About the Author
Opinion Archives
E-mail Scott
Scott's Links

Debate, don't censor

By Scott Tibbs, February 13, 2007

I skimmed the letters section of the February 8 IDS and saw several letters responding to a column on homosexual adoption by Abram Hess, so I made a point to read the column before I read the criticisms more closely. Hess certainly didn't mince words, so the torrent of responses was expected.

First, let me congratulate Mr. Hess for having the courage of his convictions. It is not easy to stand up for Biblical sexual morality in the city of Bloomington, and it is less easy to do so on a university campus so dominated by "tolerant" Leftists, some of whom do things like vandalize the automobiles of IDS columnists who publish "offensive" commentaries. (This has happened to Mr. Hess, by the way.)

Four of the letters responding to Mr. Hess were a productive extension of the dialogue, responding directly to the arguments presented in the "Fathers and Mothers" column. Jim Johnson and Charles Pearce, however, took the unfortunate step of calling for censorship of views they do not like. Apparently, for Mr. Pearce and Mr. Johnson, the fact that the Indiana University campus is a very welcoming place for homosexuals is not enough; opinions in agreement with centuries-old sacred texts must be banished from the student newspaper.

As a private entity, the IDS can choose to publish or not publish whatever it wants. The IDS would do a disservice to the free exchange of ideas and the state of political discourse, however, by refusing to print further columns by Mr. Hess.

I can predict the knee-jerk response to my letter: would the IDS print a column advocating white supremacist or Nazi beliefs? This is where the common sense alarm should go off, but usually doesn't: behavior is not the same as skin pigmentation, ethnicity, national origin or other immutable characteristics. At its core, the debate over whether homosexuals should be allowed to adopt children is a debate over whether people who engage in certain behaviors should be permitted to adopt children.

At an institution of higher learning, faculty, staff and students should expect to be confronted with ideas they disagree with or find offensive. Insulating the IDS readership from minority opinions does not contribute to preparing folks for the real world. Ideological diversity is not a bad thing, it's a good thing.