At UConn, the Only Bad Proselytizing is Christian Proselytizing
We told you yesterday how Boster’s bloviating was the fruit of Herbst’s hectoring. Now, according to The Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut has put out the following statement:
Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and a confrontational posture are inconsistent with UConn’s values.
That’s it? No condemnation of Boster getting students to chant “Praise Darwin?”
The University is showing a dearth of analytical skills–something noble institutions propose to instruct–to conclude that Coach Jones’ telling the media that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle” was prohibited activity but Professor Boster’s public invocation directly to students to “Praise Darwin!” and to “feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals” . . . was not. The University is pandering in an abuse of reason, something they profess to uphold, when they promote one Professor’s slavish devotion to the book of Darwin and secularism over another staff member’s expressed faith.
We must conclude that it is Christianity that President Herbst finds so disgusting as to ban it from the huddle, while permitting such obvious proselytizing by Professor Boster in public, without rebuke to content. Is this is the “clear message” they intend to send to staff and students?
April 24, 2014
I agree; the response is weak sauce in at least two ways. Do they mean to suggest that abusive language and a confrontational posture might be consistent with some other state school or institution’s values? Is that the strongest denouncement they can muster for intimidation tactics?
April 25, 2014
The self-described Christian evangelists came to UConn not with the good news of the gospels but with a message of hate, bigotry, and ignorance. They attacked my students for their sexual behavior, sexual preferences, religious beliefs, and ethnicities and condemned them to hell. A mama bear will defend her cubs, a mother goose her goslings, and I will defend my students from strangers who come to call them sodomites, fornicators, and sinners condemned to hell. Darwin’s message that all humans are our brothers and sisters, all mammals our cousins, and all life our kin is much closer to the loving affirmation of life found in the gospels than the hate, bigotry, and ignorance preached by these rude guests to our home. It is a moral duty to be outraged by the morally outrageous. I am proud to have done my duty to defend my students from attack. Does the Family Institute of Connecticut really want to take the side of these slanderers of our children. Is this your notion of family values?
April 25, 2014
Mr. Boster, from the video that I saw it was you who came with a message of hate. Such emotional, profanity-laden displays are not exactly the intellectual argumentation that one expects of college professors who claim to be enlightened.
How does one take a position of intolerance against another’s views….. in the name of tolerance…..and not see the contradiction?
April 25, 2014
Professor Boster – you’ll find no contempt by FIC. Your gospel according to Darwin may not be persuasive to us, but we can acknowledge your right to preach it, even though you are a professor, to students, on or off campus. Any reading, not even a very careful one, of FIC’s posts reveals that our issue is with President Herbst’s condemnation of Coach Jones’ spiritual comments to the media (because he was staff), but not your preaching directly to students (also as staff). It is a content bias in favor of an animist or secular philosophy and against Christianity. And you were preaching, even if you now suggest it was only for dramatics. Your attempt now to deflect criticism for your own behavior by creating a smear campaign against Family Institute is continued unbecoming behavior by a professor. I for one will be praying for you. Not in the name of Darwin, but in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ. I’m pretty sure that though you may disagree, you will not take offense.
April 25, 2014
So the proper response from a role model was to get in very close physical proximity, shake fists, and repeatedly shout “Bulls***”? What am I missing?
Dr. Boster, while I poked some fun at you, I do respect your position as a college professor. That’s why I hope you will take the following extra bit of advice to heart, as I have:
Other people are like the weather — frequently unpredictable, basically uncontrollable. The one thing you can control is how you react.
Over and out…I try not to beat dead horses.
April 26, 2014
These protestors came to campus with messages of hate and were attacking members of the campus community, condemning them to hell. At which point the professor stepped into to defend them, when provoked. Defending students from extreme christian hate groups is not the same as preaching about Darwin. You’re setting up a blame the victim fallacious argument, which is typical of Christians who can’t take responsibility for your own actions. We all know that most Christians are good people, but your inability to take responsibility or even acknowledge that christian hate groups are wrong casts a shadow over your whole religion, to other people who are non Christians. For once can you look at your own side of the street instead of judging other people. People don’t like to be told they are going to hell, especially innocent people who may have been born gay or born with a different skin color. Furthermore, the idea that Christians are oppressed in America is a misnomer at best, at worst it is a deliberate deception used to manufacture consent for more poor Christian behavior.
April 29, 2014
Dear Willful Misreader, your comment would be better directed at the University which put out the statement regarding the people you have freely judged as a “hate group” . . . “Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses.” Oh dear. 🙁
And as a student of reading comprehension, which we expect every UConn enrollee to be, you should note that FIC blog neither defended the visitors’ conduct nor the content of their free speech because it doesn’t matter to the substance of our critique of President Herbst.
I suppose if I peruse the comment section of Colin McEnroe’s blog, which came to basically the same conclusion as my blog post, with even more strident language, that I’ll find an equally judgmental comment by you accusing The Courant of supporting hate groups. If not, why do you only direct your vitriol toward social conservatives?
We are still waiting for President Herbst to extend her public condemnation of spiritual statements by staff to Professor Boster’s direct proselytizing of students in the same manner she exorcized Coach Jones for his. And since you brought it up, let’s consider some of the actual statements by Professor Boster of what he believes and then preached on April 21, to a crowd of students.
From the April 24 article entitled “University of Connecticut Professor Goes ‘Ape’ at Christian Campus Presentation” at Breitbart.com . . . “Boster then told students to ‘feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals.'”and “We are all bonded together in that great spiritual web. The divine saturates nature the way that gravy saturates cornbread”.
Before suggesting that Professor Boster’s statements to students were only a mockery of proselytizing and a defense of his shrinking-violet students, and not his actual deeply-held spiritual beliefs, consider just one of his posts in numerous blogs across the internet, this one from NBC.com wherein he states . .
“Darwin’s message that all humans are our brothers and sisters, all mammals our cousins, and all life our kin is much closer to the loving affirmation of life found in the gospels than the hate, bigotry, and ignorance preached by these rude guests to our home. It is a moral duty to be outraged by the morally outrageous.”
The “gold standard” established by President Herbst herself, in a letter-to-the-editor to the Hartford Courant is that “[I]t should go without saying that our employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students.” There is no “mockery” exception and I think someone owes an apology to Coach Jones.
To be clear, I have no issue with Professor Boster conducting “open air Darwinism” (his words, not mine) of his belief system to students. I do wish he had conducted himself in a manner consistent with behavior expected of a professor at a public university receiving over $119,000 in compensation each year – but maybe he does too. The question now is whether President Herbst will permit all “spiritual sharing” by staff members, regardless of which gospel they preach.