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Uncivil discourse at Ann Coulter's speech

By Scott Tibbs, Friday, February 24, 2006

Last night, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter spoke at the Indiana University Auditorium in a much-anticipated speech. (See my letter to the editor a few weeks ago regarding the speech.) She pretty much said what she's been saying for the past several years, eviscerating the Left while defending conservatism. Coulter has a very sharp wit, bringing laughter from the crowd on many occasions.

The real story of the night was the behavior of the campus Left. They repeatedly yelled out during her speech, screaming things like "fascist go home". Someone else screeched that Coulter dresses like a "ho". She handled herself well, pointing out those who were disrupting the speech. One hippie who was being especially disruptive early on was met with chants of "throw him out", which the ushers did. Other hippies were thrown out as the speech progressed.

What did the Leftists disrupting the speech think they were going to prove? Did they think they would advance their cause by shouting down a conservative speaker? Did they think screaming epithets at Ann Coulter would convince anyone in the audience of the logical and philosophical merits of Leftist thought? I think the answer is that these Leftists are intolerant of dissenting views and wish to stifle anyone who disagrees with them. This is very unfortunate in a university community.

Auditorium security certainly could have done a better job keeping the hecklers under control. Ms. Coulter stopped several times during the speech waiting for the ushers to do their job. While the rules about allowing Coulter to speak could have been enforced more strictly, I am glad security took steps to remove some of Leftists who were disrupting the speech.

The question-and-answer session featured a few interesting exchanges. One Leftist asked "who would Jesus bomb", which was followed by cheers. I was tempted to answer that question when it was my turn to speak, but I knew that I had a limited time at the microphone. For the record, my answer would have been "ask the money changers whom Jesus drove out of the Temple with a whip in John 2:13-17."

Coulter has written in the past about allowing the people to vote on abortion. When it was my turn to ask a question, I disagreed with her position, saying that whether or not it is legal to kill babies should not be up for a vote. It should just be illegal. While allowing a vote on abortion would be preferable to having the judicial branch decree that abortion will be allowed, fundamental issues of morality and human rights cannot and should not be decided by popular vote.

Coulter responded to my point by saying she trusts the American people. Frankly, I do not trust the American people, because I do not trust human beings. As Romans Chapter 3 states: "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Even King David, a great hero of the faith, murdered his good friend Uriah so that he could have Uriah's wife Bathsheba. We are all born with a sin nature, sinners by nature and by choice. This is why we need a system of government to guard our contracts, our property, and our persons. This is also why the power and authority of government must be strictly limited, because government is run by human beings.

I saw Coulter speak on campus five years ago, when she did not quite fill up Woodburn 101, which seats around three hundred people. This time, she completely filled the IU Auditorium. I greatly enjoyed the speech and hope to have the opportunity to see her again in the future.