Better Governing Now » College Professor Blasts Self-Absorbed Student Who Felt Offended at a College Sermon: "This is Not a Daycare. It is a University!"


College Professor Blasts Self-Absorbed Student Who Felt Offended at a College Sermon: "This is Not a Daycare. It is a University!"

I Love it! - Diane Rufino

    Universities today are filled with the first children of the "everyone gets a trophy" generation. And it has done a horrible job of preparing any of these people for the real world.

    It often seems like these so-called "social justice warriors" want to be as offended and oppressed as possible. Or as one Harvard student put it, they're "That walking campus cliché dedicated to rooting out today's noxious isms and phobias-wherever they exist, and wherever they don't."

    Don't believe me? Students at Yale University demanded the resignation of certain faculty who held the "controversial" position that people should be able to wear whatever Halloween costumes they want. Princeton University students have set up a "microaggression reporting service," with one such notable contribution being a student who was "aggressed" by fellow students over the way he pronounces the word "cool whip," which he claims can lead to binge drinking.

    When libertarian Wendy McElroy debated feminist Jessica Valenti at Brown University, the University provided a "safe space" to protect students who found anything from the debate "triggering." The "safe space" contained "cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma."

    But the good news is that at least one university president isn't catering to and coddling his students.

    Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University received a complaint from a student who felt "victimized" by a lecture he attended. Rather than bending over backwards (as so much others in his position have done), Piper published a fantastic response, titled "This is Not a Day Care. This is a University."

    This is what he said:

Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University
    "This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt "victimized" by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

    I'm not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic! Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them "feel bad" about themselves, is a "hater," a "bigot," an "oppressor," and a "victimizer."

    I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience! An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad! It is supposed to make you feel guilty! The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins-not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization!

    So here's my advice: If you want the chaplain to tell you you're a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you're looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

    If you're more interested in playing the "hater" card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don't want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn't one of them.

    At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don't believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don't issue "trigger warnings" before altar calls.

    Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a "safe place", but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn't about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that's wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that's wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up!

    This is not a day care. This is a university!"

    Good for Dr. Piper. I admire him. This is exactly what these cry babies and social misfits need to hear. He sounds like the parent that a lot of modern day children don't seem to have but sorely need. Oklahoma Wesleyan College is lucky to have him.

    The Supreme Court has held over and over again that the First Amendment protects our right to say thing and express ideas that are offensive to others (except, of course, if they are pornographic or words intended merely to elicit a fight or imminent lawlessness). Take the case of the Westboro Baptist Church (who protest offensively at the graves of fallen US soldiers) - Snyder v. Phelps, 2010. In that case, the Supreme Court wrote: "The First Amendment really was designed to protect a debate at the fringes. You don't need the courts to protect speech that everybody agrees with, because that speech will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect speech that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive - because that is when the majority will wield its power to censor or suppress, and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that."

    Even in the landmark case, Texas v. Johnson (1986) - the "flag-burning case," the Court wrote: "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable. We have not recognized an exception to this principle even where our flag has been involved. In Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576 (1969), we held that a State may not criminally punish a person for uttering words critical of the flag. The First Amendment encompasses the freedom to express publicly one's opinions about our flag, including those opinions which are defiant or contemptuous.

    Nor may the government, we have held, compel conduct that would evince respect for the flag.To sustain the compulsory flag salute, we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.

    If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

    In short, nothing in our precedents suggests that a State may foster its own view of the flag by prohibiting expressive conduct relating to it. To bring its argument outside our precedents, Texas attempts to convince us that, even if its interest in preserving the flag's symbolic role does not allow it to prohibit words or some expressive conduct critical of the flag, it does permit it to forbid the outright destruction of the flag. The State's argument cannot depend here on the distinction between written or spoken words and nonverbal conduct. That distinction, we have shown, is of no moment where the nonverbal conduct is expressive, as it is here, and where the regulation of that conduct is related to expression, as it is here.

    Texas' focus on the precise nature of Johnson's expression, moreover, misses the point of our prior decisions: their enduring lesson, that the government may not prohibit expression simply because it disagrees with its message, is not dependent on the particular mode in which one chooses to express an idea. If we were to hold that a State may forbid flag burning wherever it is likely to endanger the flag's symbolic role, but allow it wherever burning a flag promotes that role -- as where, for example, a person ceremoniously burns a dirty flag -- we would be saying that when it comes to impairing the flag's physical integrity, the flag itself may be used as a symbol -- as a substitute for the written or spoken word or a "short cut from mind to mind" -- only in one direction. We would be permitting a State to "prescribe what shall be orthodox" by saying that one may burn the flag to convey one's attitude toward it and its referents only if one does not endanger the flag's representation of nationhood and national unity.

    We never before have held that the Government may ensure that a symbol be used to express only one view of that symbol or its referents. Indeed, in Schacht v. United States, we invalidated a federal statute permitting an actor portraying a member of one of our armed forces to "'wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not tend to discredit that armed force.'" quoting 10 U.S.C. § 772(f). This proviso, we held, which leaves Americans free to praise the war in Vietnam but can send persons like Schacht to prison for opposing it, cannot survive in a country which has the First Amendment.

    We perceive no basis on which to hold that the principle underlying our decision in Schacht does not apply to this case. To conclude that the government may permit designated symbols to be used to communicate only a limited set of messages would be to enter territory having no discernible or defensible boundaries. Could the government, on this theory, prohibit the burning of state flags? Of copies of the Presidential seal? Of the Constitution? In evaluating these choices under the First Amendment, how would we decide which symbols were sufficiently special to warrant this unique status? To do so, we would be forced to consult our own political preferences, and impose them on the citizenry, in the very way that the First Amendment forbids us to do.

    There is, moreover, no indication -- either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it -- that a separate juridical category exists for the American flag alone. Indeed, we would not be surprised to learn that the persons who framed our Constitution and wrote the Amendment that we now construe were not known for their reverence for the Union Jack. The First Amendment does not guarantee that other concepts virtually sacred to our Nation as a whole -- such as the principle that discrimination on the basis of race is odious and destructive -- will go unquestioned in the marketplace of ideas."

    Publisher's note: Contributor Diane Rufino also serves of co-publisher for Pitt County NOW.

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