College Requires a Degree of Intolerance
October 11, 2012 - Thursday
Gallaudet University is a big place--but apparently not big enough for two points of view. Yesterday, University President Alan Hurwitz, in a bombshell decision, announced the suspension of a senior employee for supporting traditional marriage. And not just any employee, but Dr. Angela McCaskill, a 23-year veteran who earned the school's first Ph.D. as a deaf African-American woman. "I want to inform the community that I have placed Dr. Angela McCaskill on paid administrative leave effective immediately," Hurwitz said in a statement. "It recently came to my attention that Dr. McCaskill has participated in a legislative initiative that some feel is inappropriate for an individual serving as Chief Diversity Officer."
The initiative he's referencing is Maryland's Question 6, the state referendum on same-sex "marriage." Like 200,000 other residents, Dr. McCaskill signed the petition to put the issue before voters. In Maryland, however, the names and addresses of supporters are a matter of public record (which has already led to a door-to-door campaign of intimidation by the Left.) Administrators learned of McCaskill's involvement when a faculty member was combing the list of petition signers and flagged her name. Now McCaskill's decision--of simply engaging in the democratic process--could cost the trailblazer her career.
From all reports, Dr. McCaskill is as stunned as the rest of us. After all, if Gallaudet went to all the trouble of employing a "diversity" officer, shouldn't they at least let her practice it? The University's actions are even more disturbing when you consider that the petition doesn't commit anyone to a particular viewpoint on marriage. It only gives people the right to vote. Yet this is how radically intolerant the Left has become. Even the simple act of participating in the political process is grounds for dismissal.
As Americans wrestle over this debate in four states, Dr. McCaskill is the perfect illustration of what's at stake. It's not love. It's not commitment. It's not even equality. The battle for marriage is about our most basic civil rights--rights to worship, to speak freely, to cast our ballots, even, in Dr. McCaskill's case, to pursue a livelihood. As Derek McCoy, head of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, pointed out, "If these attacks can be made before same-sex 'marriage' is law, how can homosexual activists in good faith say that religious liberties will not be attacked it Question 6 passes?" If Gallaudet is willing to harass its own educational pioneers, there is no limit to the persecution everyday Marylanders will face if marriage is redefined.
Meanwhile, even the Left--sensing what a PR disaster this could be--is calling for the school to stand down. Desperate to keep McCaskill from becoming the next conservative rallying cry, Marylanders for Marriage Equality agreed that she "should be reinstated immediately." "Everyone is entitled to free speech and to their own opinion about Question 6." Refusing it, some experts say, could be criminal. Eugene Volokh told reporters today that it may be Hurwitz--not McCaskill--whose job is in jeopardy. "Under the D.C. Code, it is a criminal violation for '[a]ny person who ... by threats or intimidation, interferes with, or attempts to interfere with, the right of any qualified registered elector to sign or not to sign any initiative, referendum, or recall petition.'"
While we wait for the University's next move, you can stand with Dr. McCaskill by signing FRC's new petition to Gallaudet officials, urging her full and immediate reinstatement. If universities want students to think critically, they'll have to start by allowing employees to.
Advancing Stem Cells Slowly but Sherley
On Wednesday, attorneys for adult stem cell scientists Dr. James Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the D.C. Circuit's decision in the case Sherley v. Sebelius. The case aims to end federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. While the Nobel Prize committee honors Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka for introducing ethical induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to the field of medicine, the Obama administration is fighting to continue wasting federal dollars on unethical embryonic stem cell research, which relies on the destruction of young human life. A plain reading of federal law passed every year by Congress would specifically ban funding of embryonic stem cell research. After years of frittering away millions of taxpayer dollars--as well as innocent lives--on unethical experiments, it's time for the federal government to start putting that money into principled, lifesaving adult stem cell research, which is saving thousands of lives now.
Lives like that of Mary Lou Rusco, who beat leukemia with the help of adult stem cells. With her time running out, doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center provided hope, using adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood to save Mary Lou's life. We pray the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case and give a chance for life to millions more. To see Mary Lou's video story and other stories of adult stem cell success, check out stemcellresearchfacts.org.
** The U.S. Supreme Court may be well on its way to striking down racial preferences in college admissions. Learn all you need to know about this historic case in Ken Klukowski's analysis on Breitbart.
*** Forget red and blue states! FRC's Ken Blackwell says it's time for "red-white-and-blue states" in his new op-ed for Huffington Post.
**** What was it like on the Values Bus during last week's Colorado swing? Enjoy the view from the passenger's seat in Bob Morrison's latest post on the FRC Blog.