Women v. Women

by Guest on April 12, 2011 · 33 comments

By Alyssa Richardson

Last week, James Madison University (JMU) had the opportunity to hear conservative speaker Kate Obenshain. JMU’s College Republicans sponsored the event, and JMU’s NeW chapter was very excited to attend. Of course this event did not occur without some controversy. Flyers around campus were defaced or completely torn down, intolerant comments were left online, and the Women’s Studies’ Program hosted feminist speaker Susan Douglas on the same night and at the same time. I wrote the following OpEd piece to enlighten my larger campus:

I would like to remind fellow JMU students that our actions represent not only ourselves, but also our university. I was astonished at the intolerance around campus for the JMU College Republicans hosting a conservative female speaker. One online comment reads “This is the most offensive thing I have seen in quite some time. I can’t believe that James Madison University would even tolerate this event…Such a step back for women. I cannot express how appalled I am at the unrivaled stupidity of College Republicans at JMU.”

Why are such rude comments necessary? How is the simple advertisement for a nationally known and successful woman to speak extremely offensive? I do not agree with all speakers that different organizations host at JMU, but I would NEVER consider defacing their advertisements or leaving such intolerant comments. I believe such name-calling reveals an immaturity that is below a college student’s capability for rational thought.

I applaud JMU for “tolerating” the event because our campus should represent the viewpoints of all students. Tolerance goes both ways. Traditional conservative values deserve equal representation with diverse and liberal values. Beyond tolerance, I call for respect. Some students are excited to hear different views presented on campus. Even if you don’t agree with the message, you can choose not to attend or participate in the Q&A section. Whatever your personal opinions, please represent yourself with maturity and show that JMU students can be respectful of beliefs that are not their own. Thank you.

Although this OpEd was sent to the campus newspaper two times, it was not recognized. Instead, an editorial labeling Obenshain’s arguments as dated and homophobic was published. I believe this intolerance emphasizes the need for conservative organizations such as NeW on college campuses. The liberal culture is louder than ever and conservatives need to make their voices heard. JMU’s NeW chapter hopes to create a loud voice on our campus, as we are already brainstorming for conservative speakers we want to host during the next academic year.

NeW JMU ladies at the event

Alyssa is a Junior at JMU and the President of JMU’s NeW Chapter

 

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily April 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

It should be noted that the hosting of the “feminist speaker” on the same night was not in any way done to deter attendance to this event. The Dominion Lecture is an annual event hosted by the JMU Women’s Student Caucus that was planned by a professor LONG before she was aware of Kate Obenshain’s lecture. Please stop trying to paint this as some kind of liberal affront to your speaker.

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Alyssa April 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thank you for your clarification and I was not trying to paint a liberal affront to your speaker, only emphasize that Obenshain’s speech was certainly the minority opinion with other more liberal speakers that are hosted more regularly. I believe JMU’s Women’s Student Caucus has the potential to be stronger if it would incorporate a wide range of speakers–conservatives and liberals to encourage the debate of ideas.

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Bob April 13, 2011 at 12:12 am

You should get Ann Coulter to speak at JMU. You think the feminazis were upset by Kate Obenshain? Coulter is a terrific speaker and she drives feminazis out of what passes for their minds.

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Alyssa April 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

Bob: We would LOVE to have Ann Coulter speak at JMU and have actually been brainstorming in attempt to plan such an event. The major issue comes to funding. Coulter is well known and unfortunately the majority of public university funding is applied to liberal speakers. To others reading I am not crying inequality, but there are legal investigations and studies to prove the discrepancies in funds. This will not stop us trying from hosting Coulter, we are willing to work hard to find the funds it will just take time and support.

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Emily April 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Alyssa, I don’t know if you realize this, but the Women’s Studies Department is GROSSLY underfunded, and we had to work extremely hard to get funding for the speakers we brought to campus this year. Also, perhaps it would be hard to fund Ann Coulter at an academic institution because she rarely has legitimate facts to back up what she says. She doesn’t drive me crazy as a feminist, she drives me crazy as a historian who understands the importance of being able to back up theses and statements. Also, if you are displeased with the speakers being brought to campus by the Women’s Student Caucus, why not join?

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Bob April 14, 2011 at 8:05 am

“…I don’t know if you realize this, but the Women’s Studies Department is GROSSLY underfunded…”

I am OUTRAGED about this, I tell you. OUTRAGED!!!

