students of Life for violating their free speech rights. He was also ordered to undergo First Amendment training. This is a victory not only for pro-life students, but for education as well as the United States Constitution.
Thatcher himself, together with at least seven of his students whom he recruited, erased chalk messages that the Fresno Students of Life had written. When the students informed Thatcher that they had been given permission to state their messages, he proceeded to rub out one of the messages with his shoe while stating, “You have permission to put [the chalk messages] down….I have permission to get rid of it.”
The disagreement in this instance, however, was not merely between two parties (with one dominating the other), but between Thatcher and the United States Constitution. The rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be violated arbitrarily by recalcitrant individuals. Thatcher, by defying the law of the land, is inviting chaos, a curious stance for a professor of public health.
Travis Barham, legal counsel representing Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke on behalf of the students:
“No public university professor has the authority to silence any student speech he happens to find objectionable or to recruit other students to participate in his censorship.”
Kristan Hawkins, who is the president of Students for Life of America, hailed the court’s decision as “a victory for all students who have the same constitutional rights as professors.”
She went on to say that “nationwide we are seeing incredible opposition to pro-life speech as or student leaders and volunteers speak for the defenseless, reach out to pregnant women, and educate on the violence of abortion. But as this case illustrates, we are not going to be silent, even if it takes going to court.”
This case brings to mind the question of the quality of education in America. Various ideologies — feminist, Marxist, that of the LGBTQ, etc. — have been displacing a proper education of American history.
In one history text, 14 pages are devoted to feminism, while George Washington is given but a single page. Philosophy, as the love of wisdom, is systematically replaced by relativism, skepticism, deconstruction, or even nihilism. Totalitarianism is routinely indoctrinated, although presented under the auspices of diversity.
To complain about any of this often has dire consequences for the student. Hence, many assume a passive role and lose their incentive to search for meaning.
Students, who usually pay a great deal of money for an education, often find themselves torn between conforming to an ideology or struggling to secure their rights as citizens.
Thus far, students who defend life are waging a lonely battle. They should be joined by “students for an education,” “students for America,” “students for civil rights,” and other such groups.
The tide may be turning, but there is a long way to go. Education should be liberating, not a source of shame and an occasion for vindictiveness.
We applaud the pro-life students at Fresno State and hope that their courageous actions are an inspiration for others and a lesson for those who need to be taught.

+ + +

(Dr. Donald DeMarco’s latest book, Why I Am Pro- Life and Not Politically Correct, is available on Amazon.com.)

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