Gay Marriage and the Long Arm of Academic "Tolerance"

Glenn Ricketts

You’d be hard pressed to identify a more politically radioactive social issue on college campuses right now than gay marriage or homosexuality.  Dissenting from the reigning academic consensus on “tolerance” often comes at a ruinous price.

If you are enrolled in social work or counseling programs as Jennifer Keeton and Julea Ward were, you’ll get the boot – and don’t try any of that religious conscience stuff, it won’t wash.

If you are an academic administrator as Crystal Dixon was at the University of Toledo in 2008, what you write in the local newspaper about same sex marriage – detached from your job, of course – you’ll be fired.  What about free speech rights? Sorry, no dice.

If you are a an instructor in a religion course at the University of Urbana-Champaign and you accurately convey to your theology class a particular Christian denomination’s teachings on homosexuality, that academic rigor can get you into lots of trouble, even if the complaint comes from someone who never attended the class.

This week, we’ve seen once more that campus  “tolerance” on this issue follows you during off hours as well.  That ‘s what Angela McCaskill, chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University found out when, during Sunday church services, she was persuaded by her pastor's sermon  to sign a petition requesting a ballot referendum on same-sex marriage in Maryland.  She wasn’t on the job, she wasn’t even on campus. She was in fact doing something that’s simply part of her private life – or at least, it was part of her private life.  As of now, she’s been placed on administrative leave until university officials can determine the “appropriate next steps.”  I’m not optimistic about what that might be.

“Tolerance” sure gets around, doesn’t it?

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