Is this even necessary? /sarc

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Emily April 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Bob, my point in saying that was to show that both liberal and conservative organizations/programs have difficulty getting funding. I’m sorry you didn’t get that point.

Ryan April 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Bob- I sincerely hope that your use of rhetoric is an attempt use humor to bring about another view point not yet discussed. However, I feel it is important to point out that some may find your use of the term “feminazis “ is degrading and harmful. While I feel your voice should not be shunned or silence, I feel that there could possibly be another way to express your desire to see Ms. Ann Coulter without referring to other women as the above mention. With that being said I hope that the women of JMU who are the opposite ends of the feminist spectrum can agree to see each other’s viewpoints and find common ground to support and campaign for. The differences that each side is facing right now can lead to a positive understanding of what feminism looks like in today’s society or it can lead to bickering destroying the efforts of women that have come before.

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Bob April 20, 2011 at 11:06 pm

“Degrading and harmful”, eh? Really? Well, grow a thicker skin. But just as Rhett Butler didn’t give a d**n about Scarlett O’Hara by the end of “Gone With The Wind”, so too do I not a give a d**n what other people think about my use of “feminazi”. Like Bill Klem, (Google it to understand) I call ’em the way I see ’em. Whining (Whingeing?) about funding for the Women’s (or any other) Studies Department deserves the sarcastic response of “I am OUTRAGED about this I tell you! OUTRAGED!

It’s very big of you to “feel” that my voice should neither be shunned nor silenced. If I have something to say, I’ll say it. I have little tolerance for political correctness and deep contempt for its practitioners.

Regarding Ann Coulter at JMU, that’s the business of JMU and NeW’s JMU membership, not mine. I made the suggestion because of the hostile reaction to Kate Obenshain’s appearance at JMU that Alyssa alluded to in her original post.

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Ryan April 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Bob- I sincerely hope that your use of rhetoric is an attempt use humor to bring about another view point not yet discussed. However, I feel it is important to point out that some may find your use of the term “feminazis “ is degrading and harmful. While I feel your voice should not be shunned or silence, I feel that there could possibly be another way to express your desire to see Ms. Ann Coulter without referring to other women as the above mention.

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Katie April 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

To call not publishing your editorial “intolerance” is simply a misunderstanding of the word.

Kate Obenshain’s presence at JMU was not offensive. Her uneducated treatment of the JMU orientation program, LGBTQIQ individuals, and female sexuality was what personally offended me. She made innumerable statements that generalized the female culture, but really only applied to a select few females (ie- Women don’t need sex like men do, women need love and admiration more.) Also, I’d like to remind Ms. Obenshain that the divorce rate is, in actuality, falling (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18600304/ns/us_news-life/), which is perhaps due to the fact that women are getting married later in life.

And to get so upset about people tearing down fliers- to which she asked the questions “What are people so afraid of?”- is simply ludicrous in light of her panicked sounding assertion that she would pull her children out of JMU’s orientation program in a heart beat if they were exposed to the sexual education and honesty that she understands our program to have. Obenshain, what are you so afraid of?

Education wins. Always.

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Alyssa April 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

Thank you for your response. With the Breeze not including both sides of opinions let’s call it an unequal representation of ideas. I hope JMU’s Breeze will encourage respectful debate and not only include one side of issues.

Ms. Obenshain’s references to orientation programs were generalized for the majority of public universities across the nation. Of course she did not know JMU’s specific details, but her statements were still applicable. There is a balance between calling for respect for all individuals and promoting immoral behaviors. I believe orientation programs should support diversity of lifestyles and people without uplifting sex or sexual orientations. I disagree that her statements only apply to a select few females. Women naturally need the love and admiration of a committed relationship to feel emotionally secure. It is the nature of female desire’s for stability that has civilized cultures and raised families by discouraging men from being promiscuous. “Sexual liberation” encourages women to have sex outside of marriage or an exclusive relationship. Does this empower women? I argue that it does not. Women are left with the consequences of being alone-feeling rejected and not of worth and/or raising a child alone. Even the common saying “men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love” supports Obenshain’s statements.

