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The freedom -- and responsibility -- of speech
(Ed. note: Rev. Matthew H. Snider, a Brite Divinity School graduate student, wrote the following letter as personal correspondence to former magazine intern Jason Crane in response to Jason's "Freedom -- and responsibility -- of speech" perspective in the Fall issue. Rev. Snyder agreed to his letter being published.)
I have to confess that I don't spend a lot of time reading my undergraduate alumni magazine nor TCU's. My reading time is precious. And I came to the opinion a long six years ago when I came to Brite Divinity School that The TCU Daily Skiff was just a homework writing assignment for inexperienced, undereducated journalism majors who had no conception of either the responsibility attending to journalism or an awareness of history.
But because I am keenly passionate about Jewish-Christian relations matters and aggressively protective of my Jewish family and friends, I have a heightened sense of vigilance when scanning all my reading material for any hint of anti-Semitism.
I did not respond to the Skiff CODOH controversy because I have such a disdain for the moronic, inchoate, liberal ranting of the Skiff's writers that I caulked up what you all did to youthful ignorance (again) and because enough other people took up the banner (and rightly so) against the Skiff lack of etiquette, common sense and an understanding of the contextualization of free speech.
I could lecture you extensively on the high cost of freedom of speech, but in reading your mea culpa I am heartened that at least you among the Skiff's coterie of journalistic rogues have at last learned a modicum of wisdom. The cry of those who use and distort the first amendment's shield of liberty to brandish their hate-mongering and racist diatribes is drowned out by the din of those who were skewered and martyred on the propagandistic stiletto of Josef Gobbels and his twisted legions. Free speech, like God's free grace, is not without price and demands that the words spoken under its banner be judged against the highest human and spiritual ethic.
Words move people and convey powerful ideas. It is truly a short trip from an insult and a slur to slavery, depersonalization and wholesale murder. The Holocaust bears witness to that.
Apparently you've learned from your mistake and I for one forgive you. Never lose sight of this lesson or your career will be a shipwreck. You've probably written the best piece of your life. Save it. Frame it. And refer to it often. You will have a hiding place in my home when those who think journalists are non-people seek to destroy them.
Rev. Matthew H. Snider
I have read the recent TCU Magazine and noticed a glowing report on a student named Chris Klein and his starring role in the movie American Pie. Now, I'm no holy roller, but I am a Christian and a 1972 graduate of TCU. I have been a supporter of TCU because of its academic reputation and its conservative Christian base. In this light, I was amazed that this report talked of his achievement and nothing about the movie he was in.
This movie is complete trash and degrading to all persons. This is not acting and it is not responsible to write about Chris Klein in such a positive light with no respect to the subject matter. Why are you claiming this kind of success for our students? When he returns to campus, articles like this legitimatize his performance before his peers.
You will note that on top of all the disgusting and perverted scenes in the movie, there is also a scene depicting sex by one of these boys with the mother of one of the other boys.
I have teenage kids and we discuss movies that they wish to view. When we discussed this one and its contents, they realized how demeaning it was to women much less to men and decided not to view it. Your positive spin on this actor and his work will not make my job, and other parents' jobs, any easier.
Robert E. Zimmerman Jr. '73
(Ed. Note: Last year, Bill Perkins '76 wrote the magazine asking to purchase a few bricks left over from the razing of Tom Brown Residence Hall. We told him the bricks were free, but he would have to conjure up a few memories in return, which he did. That trend is growing.)
I would also like to get a few of the bricks from [the demolished] Tom Brown Hall. I attended the reunion of fellow dorm members at Homecoming 1998. The memories associated with life in Tom Brown Hall include:
-- actually living in the dorm made famous by author Dan Jenkins '53, author of Semi Tough, among other novels.
-- having hall mates such as Bill Perkins '76, Scott McCown '76, Rick Walden '77, John Burton '77, Pete Larson '76, Tony Quintanilla '79, Randy Spleth '78, Tom
Pumblee, Randy Samer '81, Bill Kurtz '81, Don Peterson '81.
-- being part of the Tom Brown-Jarvis Living Learning Experiment. (Quick: Name the fourth branch mentioned in the bylaws!).
