A tenured professor of religion and philosophy at Taylor University has reportedly been fired for refusing to delete a song from YouTube called “Little Hitler,” a song he wrote to warn about the nature of hatred and sin.
According to The Echo News, Taylor University’s student newspaper, Professor Jim Spiegel said that the university received a harassment complaint over the “Little Hitler” song on his YouTube channel after he shared it on his personal Facebook page.
Although the Echo reported that Spiegel had performed the song on campus before without complaints, university officials informed him several days after posting it online that he needed to take it down. Spiegel says he refused and was subsequently fired.
In an email to faculty members on September 1, Taylor administration officials reportedly detailed the situation, writing: “Just as we as individuals are all called to seek restoration of damaged relationships, the biblical principles embodied in Taylor’s Life Together Covenant compel us to do the same corporately within the University.”
“That process was followed, engaging faculty leadership, the academic department, and the administration seeking to restore what was damaged. In this case restoration was not possible,” said the email, reports Echo News.
Spiegel explained his reasoning for writing the song when he uploaded it on Youtube back in mid-August: “Many years ago, while hiking in Colorado Springs, I came across a group of campers where a folk singer was singing song after song which exalted human nature in the most grandiose terms. I was struck by how the singer and his songs did not recognize that humans have a fundamental moral problem, what theologians call a ‘sin nature.’ It was in response to this that I wrote ‘Little Hitler’ — as a theological corrective to such unabashed (and dangerous) humanism. In this video I perform the song with the same corny exuberance that that folk singer displayed.”
An excerpt of the lyrics includes:
There’s a little Hitler inside of you
There’s a little Hitler inside of me
There’s a brutal killer within everyone
The hatred grows inside us naturally
We’re appalled at injustice and oppression,
And every atrocity that makes the nightly news,
But just give it a thought, if you knew you’d never get caught,
You’d be thieving and raping and murdering too
According to the New York Post, Spiegel has previously had politics-related disagreements with university officials unrelated to his academic work. For example, the Post reported that in 2018, Spiegel pseudonymously helped launch an anti-Marxist newsletter with two other professors, and in 2019, was part of an effort to prevent Starbucks from coming to the university campus.
In the faculty email earlier this month, the university officials denied politics played a role in the decision, reported The Echo News.
“Some may see this through a political or ideological ‘left-right/liberal-conservative’ lens,” wrote the officials. “In the world today that is an ever more common way to view a decision-making process. Taylor is not a political enterprise, nor was this an effort to silence disagreements with the University and/or its leadership.”
The Post reported that Spiegel holds “no ill-will towards anyone” over the situation and he and his family “wish only the best for the Taylor community.”
You can watch Spiegel’s YouTube video here.