Ms. Obenshain certainly did not display fear. Concerning the fliers that were torn down: why would people not want others to see advertisements for an event if they did not want others to hear the ideas being presented? That is an act of fear because they did not want diverse opinions recognized. Why should we be afraid of the debate of ideas?! Whatever “side” you are on, arguments are only strengthened by learning the opposition’s perspective. What would any good lawyer do before presenting a case? They would first learn as much about the opposition as possible to formulate educated responses. Ms. Obenshain also did not say that she would pull her children specifically out of JMU’s orientation program. Instead, she made an objective statement that many parents who feel uncomfortable with what is being represented at such orientation programs would have the right to remove their college student from sexual education that they do not believe should be expressed at a university. Obenshain’s powerful presentation and responses to questions did not represent any fear, but strength and determination.

And yes, education should win. However, what worth is an education that only presents one side of the argument?

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Vasileos April 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I have just one question. Where did you get “Women naturally need the love and admiration of a committed relationship to feel emotionally secure. It is the nature of female desire’s for stability that has civilized cultures and raised families by discouraging men from being promiscuous” from? Seriously, where is your source? Claiming that something is human nature is tricky because not every human is the same.

Sexual liberation gives women the choice of what to do with their bodies. It prevents government from telling them what they can or cannot do.

As to your last point, I have another question. Should we teach biblical creationism along side of evolution? should we start teaching astrology next to astronomy? magic along side of physics? Should we start teaching holocaust denial theories along side of the holocaust? There are certain ideas that are just laughable.

thank you

your friendly neighborhood libertarian.

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Joseph April 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Vasileos:
“I have just one question. Where did you get “Women naturally need the love and admiration of a committed relationship to feel emotionally secure. It is the nature of female desire’s for stability that has civilized cultures and raised families by discouraging men from being promiscuous” from? Seriously, where is your source? Claiming that something is human nature is tricky because not every human is the same.”
True statement! While I normally am vehement about demanding a source, any decent study of history reveals this to be generally true (obviously many exceptions, but as a whole it tends to be true), I think I’m going to let this one slide. It would be similar to me demanding: “human nature is tricky because not every human is the same”? What’s your source??

“Sexual liberation gives women the choice of what to do with their bodies. It prevents government from telling them what they can or cannot do.”
A joke. Sexual liberation gave women the choice to give their bodies to men rather than simply remain “pure” as they say. While I’m not one to bash women’s roles in society, I think that women’s sexual liberation was a mean joke played on women by men, and one that should be corrected.

“As to your last point, I have another question. Should we teach biblical creationism along side of evolution?”
Yes, creationism and evolutionism are competing views on the same subject. To allow evolution and refuse creationism is (by definition, see my comment above) intolerant. Teach both or neither, I don’t care but don’t be lop-sided.

“should we start teaching astrology next to astronomy?”
No, Astrology and astronomy are not even in the same fields of study. Astrology makes no claims as to the chemical makeup of stars, and astronomy makes no claim as to the mystical powers of star alignment.

“Magic along side of physics?”
Again, not really the same fields. Physics is the study of the physical universe. Magic is the study of the manipulation of spiritual powers which can affect this universe. Regardless of whether or not I believe in magic, it’s still two different fields.

“Should we start teaching holocaust denial theories along side of the holocaust?”
There’s a difference between competing unproved theories and a lie vs. truth issue…

“There are certain ideas that are just laughable.”
Agreed, but neither evolution nor creationism are laughable, as both present serious arguments for two sides of an issue, both of which possess scientific evidence. Please don’t laugh at evolution, or creation.

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Deirdre April 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I am truly sorry for you if you expect only to be happy if you are in a committed relationship, and for your future partner to only love you because of sexual motivations, as seems to be the case by you backing your (and Obenshain’s) beliefs with such “facts” and quotes.

I agree that all orientation programs should promote the discussion of all issues. However, recognizing and validating diverse “sex or sexual orientations” promotes tolerance. By discussing these topics, I do not believe anyone would feel that they are being asked to partake in or even accept these “lifestyles”, but rather simply to tolerate them.

I further agree that you had good and relevant points in the OpEd you submitted in the Breeze, though I also disagree with you calling its lack of publication “intolerant”. The Breeze article on Obenshain’s event did however feature a quote that got your message across: the event’s publicity was defaced, and this is both disrespectful and uncalled for. The article that you refer to as having been published “instead” was an actual response to the event and what was said in it, a side that had not been discussed in the News section’s article.

