OUTRAGEOUS! Petition to no-platform GOD from abortion debate!

God may be a misogynist, but should we really take away His right to free speech?

It’s a Sunday afternoon on campus. The sky is covered by clouds, the ducks have gathered on the path between Goodricke and Langwith, and students everywhere are incensed. No, it’s not because of the Tory cuts – we’re angry because third-year engineering student Joannie Butcher has created a petition to no-platform God from a debate about abortion being held by the York Union next week.

The petition explains why Joannie believes God should be uninvited:

God is a well known misogynist and practically embodies the Patriachy in a lot of ways. In the past, He has told women to ‘remain silent in churches’, demanded that ‘If [women] want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home’ and even went so far as to say ‘Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.’ He has also been known to speak out against LGBT rights, and spews colonial dogma all the time, encouraging His believers to spread the beliefs of His cult.

Now listen – I’m not trying to defend God here, not for a second, but I think that we have to stand by His right to say all of the virulent, misogynistic crap He wants to. I recognise that He’s a domestic abuse apologist, I know He’s extremely Islamophobic and I’m completely aware that He’s responsible for periods and generally speaking everything else that’s bad in the world – I just think we have to defend His right to freedom of speech.

As Nathalie Taylor mentioned, some people find Bindel’s view that trans women are men and trans men are women to be slightly transphobic. Credit: Saeima – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Before we dig into this whole dilemma, we should rewind just a second here. Earlier this month, the York Union invited the radical feminist Julie Bindel to a debate about sex work. As the acclaimed Nouse writer Nathalie Taylor noted in her review of the debate, Bindel ‘has in the past made controversial remarks seen as transphobic’. Nathalie didn’t expand on this, but a small section of the transgender community believe Bindel to be slightly problematic – due to her repeated misgendering of (especially) trans women, labelling of trans* people as ‘gender benders’ and desire to exclude trans* people from vital services such as rape relief centres.  While some students decried the appearance, the debate went ahead as scheduled.

If the Halifax VP for Wellbeing and Community thinks that students are over-sensitive, it must be true.

It seems like that small incident has changed the political landscape at the University, however, and even though stalwart defenders of free speech have arisen, some radicalised left-wing echo-chamber-grown female supremacists are on the move, and now they’ve had the audacity to suggest that God can’t speak to His own creations, however awful He may actually be.

It’s time for real-talk, kiddies. We have to say no to no-platforming. Vision writer and Halifax VP for Wellbeing and Community Josh Salisbury is right – there’s no right to not be offended. The comfort of students is less important than the right to espouse hateful, violence-inspiring, bigoted shite. If the Halifax VP for Wellbeing and Community thinks that students are over-sensitive, it must be true. After all, he was elected to watch out for students’ wellbeing.

Free speech is important. Really important. Like, if we didn’t have freedom of speech, just expressing an opinion would be enough to get you arrested. We don’t stand for things like that in this society.  Attempting to take away the freedom of speech of people is oppressive, and if someone says something discriminatory and bigoted, that’s fine. Unless you’re a Muslim, they get in trouble for any old thing.

Worse still – it’s patronising. Students should know full well to avoid speakers with bigoted views, and they don’t need the PC brigade to protect them. It doesn’t matter that students actually live on campus – if you attend University you should be prepared to be questioned, harassed and attacked purely on the basis of your identity, and you don’t need a bunch of white knights rushing around making University a pleasant environment. In an ideal world, you could invite Jeremy Clarkson to speak about disability, or Dapper Laughs could argue about rape culture and there wouldn’t be any of this childish uproar. I’m not saying they’re right, I’m saying we have a duty to listen to them, no matter how uninformed and damaging their views are – and God is no exception.

Ashley Reed

Ashley Reed

My name is Ashley Reed. My hobbies include colouring in, student journalism and making small towers out of cardboard and elastic bands.

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