Dogma U: Only Virgins Need Apply

Nobody would have anticipated that Robert Dear would blurt this out in open court:

“I’m guilty. There’s no trial,” the accused mass killer Robert L. Dear Jr. told a startled courtroom here on Wednesday. “I’m a warrior for the babies.”

That he was against abortion does not distinguish him from millions of others. That his belief manifested in his going to Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs and opening fire does.  Nobody who favors pro-choice walks into an obstetrician’s office and starts shooting people because they deliver babies rather than abort them.  There is an asymmetry to the competing beliefs, and it seems like all the deadly crazies adhere to one side rather than the other.

Yet, this is America, and we are entitled to believe whatever we want to believe.  We don’t need permission to believe in dogma, no matter how silly it may seem to others. It’s part of our bundle of rights, and you’re no more entitled to “thought police” someone else than they are entitled to “thought police” you.  What no one is entitled to do is kill people in furtherance of their beliefs.

There is a school in Tennessee named Carson-Newman University. Until today, I had never heard of it. After today, I won’t give it another thought. It’s a Christian college, and it makes no bones about that fact.

“This is who we are as a Christian university,” O’Brien opined. “These are our religious principles. And in a changing world, we would like to reaffirm that this is who we are and who we intend to be.”

What this means is that it overtly discriminates in favor of students that maintain its religious values, and against students who don’t. And so, it sought and obtained a waiver from the Department of Education to Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in educational institutions, along with whatever nonsensical crap Catherine Lhamon makes up from time to time.

The waiver allows the school to ban pregnant students, women who have had an abortion, single mothers, LGBT students and anyone else who does not fit their religious ideology.

At a time when the very word discrimination conjures visions of intolerable oppression that compel college students to rend their clothing, Carson-Newman University President Dr. Randall O’Brien’s position could cause a massive outbreak of faux PTSD and run on puppies and Play Doh.

When asked to explain why the university could possibly want a waiver to allow it to engage in discrimination, O’Brien equivocated.

“You’re the president,” WVLT’s Lauren Davis noted. “You’re not going to file something unless you understand it.”

“Yeah, I understood that our legal counsel said that this would further establish our identity as a religious school, a Christian school.”

But when Davis pointed out that the purpose of the waiver was to allow the school to discriminate, O’Brien disagreed.

“I don’t know how it would be,” the president insisted.

Despite the less-than-informative interview, which may mean that Carson Newman University isn’t nearly as bad as its waiver suggests, or that O’Brien is kinda dense, the waiver was granted and the school can engage in rank discrimination against women, gays, and most things that involve having college-appropriate fun.  But that’s just my belief, and while I’m entitled to it, it means nothing to anyone else.

In the scheme of social justice, there are few types of discrimination that don’t evoke immediate shrieks of horror.  There is discrimination against suspect classifications in employment that is unlawful. There is discrimination based on gender in education that is unlawful. And then there is discrimination against a wide variety of other things, ranging from fat shaming to unattractiveness to belief systems that conflict with our own.

For people who value the eradication of discrimination in certain forms over the belief in sky zombies, a university like Carson Newman will seem outrageous.  There is a hypocrisy to this knee-jerk reaction to discrimination, both because we all discriminate (and we always have: want to be forced to date people you find unattractive?  Discrimination!!!  See how that works?) and because it’s nothing more than discriminating against people who believe something different than we do.

But if a university can so flagrantly discriminate on the basis of religious belief, what’s to stop a college from establishing itself as “whites only”?  The answer lies in the First Amendment’s protection of religion apart from other beliefs.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Much as this may start to smell like an anachronism to those disinclined to give up reason in the name of faith, it remains a fundamental constitutional right, and nobody needs anybody else’s permission to believe in the deity of their choice, and the dogma that goes with it.

On the bright side, no one is forced to go to Carson-Newman University. No one has to share its religious beliefs. No one has to hire a graduate of the school.  No one has to change their mind about whatever they believe about the inherent wrongfulness of discrimination because the folks at one university nobody ever heard of before believe otherwise.

In the name of tolerance, beliefs breed intolerance of other beliefs.  So what if President O’Brien fails to see how wrong his school’s admissions policy is?  It meets the sincere religious beliefs of the university, and they’re allowed to be as wrong as they want to be. Or as right as they want to be, according to which side you’re on.  And that’s the point.