I also take objection to your referring to Obenshain’s statement about hypothetically pulling her children from an orientation program because of the subject matter as “objective”, because it clearly speaks to her being uncomfortable with her childrens’ learning about diversity to the point of preferring them to remain ignorant.

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Joseph April 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Deirdre:
“I am truly sorry for you if you expect only to be happy if you are in a committed relationship”
Ah patronization, a lovely bit of nonsense. I am actually sorry for you if you think that an uncommitted relationship will bring you joy (happiness is a worthless term and contains no statements of value, joy can actually be used in arguments).

“…and for your future partner to only love you because of sexual motivations, as seems to be the case by you backing your (and Obenshain’s) beliefs with such “facts” and quotes.”
I don’t think that Miss Richardson was making a statement about her future spouse, as I suspect she is seeking to marry a Christian man who values godliness in a wife as well as valuing human life “made in God’s image” as they say, in addition to sexual attraction of course, but not in total and not primarily. Her statements seem to be generalizing the trend among men who do not have self-control imparted by their God (which her husband will have).

“I agree that all orientation programs should promote the discussion of all issues. However, recognizing and validating diverse “sex or sexual orientations” promotes tolerance.”
It depends. It can. But I’ve seen sexual orientation programs that avoid the debates between the views and simply try to use feelings to convince students that just because someone who practices homosexuality is nice, then it’s ok to accept them. I’m not saying reject them! All I’m saying is that the logic is often nonsense and borders on brainwashing. Telling a student what to think is not education. Showing a student HOW to think is education. By the same logic, I can argue that a thief can be “nice.” But you wouldn’t think it is ok for him to steal your car would you? Neither is tolerance the blind acceptance of all views. It’s accepting the fact that others are allowed to think differently, even if and when you disagree. Tolerance does not mean that you have to be ok with someone else’s opinion. It means you have to respect their right to life and limb (i.e. don’t injure them physically) even when you openly and vocally disagree with their viewpoints.

“By discussing these topics, I do not believe anyone would feel that they are being asked to partake in or even accept these “lifestyles”, but rather simply to tolerate them.”
Interesting beliefs, I know some Muslim students that do feel that they are being asked to partake in and accept these lifestyles. They feel like they’re being told that a homosexual lifestyle is ok, and that they should accept it. If JMU does not argue that a homosexual lifestyle is ok or should be accepted, then I apologize, I’m not a JMU student, but from what I’ve seen, they do. I think you’re way off base on this one.

“I further agree that you had good and relevant points in the OpEd you submitted in the Breeze, though I also disagree with you calling its lack of publication “intolerant.”
See my comment on Katie’s comment – I don’t believe Miss Richardson was calling the lack of publication “intolerant,” she was pointing out the Breeze’s printing of op-eds against Ms. Obenshain and not any in favor. While it may not fit the dictionary definition of intolerance, it’s definitely in the common progressive understanding of the word intolerance.

I also take objection to your referring to Obenshain’s statement about hypothetically pulling her children from an orientation program because of the subject matter as “objective”, because it clearly speaks to her being uncomfortable with her childrens’ learning about diversity to the point of preferring them to remain ignorant.
Disgusting logic. Oh my. Seriously! I’m trying to help your arguments here and you’re not giving me much to work with. First of all, you have assumed that the “uncomfortable” part is the diversity, as opposed to perhaps the methods of how the diversity is presented? You’re also assuming that she would prefer her children to remain ignorant when she could actually be presenting the same subjects in a different way. What am I going to do with democratic American debate these days. By this logic I can ask, do you want your children to be ignorant as to the effects of cocaine? My guess is that you would say no. I could then say that I am going to teach your children that cocaine users can be nice and they’re just like us. I could tell your children that they should room with a cocaine user to broaden their horizons and understand what they struggle with. Or, let me go further. I could try to teach your children that Sharia law requiring women to be stoned for getting raped is ok and that your children should try to live with a Sharia-practicing Muslim and understand their lifestyle and accept them. Do you want me to teach your children these things IN THIS WAY? NO! AND I DON’T WANT TO! You have your methods of teaching your children about the dangers of cocaine or the harm to women that exists in Sharia law. Please, please take a class in logic or something! I can’t even begin to help your arguments when it is filled with utter nonsense.

