Well, that was fast. Just a few weeks after the first media reports that the University of Wisconsin had hired a 9/11 conspiracy theorist to teach an “Introduction to Islam” class and a few days after a few politicians pressured the university to fire a non-tenured lecturer with a serious commitment to junk science, the brave university has come forward with a ringing defense of free speech. According to a university spokesperson: “We cannot allow political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free exchange of ideas.” I mean, why not let him teach? After all, he’s pledged to spend “only” one week of class time on his insane theories. And I’m sure that his doctorate in Arabic more than qualifies him to explain how buildings should withstand the impact of jetliners full of jet fuel flying several hundred miles per hour.
This is just hilarious. Recall that Wisconsin was just recently (after months-long battles and an Alliance Defense Fund lawsuit against a sister school in the university system) dragged kicking and screaming into permitting RAs to hold Bible studies in their own rooms on their own time. In the logic of the university world, the idea that the President of the United States murdered almost 3,000 American citizens to start a war for oil contributes to the “free exchange of ideas” and can be taught in university classrooms. But a private study of the Gospel of John? That’s just too much.