-- late night food and study runs to Ol' South Pancake House.
I agree with Bill Perkins that the four years at Tom Brown were four of the happiest years of my life. C section was the best section, though B Section was almost as close a group. The friendships made there have lasted.
And finally, I married a Jarvis Girl (though they were proud to be called Jarvis Broads).
Frank Everts III '78
Creation vs. Evolution
How can one integrate universal evolution into an updated Christian doctrine of creation? In reality, you can't. The Bible says that God is the Creator while evolution proposes that all living things are mindless material forces, natural selection and random variation.
Professor Rudy Brun's attempt at reconciliation, reported in the Fall issue, was ludicrous. He winked at Christianity and then stated that universal evolution is a fact. Evolutionists have never been able to prove Darwin's theory despite 140 years of trying. Yet, like
Brun, they want to teach our children and grandchildren that it is a fact. Evolutionists accept Darwin's theory on faith -- not facts.
As Brun points out, the Bible does teach that God is love, but it also teaches that God is the Creator of all things. Brun accepts one but not the other. (It doesn't fit his presupposition of universal evolution.) He made the statement, "If God is love, then creation has to be free to create itself." I believe this is called a non sequitur. He seems to deplore the concept of a supernatural intervention by the Creator. (This is not acceptable in the church of Darwin.) I suggest that Brun read the first two chapters of Genesis. He will find a loving God who created man and woman in His image and placed them in a perfect environment with total freedom. It was mankind who disobeyed God and lost its freedom of fellowship with Him. God also out of love formulated the plan of redemption to allow mankind to regain the freedom it had lost. If godless evolution is all there is, Jesus died for nothing!
I have no disagreements with true science, but the theory of evolution is not true science. I don't know if Carl Sagan was a great scientist or not, but he was a great atheist.
To rephrase Brun's closing statement: I want to move the thinking of TCU students into a position where they can go into a biology class without leaving their brains outside.
Harold C. DeHart '60
Right vs. left
Kudos for Mr. Gilliam's willingness in the Fall issue to at least go against the continuing rising tide of political correctness in this country. Since I did not read the Spring issue that dealt with diversity at TCU, only the Fall issue of letters to the editor, I am basing my comments on the editor's notes and the two rebuttals in the Fall issue.
All Mr. Gilliam was trying to point out was if you base your premise on flawed facts to begin with (i.e., Mr. Kinsey), then the question must be asked, Will you get the real truth or what you want to be the truth? Mr. Kinsey had an agenda, just as any person or group who has a passion in what they believe in also has an agenda. But will one use truth or lies to further their agenda?
The homosexual community has an agenda, and if it can market its beliefs through prime-time television, the education system in America or by any other means, it will and has done it. Don't kid yourself, Mr. Vanderbilt, we are not as naive as you are, and I don't really believe you are that naive, either. The worn-out excuse of "we don't choose to be this way" is a broken record when used by the homosexual community. Admit what and who you are, whether it is right or wrong according to God's, and/or society's laws and be willing to argue intelligently your views. Don't label everyone who disagrees with you as homophobes, old fuddy-duddies,
pharisees, bigots or the other stereo-typical names your community uses against anyone who would dare disagree with you.
Wouldn't it be neat if we could have a discussion on one of these subjects: "The tyranny of the minority and its ability to distort facts and cloud the truth." Or how about, "Diversity is good as long as you agree with my point of view." Or an even better one, "Why is it that the religious right is always the
pharisees? You mean to tell me there are no pharisees in the liberal left?"
Of course I don't expect this to be printed in a magazine that shows its bias attitude toward the left on a consistent basis.
Carl M. Scottow '86
Here writes the bride
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on Emmet Smith, who most certainly was the organist at my wedding in 1964. My husband and I still remain happily married and have great interest in trying to find out the name of a beautiful piece Mr. Smith played with organ and carillon as the mothers walked down the aisle. Unfortunately, our wedding was not recorded, as my parents felt recordings were too new and extravagant. If this piece is something Mr. Smith plays or played often, he might possibly remember the title.
Toby Stall Jordan