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Deirdre April 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Joseph,

I apologize if my meaning was unclear in the first of my points that you responded to. I was commenting on the idea that a relationship should be the sole source of a person’s joy. I would hope that any person would have the ability to feel joyful without the need of another person’s romantic commitment. Rather, a relationship with another human being should add to a person’s joy. I would also like to add that I completely respect anyone who wants to be in a committed relationship. I too think that this will bring the most joy. However, I do not look down upon anyone who believes this not to be true.

I am sure that Alyssa, a smart and self-confident woman as she seems to be, will choose a husband who has the self-control you are describing. I think that it is wonderful for anyone to expect their partner to have the same respect for them as they themselves are imparting! I was taking objection to her generalization that “men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love”, as I think that it is offensive to both genders, though I do understand that she meant this as a trend and not a blanket statement about all people. It still remains that this is a stereotype, and should not be used as a means of argument.

Regarding your response to my opinions on college orientation: I don’t think that it is appropriate to say that anyone should accept homosexuals (or any LGBTQIQ people) because they are “nice”. Firstly, this is because not all LGBTQIQ people are nice! We are just as diverse of a group as our heterosexual counterparts are (all of whom are not “nice” either). Secondly and most importantly, however, tolerance of LGBTQIQ individulas is something that should be taught, because a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression should not exclude them from their right for others “to respect their right to life and limb (i.e. don’t injure them physically)”, as you so aptly stated. I am in complete agreement with your statement that a one-sided presentation is unfair in any situation. I am also curious, however, as to how you believe this issue should be handled. The only things I would expect of an orientation program with regard to LGBTQIQ people is that it teaches students that everyone should have the right to feel like they are safe and validated. As a sidenote, I would like to point out that these identities are not “viewpoints”, if that was what your last statement in that paragraph was implying.

I simply cannot imagine that anyone “feel[s] that they are being asked to partake in” the “lifestyle” of an LGBTQIQ individual because of a college orientation program. If someone were, for instance, being encouraged to be gay when they are straight because of an orientation program, I agree wholeheartedly that something about the program has gone terribly wrong. I think that “acceptance” is encouraged, though in no way expected from the JMU orientation program, as there is a big difference between acceptance, which would imply believing that an LGBTQIQ person were doing the right thing (or even just not doing the “wrong thing”) for themselves, where tolerance abides by our agreed upon definition. JMU endorses a student’s right to respect (not the right for the respect of their decisions or actions!) regardless of who they are (because sexual orientation and gender identity are identities, much like religions are identities for many people).

I am not sure what kind of article you would have wanted to be published that would make the publication of the rebuttal OpEd no longer be “intolerant”. The views of Ms. Obshenian were, I believe, made clear in the News section article published about the event. If I am misunderstanding your point here, I apologize.

I am offended by your comparison of LGBTQIQ people to cocaine users. You are comparing someone who partakes in a drug that is physically proven to be unhealthy with a person who has an identity that is seen to be morally unhealthy to some people. I do not think this is a fair comparison at all, though I believe I see what you are trying to get at here: that no one wants their children exposed to something they see as unhealthy. Cocaine users may in fact be nice! Again, though, I think that being “nice” has absolutely no bearing on the respect a person deserves. I don’t think that they (as people) deserve any fewer rights or any less respect than another person. I would disagree with the choices that they make (which, by the way, are illegal- another difference between your comparisons), believing the choices not to be worthy of respect, and would perhaps discuss their desicions with them. I would like to teach my children that they may some day have to interact with a drug user for whatever reason, so that they know how to handle the situation if it happens. I would also like to point out that no one is suggesting that a person who disagrees with an LGBTQIQ person’s actions live with them! I would, in fact, discourage this, as it would be very uncomfortable for both parties. I don’t wish to force the company of any individual on another. I think it is important to teach people how to interact with others who they will certainly encounter in life, however. Your second comparison is absolutely disgusting. To imply that an LGBTQIQ person being who they are is in any way harming a person who disagrees with their doing so other than disturbing them on a moral level is absurd. To compare it to rape is a gross use of logic and offending on the deepest level. That aside, I would also be curious to hear your ideas on how this subject should be handled.

Joseph April 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

Yes your meaning was unclear, but after reading it again, I understand now, thank you. However, Miss Richardson was not trying to claim that she will only be happy if she is in a committed relationship (therefore unhappy not in a relationship). She was claiming that she would not be happy in any UNCOMMITTED (i.e. no vows of marriage) relationship. She was comparing relationship type A to type B, not relationship type A to no relationship at all.

