Cathy Young on SFSU and Censorship Masquerading as ‘Tolerance’

By April 10, 2007

In Reason Online yesterday, the ever-reasonable Cathy Young discussed a string of FIRE cases involving students punished for expressing hostility toward Islam. Young notes that there is a disturbing trend afoot involving college administrators acting hastily, often with disciplinary action, against students who have been seen as blaspheming Islam. Of course there is the SFSU case, in which students were put on trial for desecrating not just the flags of terrorist organizations, but the name “Allah.” Young ties SFSU’s actions in with the Mohammed cartoon controversy and even Michigan State University’s recent attempt to make the Young Americans for Freedom pay for security at their screening of “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Young points out that these cases would have likely not been adjudicated to the same extent if the expression in question was anti-American or anti-Christian. She concludes: 

Whatever the motive, the push to censor blasphemy on campus in guise of “tolerance” is extremely bad policy. It is bad because it tramples on speech and expression, bad because it promotes a religious double standard, and bad because it is an invitation for other religious groups to seek the same protections. When Muslims claim the “right” to be free from insults to their faith, Christian conservatives won’t be far behind.

Schools: New York University Michigan State University San Francisco State University