The mindless intolerance of intolerance, that your beliefs are right, making anyone who believes otherwise wrong, somehow justifies demands that their beliefs should not be tolerated.  In the hands of a flaming nutjob like Robert Dear, this manifested in death. But in the hands of people who are disinclined to kill other people because they’re not that crazy, it’s still no more tolerant.

You want to be the tolerant person you feel you are?  Then let other people believe whatever they want to believe, and worry about yourself.  You have a right to believe as you want, but so do they.  It’s great that you won’t do physical harm to those who disagree with you, but stop pretending that trying to silence, or worse yet, criminalize those who don’t share your “correct” views somehow makes you pure and chaste. Be the tolerant person you want to be, even if you’re never going to be a virgin again.

H/T Chris Seaton

21 thoughts on “Dogma U: Only Virgins Need Apply

  1. Max Kennerly

    They’re seeking a Title IX waiver because they get federal funds. I strongly believe in their right to practice their religion however they want, but they have no “right” to use federal taxpayer money for it. If there’s a constitutional issue here at all, it’s that taxpayers can’t be forced to send money to some silly religious establishment.

    The waiver should be revoked. Everyone’s free to worship at the altar of Stupid Bigot, but they must do so on their own dime.

    1. SHG Post author

      It’s not entirely clear if, or for what, they get federal funds, though that’s certainly a fair assumption, since they wouldn’t give a damn about Title IX otherwise. If it’s along the lines of federally guaranteed student loans, I would be very reluctant to call that religious free-riding. If it’s a million dollar grant for kicks, then you have a valid point. You can’t take the taxpayer loot to fund your religious bootcamp without offending the establishment clause.

  2. Richard G. Kopf


    Material facts: The Carson-Newman Eagles football team went 9 and 2 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Valdosta St (61-59). Likewise, the lady Eagles soccer team made it to the 2015 NCAA South/Southeast Super Region sweet 16.

    This athletic success is a good enough reason to me to allow Carson-Newman to discriminate on religious grounds under Title IX. Go Eagles!

    Caveat: Lady Eagles must not get knocked up while dating Eagles football players. Remember, there is no “I” in team.

    All the best.


    1. CLS

      Your Honor:

      It should also be noted that in the South, where College Football is a religion and the players are its prophets, the Eagles continue to beat the University of Tennessee Volunteers in their annual scrimmage game each year.

      This success is enough to justify every football player on the team keeping their scholarships and remaining at the school after causing a riot at a local nightclub called Lord Lindsey’s that managed to bring every Knoxville Police Department officer to the scene to quell said disturbance.

      Go Eagles.


      1. Richard G. Kopf


        As you suggest, there is nothing wrong with a little fun at Lord Lindsey’s? Those who disagree should remember that beer is the nectar of God.

        Proof? Consider Saint Brigid:

        “We’ve all heard about Jesus turning water to wine at a wedding, which is impressive, but it’s a parlor trick when you consider the feats of the Catholic Saint Brigid. Her abbey, the first convent in Ireland, was visited by a cadre of Cardinals who were owed every hospitality, including an open bar. When the abbey’s kegs had run dry, Brigid told the other nuns to dip their pitchers into a nearby bathtub, and serve the men the water. Reluctantly they agreed and were amazed to find that the water turned to beer by the time it touched the guests’ lips.”

        Rob Lammle, Nectar of the Gods: Alcoholic Mythology,Mental Floss (last accessed December 10, 2015)

        Yours in drunken but entirely Christian debauchery, I remain intending

        All the best.


        1. CLS

          Your Honor:

          I am the last person on Earth you need to convince that beer is the nectar of God.

          In light of the recent developments at my Alma Mater, and taking into account Morse v. Fredrick and the proclivities of the Southern Baptist Convention, I think I may propose a new program: “Beer Bongs For Jesus.”

          Yours in equal drunken and Christian debauchery,

    2. losingtrader

      Did they beat your favorite team, the St Francis Fighting Utes?
      BTW, there is no “WE” in team either.

  3. David M.

    At a time when the very word discrimination conjures visions of intolerable oppression that compel college students to rend their clothing

    Clearly the judge was wrong; you’re no public intellectual. What kind of public intellectual would write such a wonderfully unmixed metaphor? Bro, do you even Friedman?

  4. Michael Heaney

    Ah the zealous assault on people who are opposed to bigotry continues, replete with some fairly slanderous misrepresentations of ideas and behavior and direct comparison to an insane mass murderer. That was honestly the best part of your continuing emotional spiral over your irrational hatred of people for daring to be opposed to bigotry as an idea or an institution, “You may not be like an insane guy that started murdering people, but really…you are.” I mean, that was just amazing to watch.

