Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jennifer S. Bryson's turn at the wheel of Witherspoon's pseudo-intellectual blog

Jennifer Bryson
Jennifer Bryson
For the uninitiated, Witherspoon Institute is an ultra-orthodox Catholic organization co-founded by Princeton professor Robert George and Luis Tellez. Tellez is an Opus Dei numerary which means that he is a secular celibate. Both men were founding directors of National Organization for Marriage as well.

Witherspoon hosts a pretentious blog that seems to serve two purposes. 1) To inform us that reproductive choice is the ultimate evil in the world and; 2) That same-sex marriage would be the ultimate evil were that distinction not held by reproductive choice.

Jennifer S. Bryson, Ph.D. is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at Witherspoon. Today she writes:
Stanford University is once again facing controversy about freedom of speech on campus. Today, the issue is a student group, the Stanford Anscombe Society, which supports man-woman marriage and plans to hold a conference in early April. Students active in LGBTQ causes would like to prevent this conference from taking place.

Weasel words. As we all know by now, when a group “supports man-woman marriage” that means that they oppose marriage equality for religious reasons. The Anscombe Society is named after G.E.M. Anscombe who was a devout Catholic convert and philosopher. Speakers at this conference include many of the usual suspects; Ryan T. Anderson, Sherif Girgis and Kellie Fiedorek who is with the Christianist law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom.

Also on the program is Robert Oscar Lopez who, according to GLAAD, is fond of comparing gay parents to slave owners. As defenders of the faith, Anderson and Girgis will offer their usual regurgitation of the theoretical consequences of gay marriage with no evidence whatsoever. ADF is busy these days pushing license-to-discriminate bills through numerous state legislatures. They were behind the failed Arizona bill, along with EPPC (which also has Robby George on its board).

The coordinator of the Anscombe Society conferences at various universities is a 501(c)3, the Collegiate and Cultural Foundation. According to the organization's website their advisory board includes Robert George, Maggie Gallagher and Luis Tellez. It's all rather incestuous. The organization's recommended speakers list includes Anderson, Girgis and Lopez. I notice that disgraced sociologist Mark Regnerus is also on the list.

Speaking of weasel words, this bit of self-serving BS appears at the bottom of the Stanford Anscombe Society conference page:
The Stanford Anscombe Society respects the dignity of all persons, irrespective of sexual orientation, and denounces all attempts to use the debate surrounding this conference to promote demeaning and derogatory attitudes toward members of the Stanford LGBT community. Such speech does not reflect the attitudes or values of the Stanford Anscombe Society and its members, nor does it reflect the tone or character of the arguments which will be presented at the Communicating Values conference.

We ask that all Communicating Values conference participants and supporters reflect this respect for all persons, irrespective of sexual orientation, in the language they use leading up to and throughout the conference. Anyone making intentionally hurtful or derogatory remarks about members of the Stanford University Community, including the members of the Stanford LBGT community, will not be considered a supporter of this conference and will be invited not to participate in it. Comments disparaging members of the Stanford LBGT community community <sic> have no place within the Stanford Anscombe Society or at the Communicating Values conference.
Were any of that true then they would not have invited Lopez. Lopez also claims that gay sex is a form of rape and that gay parents are pedophiles. As if oblivious to all of this Bryson goes on to write:
Regarding her opposition to the upcoming Anscombe Society conference, Stanford undergraduate Brianne Huntsman said, “A lot of students who are queer come to Stanford because it’s one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world.” While this may be one factor in their decision to attend Stanford, the primary reason for students to attend Stanford should be to pursue an education. …

Huntsman also said, “Stanford is supposed to be a safe space for us.” Certainly, these students should feel that there is security on the Stanford campus, as there should be security from physical harm for every single member of the Stanford community and visitors on campus.

But the university does not owe anyone an emotionally or intellectually comfortable environment. Stanford is, after all, part of the real world.
It is hard to imagine that this woman is that obtuse. We know all too well the potential consequences of unleashing bigotry on a college campus. This has nothing to do with emotional safety. In the real world people are not subjected to one-sided hate speech from people who believe and assert that gay people are disordered and inferior. In the real world Catholics support marriage equality in percentages greater than the general public. In the real world someone like R.O. Lopez is relegated to the intellectual kiddie table.
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