Black Christian Disinvited from Cornell Debate Because She Believes in Traditional Marriage
Jannique Stewart, a pro-life speaker with Life Training Institute was invited to speak at an abortion debate at Cornell University but she was disinvited when the organizers realized she believes in the traditional Christian teachings on sexuality and marriage.
"In January, I was invited to speak on April 23rd, at Cornell University's Political Union (CPU), regarding the fact that abortion is a moral wrong," Stewart wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. Everything was on track until the organizers examined the bio she sent them.
"I received a shocking phone call in which I was told that I was being DISINVITED. Why? I was being DISINVITED because of my outspoken beliefs regarding biblical sexuality," she wrote. "Specifically, because of two main beliefs: 1. Sexual activity should be reserved for marriage 2. Natural marriage defined by God as the Union of one man and one woman."
In a statement emailed to PJ Media, Stewart explained that her ministry, Love Protects, "addresses a range of issues dealing with biblical sexuality: abstinence until marriage, pro-life, anti-pornography, to issues regarding the traditional and biblical view on marriage and LGBTQ issues."
Stewart insisted: "YES, it was made very clear to me that I was being DISINVITED invited because of my views. That is VIEWPOINT DISCRIMINATION."
The story gets even worse, however. The organizers did not just disinvite her, they called her beliefs bigotry.
"It was explained to me that having someone on campus who believed the way I did was tantamount to allowing a racist to speak who held pro-slavery and pro- holocaust views!!!" Stewart wrote. "I was also told that their concern was that many of the students would be offended by my beliefs and would not be able to focus or listen to my speech."
"I explained to her that such a correlation is completely inaccurate, it is offensive and it is a deliberate distortion of the biblical position and is an attempt to silence a conservative and biblical view," Stewart said in her emailed statement. "I asked her to go back to the Executive Board and ask them to reconsider the fact that they are disinviting a speaker because of their Christian views and that they are punishing me and discriminating against me because of my beliefs, and that’s wrong!"
Cornell organizers seemingly relented, but they still "suggested that it would be better for another speaker to come in my place who did not hold such views."
Stewart attempted to continue preparations, since her appearance was back on the table, but after weeks of radio silence, the organizers again disinvited her.
"Weeks have passed and to my dismay, this week I received another call in which I was DISINVITED for the second time -- and they said it was a final No! They made it again clear that [it was] because of my outspoken beliefs, and how it would be perceived by the students," Stewart wrote.
"More and more Universities are censoring Conservative Christian voices in an effort to silence dissent and spare any possible offense. Unbelievable!" she added. "The First Amendment supports Freedom of Speech not Freedom From Speech. ... I will not allow my voice to be silenced!"
Stewart told PJ Media that she did not have an email or screenshot of the disinvitation messages, because when the university told her she could not come, organizers did so over the phone.
Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University and bestselling conservative author, noted the disinvitation and drew the natural conclusions.
"So here we are. Evidently, no Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Orthodox Jew, or Muslim, who believes what his or her tradition of faith teaches about sex and marriage is permitted to engage in debate at the Cornell Political Union," George wrote in a Facebook post.
"Even someone who, following thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Musonius Rufus, Xenophanes, and Plutarch, holds to traditional morality on philosophical grounds without the benefit of scriptural revelation, is ineligible to be a debater," the professor added. "If Plato or Aristotle were around today, they would be barred. Think about that for a second."
Any dissent from the left's intersectional and pro-LGBT consensus must be silenced — and demonized.
"Among the most appalling practices of the contemporary left is its attempt to secure its position on sex and marriage by stigmatizing anyone who dissents from it as a 'bigot' or 'hater'--the equivalent of a racist--and thus excluding them and shutting down all debate," George added. "We're seeing this all over the country. It is a sin against the House of Intellect."
"The bullies who commit it need to be stood up to. Their victims need to refuse to be intimidated. And all men and women of goodwill need to stand with them," the professor added. "Where oh where are the old fashioned, honorable liberals?"
George asked precisely the correct question. While the liberals of the 1960s fought for free speech, today's left is actively demonizing dissent. Indeed, this strategy has been institutionalized at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which brands conservative and Christian nonprofits "hate groups" because they dare to disagree with the left's reigning orthodoxy. The SPLC has even cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church as expressive of "hate."
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado had unjustly prosecuted Christian baker Jack Phillips when he refused to use his artistic talents to celebrate a same-sex marriage. Colorado officials compared Phillips to a Nazi for his Christian beliefs on biblical sexuality.
Recently, former Vice President Joe Biden apologized for calling Vice President Mike Pence aa "decent guy," following a backlash. News that Pence's wife went back to teaching at a Christian school sparked disgusting insults and outrage.
Following the SPLC, social media companies, credit card companies, donation networks, and even state governments are systematically silencing conservative and Christian voices. Now Cornell University has joined this disgusting effort. Jannique Stewart is right to speak out, and Americans across the political spectrum should join her.
Update March 27 10:25 p.m.: On Wednesday, Cornell University sent PJ Media a statement upholding free speech and insisting that Jannique Stewart was not turned away by Cornell University for her beliefs.
"As we have frequently noted, free speech is an essential part of Cornell University’s commitment to the discovery of truth, and the University's leadership is resolute in upholding the principle of freedom of expression on our campuses," the university spokesperson said.
"Recently, we learned that an independent, student-run organization, the Cornell Political Union, had already decided to rescind an invitation to a speaker for an event on our Ithaca campus. They made this decision without engaging with the administration on event planning or security," the statement continued.
"The University in no way requested or suggested that any guest be excluded from attending this campus event, and to date we have made no recommendation related to potential university costs associated with supporting the event."
The Cornell Political Union told The College Fix that it did not attack Jannique Stewart's views, but merely decided that she would be so controversial a speaker that hosting her would spark violent protests and require extensive security fees. This amounts to a "heckler's veto," in which an organization prevents speech by yielding to pressure — real or imagined.
The union suggested that Stewart's record as a Bible-believing Christian "could create conditions under which members’ security would be at risk. As an undergraduate organization, we have limited funds, and paying for security would have put a great financial strain on the organization."
While Stewart cannot provide audio to prove the Cornell Political Union insulted her beliefs, the union admitted to disinviting her due to those beliefs.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.