“I was taking objection to her generalization that “men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love”, as I think that it is offensive to both genders, though I do understand that she meant this as a trend and not a blanket statement about all people.”
If it is clear that she meant it as a trend and not a blanket statement then move on please.

I simply cannot imagine that anyone “feel[s] that they are being asked to partake in” the “lifestyle” of an LGBTQIQ individual because of a college orientation program.
Your imagination is limited. Try imagining being a Muslim at UC Berkeley. Regardless of what your imagination allows, the reality is that it exists in American colleges and universities.

“there is a big difference between acceptance, which would imply believing that an LGBTQIQ person were doing the right thing (or even just not doing the “wrong thing”) for themselves, where tolerance abides by our agreed upon definition.”
Agreed, but a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or questioning person “doing the right thing for themselves” cannot be accepted by those with a Muslim, Christian or Orthodox Jewish identity. It is an affront to their identities as “speakers of the truth” who must reject apathy toward the moral state of their fellow man. Some Muslims reject apathy through violence. Other Muslims, Christians and Jews do this by talking with others and challenging others’ viewpoints.

“I would like to point out that these identities are not “viewpoints”, if that was what your last statement in that paragraph was implying.”
It was not. The identity is not a viewpoint. The moral acceptability of the lifestyle associated with that identity is the viewpoint.

“The only things I would expect of an orientation program with regard to LGBTQIQ people is that it teaches students that everyone should have the right to feel like they are safe and validated.”
I disagree. Safe? Yes! Validated? NO. Validation is a value statement placed on the moral correctness of someone’s actions. As you said yourself, “JMU endorses a student’s right to respect (not the right for the respect of their decisions or actions!) regardless of who they are.”
You might say that you meant validation of their identity, not their actions. In this case, I agree that they should be validated as humans, but not as homosexuals, Christians, Muslims, or Buddhists. There is a morality attached to these identities, and as such the college needs to remain silent on validity. However, I do believe that the college should make it clear that all students are to be respected and protected and that the college will pursue legal actions against anyone who violates FSLT laws.

“I am offended by your comparison of LGBTQIQ people to cocaine users.”
I wasn’t comparing them to cocaine users, I was making the point that the logic used to attack Ms. Obenshain for not agreeing with the METHODS of teaching respect for all humans is the same logic that would lead you to accept my example of the cocaine user. It’s not a comparison of homosexuality to cocaine.

“Again, though, I think that being “nice” has absolutely no bearing on the respect a person deserves.”
Agreed, but this is the logic used in many college orientation programs (experience of myself and many other individuals of all ages, including those who were asked to teach these sessions at large universities).

“I would disagree with the choices that they make (which, by the way, are illegal- another difference between your comparisons)
The point is moot, I wasn’t making a comparison of the individuals”

“I would also like to point out that no one is suggesting that a person who disagrees with an LGBTQIQ person’s actions live with them!”
That’s fine, but there are no small number of college orientation programs that do.

“I think it is important to teach people how to interact with others who they will certainly encounter in life, however.”
In your own way, using your own methods? I applaud you, that is also what Ms. Obenshain is planning on doing.

“Your second comparison is absolutely disgusting. To imply that an LGBTQIQ person being who they are is in any way harming a person who disagrees with their doing so other than disturbing them on a moral level is absurd. To compare it to rape is a gross use of logic and offending on the deepest level.”
You apparently didn’t read my comment, please reread where I was showing how the logic used against Ms. Obenshain by you could lead (logically) to a similar statement: “I (or a University) could try to teach your children that Sharia law (someone’s identity, that is different from yours) requiring women to be stoned for getting raped (something that Sharia law demands) is ok and that your children should try to live with a Sharia-practicing Muslim (someone with a different identity than you) and understand their lifestyle and accept them.”
I was not making a comparison between homosexuality and rape, I wasn’t even making a comparison between Sharia law and homosexuality from a value standpoint. I was simply showing that just because someone has a different identity that you does not mean that you should or should not tolerate it. I don’t think that homosexuality as an identity is harmful like Sharia law or cocaine, not at all. Morally harmful? Yes, but that’s my spiritual belief. I will still respect homosexuals as valuable human lives even in light of my views on their lifestyles.