    And yet your idea is as broken as it is poorly applied. It is no crime, nor hypocrisy, nor unethical behavior to point out the flaws in a bad idea, to oppose a socially destructive notion. In this world there are, as it happens, people who are insisting, in all seriousness, that pi = 3. And yet there is no tolerance of this idea in the halls of higher learning, from physics to architecture, because it is a bad idea. It can be objectively, rationally be demonstrated as wrong. And your argument is that this intolerance is bad, that the declaration of the overt flaws in the pi=3 idea is somehow some kind of “bigotry.”

    It’s a tired tactic I’m seeing far too much of in the endless struggle to try and claim that bigotry isn’t a problem and we should stop picking on bigots. It’s unfortunate to see you wander now fully into that camp, but not exactly surprising.

    To put it simply, bigotry is a real problem in this nation and world. The largely mythical “SJW” enemy you’re so worked up over is not. Your priorities aren’t just misplaced, they’re ridiculous, and your arguments are increasingly ridiculous in reflection of this.

    Cue your ten word snide response with no actual substance, support or real argument in 3…2…

  5. mb

    “Nobody who favors pro-choice walks into an obstetrician’s office and starts shooting people because they deliver babies rather than abort them. There is an asymmetry to the competing beliefs, and it seems like all the deadly crazies adhere to one side rather than the other.”

    Don’t act like one of them, Scott. You’re better than that. Yes, some crazy people target abortion clinics. Sure, no crazy people target obstetricians. (not sure why that would even be the target) But to suggest that there are no crazy pro-abortion people is beneath you. I know you’re familiar with “feminism”. I know you’re aware that narrative often overrides fact in determining which stories we’ll hear about. You don’t need to take this mindless jab at people who don’t like abortions. It’s as bad as suggesting that Westboro Baptist is a church and not a law firm, or that two out of one women is being raped, or that everybody that doesn’t use affirmative action hates black people.

    1. SHG Post author

      Crazy? Sure. Deadly? I can’t help the facts. For all the crazy, I really can’t think of an instance where the shooter espoused a liberal or progressive cause. Doesn’t make ’em less crazy, but definitely less deadly. If I’m wrong, and you know of something, let me know and I’m happy to adjust.

      If it makes you feel any better, I got SJW’d for being such a swell guy anyway.

      1. mb

        No doubt the lack of violence against the people tasked with preventing people from having abortions is due in part to the inherent reasonableness of pro-abortion people. (the other part of the reason being that they don’t exist)

        Believe it or not, inane ramblings about discrimination don’t make me feel better. But just for today, I won’t feel sorry for your having to entertain such nonsense.

      2. Sacho

        I was curious about the facts, so I googled a bit. Apparently, there is the case of a certain James Pouillon, an allegedly “noted pro-life activist”, who was shot dead during an abortion protest in front of some High School. Certainly though, the case lacks the bombastics of an unrepentant confession.

        I would also like to point out the contention that pro-life activists make – that abortion is murder, so you have blood on the hands of everyone that has been part of it, or the claim that women are murdered every year by their boyfriends because they refuse to have an abortion. Clearly, their legal case is weak, but I think pro-life activists looking from a moral standpoint see an ocean of murders by “abortionists”, and a few brave martyrs willing to fight against it.

        I think you could draw a parallel between their point and that of say, BLM activists – just as BLM claim that systemic racism against blacks is the cause of police brutality and the disproportionate amount of incarceration, pro-life activists would claim that the legal system is biased towards “abortionists”, letting them get away with murder.

      3. Piedmont

        It helps to have the law on your side when determining whether the premeditated killing of an innocent is murder or not.

        It also makes it easier to use banal items such as scissors at one’s leisure, rather than an AR-15 in an ambush.

        1. SHG Post author

          While I have no clue how your comment relates to anything, I do have a question. What law allows a “premeditated killing of an innocent” anywhere ever? I wasn’t aware that was up for grabs.

            1. SHG Post author

              Not at all. You have feelz. I have law. As prosecutor, you are a menace to society because you can’t distinguish between your personal sense of morality and the law you are supposed to administer. You are more criminal than those you prosecute, but are too self-indulgent to recognize or admit it. You are the enemy you hate.

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