East Carolina University (ECU) has launched a new campaign that attempts to
pressure employees to affirm homosexuality despite their religious and moral
objections to the lifestyle. Couched in the language of safety and inclusion,
the program promises to brand as intolerant those who refuse to accept the
university's official position on matters of private sexual morality. This is
especially problematic, given that ECU is a public university.
The campaign was launched with a profoundly unwise email, sent by university
employee Summer Wisdom under the subject line "Gay? Fine by me." She begins:
"This spring the LGBT Resource Office (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender)
is hosting a program called 'Gay? Fine By Me' and we would love for you and your
department to share in this opportunity. The LGBTRO will be ordering shirts that
say 'gay? fine by me' and distributing them to faculty, staff and students to
promote an atmosphere of support on campus. This simple message helps to combat
homophobia by publically (sic) affirming our LGBT community and creating an
inclusive environment where all students can feel safe to express who they are.
The shirts will be distributed free of charge, though the LGBTRO welcomes
donations to the project."
Note that Wisdom, while not demonstrating wisdom, does demonstrate honesty in
two ways. First, she admits that affirmation, rather than tolerance, is the goal
of her movement. Second, she characterizes refusal to affirm homosexuality as
evidence of a "phobia," which needs to be combatted. Her position is simple: Pro
gay is fine by me. Anything else is not fine by me. She continues her assault on
"Everyone will be encouraged to wear the shirts on campus and to participate in
a campus wide ally project where we will create a Human Rainbow during the
annual Barefoot on the Mall celebration. Photos of this massive showing of LGBT
support will be publicized on the LGBTRO’s website and social media accounts."
Wow. Everyone will be encouraged to wear a t shirt saying "Gay? Fine by me."
Why? Because they know there is opposition on the campus and they need to combat
it. In other words, they are going to promote inclusion on campus by
"encouraging" people to promote a message with which they disagree. Then they
will take a picture to preserve a record of those who conformed. These are the
same people who oppose prayer in schools because they think kids will be
stigmatized for refusing to bow their heads. She continues:
"The LGBTRO would also like to create an internal marketing campaign by taking
pictures of ECU faculty, staff, administrators, student leaders and student
groups wearing the shirts. This is where you come in. If you, your department or
office, or the student group you advise would like to participate, you can
reserve the correct number of shirts on the org sync order form below. Shirts
will be distributed March 18th - 20th on Wright Plaza, at the LGBTRO ... times
and location for the photo shoot will be e–mailed to everyone who reserves
shirts or picks one up at Wright Plaza."
In other words, just in case the photo at the Human Rainbow event fails to
identify all dissenters, Ms. Wisdom will arrange for departmental photo shoots.
So, for example, if there are ten professors in a department and only nine in a
picture, we all know who needs an extra nudge in keeping up with "diversity" and
"progress." One could say of the photos that if you're not included, then you're
not inclusive. She continues:
"The picture will be yours for your own marketing materials but will also be
part of a campus wide poster campaign of Pirate Allies. We are also willing to
bring a photographer to you if you are part of a large group or department and
would like the photo to take place in your own building or during a pre-arranged
meeting instead of walking everyone over to our photo shoot. Please communicate
with my (sic) directly if you would like to set up something like this. This is
a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something great while showcasing support
for positive change on ECU’s campus."
Why not offer to put rainbow stickers on the doors - and rainbow buttons on the
lapels - of all staff and faculty members who support the cause? That way, when
their "Gay? Fine by me" t shirts are dirty, they can have something to transfer
from garment to garment. For those who disagree, just give them yellow stars (or
come over and sew them on their outer garments). She continues:
"If you or your department would like to participate, the link below will take
you to an order form on OrgSync where you are provided multiple options: 1.
Reserve the correct number of shirts and sizes for your group, 2. Reserve your
shirts AND make a donation to the project, 3. Make a donation to the project
without ordering shirts. (Donations to the project of $500.00 or more will add
your office or department’s logo to the event publicity flyers as a sponsor)."
Well, that was a real shocker, wasn't it? After all that preaching, she had to
ask the congregation for money. Finally, Wisdom signs off:
"Summer Wisdom, LGBT Resource Office, Sociology Instructor."
So Ms. Wisdom teaches sociology. Another shocker! No wonder she is so fixated on
ideological conformity. The question is whether ECU department heads will use
these photo ops as an opportunity to pressure people of faith into promoting
beliefs that conflict with their deeply held religious convictions.
The answer is in my next column.
Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina
Wilmington and author of
Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting
Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand, due out in