“That aside, I would also be curious to hear your ideas on how this subject should be handled.”
Colleges should have all government funding withdrawn completely if there is any attempt to make a value statement about the homosexual lifestyle (or the Christian lifestyle for that matter). The college can present it as: all human life is valuable, therefore respect the life of others even in your debates. To Christians, you may not morally agree with homosexuality, but you have to respect their right to life and limb, be respectful in your disagreement. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning individuals: you may not agree with Christian morals, but you have to respect their right to life and limb, be respectful in your disagreement.
The college should also contact parents and let them know that they should consider the individuals they might come across on a college campus.
There are very few Christians, if any, that go to college naive as to the existence of people different than themselves. Those that are naive refuse to go to college in the first place. There are some LGBTQIQ individuals that do go to college expecting anyone intelligent enough to go to college to have cast aside an moral compunctions that are different from their own. Perhaps the colleges should also lead exercises in tolerance for Christian morals? I jest. I think colleges need to back out of any value statements that are morally debatable, and instead allow equal debate on those issues among the students themselves.

Joseph April 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Hm this is an interesting conversation. First I would like to preface my comments with the disclosure that I am a classical liberal of the old school democratic strain, in case anyone was wondering.

Katie:
“To call not publishing your editorial “intolerance” is simply a misunderstanding of the word.”
I don’t believe Miss Richardson was claiming that it was intolerant for her op-ed to not be published. From her statements, she seems to be pointing out the fact that the Breeze decided to publish commentary on Ms. Obenshain’s visit, and that the only commentary printed was opposition to Ms. Obenshain. While this may not necessarily fall under the strict definition of intolerance (the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others), it seems to be biased at least.

“Kate Obenshain’s presence at JMU was not offensive.”
I am glad you were not offended; however, the individual(s) who tore down the advertisement for Ms. Obenshain’s presence at JMU seems to have been offended.

“She made innumerable statements that generalized the female culture, but really only applied to a select few females (ie- Women don’t need sex like men do, women need love and admiration more.)”
A select few females? I wouldn’t mind having that piece of data for my collection, where did you find that? I mean, that’s not what I’ve seen either personally or from what the news shows, but it would interesting to see how they arrived at that conclusion (statistics for porn viewers, etc, aren’t very good either because there’s no way to know for sure, it’s all trusting the polled person to tell the truth).

“Also, I’d like to remind Ms. Obenshain that the divorce rate is, in actuality, falling (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18600304/ns/us_news-life/), which is perhaps due to the fact that women are getting married later in life.”
Or if you read that article, it’s a combination of factors, including the fact that a couple who lives together and breaks up isn’t counted as a “divorce” if they were never married. I think that’s kind of unhelpful as a statistic.

“And to get so upset about people tearing down fliers- to which she asked the questions “What are people so afraid of?”- is simply ludicrous in light of her panicked sounding assertion that she would pull her children out of JMU’s orientation program in a heart beat if they were exposed to the sexual education and honesty that she understands our program to have. Obenshain, what are you so afraid of?”
Someone who pulls down flyers is afraid of that person having an influence on others: fear. I doubt it was for the lack of paper on which to jot a note. Pulling one’s children out of a program that teaches a point of view with which the parent disagrees is not fear; it is courage to do something that they believe in, even if it will bring ridicule and scorn. Even if it were for a bad reason, it still seems to be fairly gutsy.

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Bob April 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

Is it possible that the divorce rate is falling because fewer people are getting married?

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Joseph April 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

Yes, that is one of the three reasons that the study gave. If a couple breaks up that was living together, but not married then it doesn’t count as a divorce statistic, whereas if the same couple had been married and got a divorce, it would count.

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Joseph April 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

The definition I used was for “tolerance,” I apologize for not being clear.

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Bob April 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

“Emily April 14, 2011 at 9:28 am

Bob, my point in saying that was to show that both liberal and conservative organizations/programs have difficulty getting funding. I’m sorry you didn’t get that point.”

Actually Emily, I get your point. Unfortunately for you, it was no the point you were attempting to make. The point is that unworthy organizations struggle with funding because relatively few people wish to fund them. To me, unworthy means the following:

Any organization or academic department that ends in the word “Studies”. If your Women’s Studies Department wants funding to continue its misandry work, let the patchouli fragranced membership of some feminist organization provide it.

Any political organization. Let the political parties fund campus political organizations. Or, such a campus organization could set up its own PAC.

If colleges did not have to fund such organizations, perhaps tuition, fees and other costs that students have to pay might become more reasonable.

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