As The Daily Wire has previously reported, our own columnist/podcast host Matt Walsh is facing protests in anticipation of a speech — sponsored by Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) — that he will deliver at Baylor University tomorrow evening. According to The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo:
Left-wing students and faculty at Baylor University, an alleged Christian school, are trying to shut down a speech concerning life, gender, and marriage from a Christian perspective by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh set for Tuesday. …
A Change.org petition seeking to censor Walsh, titled “Stop Matt Walsh, Conservative Blogger, from Delivering Anti-LGBTQ Speech at Baylor,” has garnered 2,200-plus signatures as of Saturday morning.
“Baylor University’s conservative student group, Baylor Young Americans for Freedom, has invited conservative blogger Matt Walsh to deliver an Anti-LGBTQ+ speech on April 9,” the petition claims, adding, “This cannot be allowed to take place. Please remove this from campus events. For the benefit of all LGBTQ+ students, alumni, and future students, this harmful hate speech must be kept off of our beloved campus.”
Over 600 individuals of all stripes — alumni, students, faculty, and staff — affiliated with Baylor also signed a letter expressing serious concern with the appearance of Walsh, a conservative Catholic, at the purportedly Baptist university. Walsh responded on Twitter on Friday, referring to the letter as, “cowardly, overwrought, dishonest, ridiculous nonsense.”
Today, in a column for The Daily Wire, Walsh elaborated on the cowardice of the protesters:
To be perfectly clear about this, I am simply coming to the campus to give a speech. I will stand at a podium, talk for a little while, answer questions, and leave. At no point will I engage in any activity that could possibly threaten anyone’s safety. I come armed only with ideas. You may disagree with the ideas, but they cannot hurt you. And, in fact, you cannot even really know that you disagree with the ideas until you have listened to them.
That’s the problem with the hostility to open dialogue on college campuses. It’s not just that students who react this way to opposing ideas will never learn what other people think; worse, they’ll never learn what they themselves think. We cannot develop a coherent and original perspective if we have only ever allowed ourselves to be exposed to one set of views. All that happens, when we insulate ourselves from different viewpoints, is that we become more and more unjustifiably convinced of our own rightness and less and less capable of explaining why.
Reached for a statement by The Daily Wire, Baylor’s YAF chapter provided the following update on the latest from campus:
Baylor tried to put a last-minute requirement on the event, saying our advisor who is in D.C. right now needs to be there from set-up time (1:30 PM) to leave time (10:00 P.M.?), or else the event couldn’t go on. This isn’t a rule, but luckily we found a professor who is willing to do it [anyway]. Baylor’s Assistant Director of Student Activities signed an anti-YAF, anti-Walsh petition, as have dozens of faculty and administrators. And as a response to Matt Walsh, Baylor will in all likelihood be chartering an LGBT group, which would strip [Baylor] of its religious affiliation.
Also reached for a statement, Walsh added, “While I really appreciate and am grateful for the university administration’s unwillingness to cave to the mob, I am distressed that so many students at a Christian school are so hostile not only to the free exchange of ideas, but to the free exchange of Christian ideas.”
Walsh’s speech is still scheduled to go on tomorrow evening.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, leftist activist Laura Seay began to promote a counter-programning event to Walsh’s talk, entitled “Dia Love Feast.”