We send our best and brightest into colleges and universities throughout the country, hoping they will come out the other side prepared to build on the foundations that have been laid generations before them.
But when the future leaders of America are taught to reject those foundations in favor of the shifting sand of grievance ideology, the only result can be faulty houses.
Chike Uzuegbunam knows this better than most. In 2016, Chike tried to exercise his constitutional rights by peacefully sharing his Christian faith with fellow students on his college campus. But Georgia Gwinnett College officials stopped him—twice. But two federal courts ruled that this did not matter, declaring his case moot because he had graduated and the policies had changed.
And now Chike’s case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in early 2021.
Unfortunately, Chike’s story reveals a disturbing trend that shows no sign of slowing. College officials continue to feel empowered to silence any speech they deem “wrong” or “offensive,” at their sole discretion.
- A professor at Fresno State decided to enforce a “speech zone” policy his university had rescinded almost two years earlier, instructed his students to erase pro-life chalk messages, and erroneously announced that “college campuses are not free speech areas.”
- Cal State San Marcos was happy to fund pro-abortion and other favored messages to the tune of $300,000 in mandatory fees collected from students. Pro-life organization Students for Life, however, was denied $500 to host a speaker on “Abortion and Human Equality.”
- And in the most ironic scenario, officials at Kellogg Community College had volunteers arrested for handing out pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution.
As any parent can tell you, once the authority figures make bad decisions, the kids are sure to follow. And at colleges across the country, Christian and conservative students continue to be targeted by their peers on campus.
Florida State’s Student Senate President Jack Denton was the target of a massive smear campaign this past summer after he shared his religious beliefs in a private text message with other Catholic students. One of those students decided to take a screenshot and make it public, which later resulted in seven hours of lambasting by peers during a Student Senate Zoom call, after which the Senate voted to remove Jack as Senate President.
Members of the College Progressives student organization at SUNY-Binghamton assembled a mob to “disrupt this disgusting space” being occupied by College Republicans—while they were handing out free hot chocolate. Approximately 200 people confiscated and destroyed event flyers, broke down the College Republicans’ table, hurled insults and obscenities, and even physically assaulted one member.
With these “tools” in hand, many graduates head out into the professional world, eager to impose the so-called progressive utopia college officials have blueprinted for them on the rest of the world.
And just like that, unconstitutional college policies have given birth to cancel culture.
Jack Phillips has been on the receiving end of this for eight years—before it was even known as “cancel culture.” After politely declining to create a custom wedding cake celebrating a same-sex wedding, Jack has had his name dragged through the mud, has been targeted by activists, and is still fighting for his right to create art consistently with his faith, even after a win at the U.S. Supreme Court.
While the specific legal issues for Jack, Barronelle, and others may differ, it’s easy to see how Chike’s Supreme Court case sets the stage for our ability to defend religious liberty and civil rights. A victory for him would reinforce the priceless nature of our constitutionally protected liberties and would reaffirm a basic principle that would benefit everyone: the government should not get a free pass when it tramples on our freedoms. And by stopping colleges from enforcing unconstitutional policies, we could halt a disturbing chain reaction that ripples through every aspect of business, culture, and life as we know it in America.
So, if not now...when?
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