Wheaton College Students Say Black Pro-Life Speaker Made People of Color 'Feel Unsafe'
On Thursday, black pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger shot back after the leadership of the Wheaton College student body condemned a speech he gave as threatening to people of color. In the speech, he decried the "black genocide" of abortion and criticized Black Lives Matter for teaming up with Planned Parenthood. About a week after the event, the student leaders sent an email to the entire student body, denouncing it.
"The speaker of this event, Ryan Bomberger, made several comments at the event that deeply troubled members of our community," the students wrote. "His comments, surrounding the topic of race, made many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe on our campus."
In his official response, Bomberger suggested this attack constituted slander and said he was considering legal action. He directly addressed the three authors of the email — Lauren Rowley, student body president; Tyler Waaler, student body vice president; and Sammie Shields, executive vice president of community diversity.
"I am a person of color, a clarifying fact which you conveniently left out of your letter of denouncement. I was primarily presenting a perspective of those who are never heard, always underrepresented, and are actually unsafe — the unborn," he declared.
"For anyone—student, faculty, or staff— to claim that they were 'unheard' or 'underrepresented' obviously didn't stay for the 25 minutes of Q&A that followed or the additional 30 minutes that I stayed and responded to more thoughtful questions as well as some baseless (and even hostile) accusations," Bomberger added. "For anyone to claim they felt 'unsafe' by anything that I said is unfortunate and simply hyperbole."
"Are students at Wheaton taught to fear or taught to think?" the black pro-life activist quipped.
The student leaders' claims seem particularly laughable considering the facts that Bomberger's entire presentation is publicly available via Facebook video and that he began his discussion with an attack on "factophobia." He lamented, "When you're speaking facts or speaking truth, you'll be called a hater." That claim now seems rather prophetic.
Furthermore, the speaker focused on the fact that many abortion clinics specifically target black women for abortion — a trend confirmed by billboards in Dallas this August and Cleveland this past January, not to mention the disgusting history of the eugenics movement.
Yet Bomberger addressed these emotionally charged issues with nuance. He recalled that Steve Ivester, the dean of student engagement at Wheaton, "came up to me after the event and praised me for the way in which I approached such heavy issues." Indeed, this praise seems natural, as Wheaton is a Christian college with a clear pro-life stance.
As LifeSiteNews's Dorothy Cummings McLean rightly noted, Wheaton joined many other Christian colleges in suing the Obama administration over the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate under Obamacare. Like so many other institutions, Wheaton objected to the government's order that it must provide abortion-inducing drugs in employee healthcare plans. In February 2018, a federal judge ruled in Wheaton's favor.
Wheaton's pro-life stance goes beyond the administration, however. The Community Covenant calls on all Christians at the college — students included — to "uphold the God-given worth of human beings, from conception to death, as the unique image-bearers of God." The covenant grounds this pro-life stance in Psalm 139, where the psalmist recounts that God "knitted me together in my mother's womb."
Bomberger's talk — with its discussion of the dark history of the U.S. eugenics movement and the references to race-focused abortion as "black genocide" — may indeed have been uncomfortable to hear, but the purpose of a college is to expose students to uncomfortable truths.
Then again, a spokeswoman for Wheaton told LifeSiteNews that "Wheaton College's philosophy is to couple the presentation of challenging ideas with opportunities for care and reflection in response to the needs of our campus community." For this reason, she stood by the students who were "concerned" with Bomberger's statements.
The spokeswoman said administrators have reached out to Bomberger and his organization, the Radiance Foundation, to discuss his concerns.
While progressive activists often claim to be offended by conservative speakers, saying the speakers made them "feel unsafe," it is a serious charge for the student leaders to claim Bomberger — himself a black man who was conceived in rape and might have been aborted — made people of color "feel unsafe" at his speech.
After all, the Wheaton College Republicans — the group that invited him — have students of color serving as president (Hispanic) and vice president (Asian).
In a fiery conclusion, Bomberger threatened legal action.
"Your campus-wide email defies your school’s mission and teeters on the edge of slander and libel, which the Radiance Foundation never takes lightly," the activist declared. "We will pursue a discussion with your school’s administration/leadership and our attorneys at which time we will decide whether or not to take legal action against this defamation."
While Bomberger — a Christian — arguably should avoid bringing a lawsuit against other Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1), it is indeed remarkable for pro-life students at a pro-life school to take such offense at a pro-life speech that they accuse a black man of making people of color "feel unsafe."
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