Search Subscribe to Waco Trib XML RSS Feed E-Newsletter WacoTrib on your PDA
Register Now.  It's Free!  |  Log In
Wacotrib Cars
Real Estate
Click here to find out more!
Editorials | Letters to the Editor | Archives

Click here to find out more!
Edtorial: Free to speak, free to read

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Baylor University introduced a new observance this week that has been going on for a quarter-century elsewhere.

Baylor librarians are participating in Banned Books Week by scheduling readings from select books that have been purged from library shelves due to public or governmental pressure.

These include such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and Lord of the Rings. Of current note is Alms for Jihad: Charity & Terrorism in the Islamic World. A lawsuit caused Cambridge Press to recall all copies of Alms in bookstores and ask that libraries remove it. To its credit, Baylor’s library system refused. It is one of the books from which excerpts will be read aloud this week.

The word “banned” may overstate matters in many cases. Institutions public or private exercise discretion about what they avail the public. It’s not necessarily censorship to say “no thanks” to something or for the public to complain about material. Often it comes down to the question of literary or scientific value versus something that has only prurient or exploitative value.

Right now Baylor has a controversy over a professor’s Web site about intelligent design. The university pulled it down over concerns that it conveyed Baylor’s endorsement of the concept. The professor says that a mutually acceptable disclaimer was composed to address the concerns, but Baylor still won’t allow the site.

An issue of academic freedom or one of an institution taking care not to be misrepresented to the public?

Especially in an academic setting it seems anyone should be able to research any scholarly subject and express himself or herself about it using any means available. Then again, the university has a proprietary stake in how its name is used.

Regardless, this seems like a navigable dispute.

Separate entirely are occasional acts by government as an extension of us.

Throughout American history, even with a heritage of free inquiry, officials have buckled under efforts to make inquiry less free.

With the Internet explosion, new challenges ensue.

In the 1990s, Congress attempted to put controls on the Internet under the guise of fighting pornography. The Supreme Court overturned the Communications Decency Act.

Unlike so many other nations, ours is one that daily faces the challenges of free speech, free inquiry and freedom of conscience.

Crushing unpopular opinions and censoring information might be the impulse of a tyrannical majority. But the right of the individual to think, read and speak freely is the bedrock of this society. After all, it was formed so many years ago by people who fled oppression.

Read on.


By William J. Murray

Oct 3, 2007 6:05 AM | Link to this

What a convenient PR campaign. How unsurprising that the Trib is willing to be complicit in the cover-up of the censorship of Marks by this Orwellian "free speech" piece.

By the way, Marks site was a scientific investigation into the limits of random mutation and natural selection - an attempt to support or mathematically falsify one aspect of current evolutionary theory. I guess Baylor doesn't want to be misrepresented as a university that promotes scientific inquiry and invesigation - at least not when it might be critical of materialist dogma that the National Academy of Science embraces.

Commenting is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F, except on Tuesday when it's open until 9 p.m.

Post a comment

Remember me?

You may use the following formatting:
Bold: **this text will be bolded** = this text will be bolded
Italic: *this text will be italic* = this text will be italic
Link: [text to be linked]( = text to be linked

There will be a delay of up to 5 minutes before your comment appears.

*HTML not allowed in comments. Your e-mail address is required.


Sponsored Links

Waco Tribune-Herald Top Jobs
MANAGEMENT COUPLES Couples, Want a Great Opportunity to Work Together? Liv....(more)
COUNTRY/Hill Billy Rock band looking for lead & bass guitar players. 25....(more)
SALES Waco /Temple Sales Position Come Grow With Us. MailMax Waco / Templ....(more)
ACCOUNTING GENERAL ACCOUNTANT Immediate opening for a General Accountant....(more)
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION ASSISTANT The Waco Tribune-Herald is looking for a ....(more)
LABORER - Parsons Roofing hiring warehouse laborer. Apply in person 605 E. ....(more)
MORTGAGE SPECIALIST I, Full time opportunity Within accordance with sound ....(more)
EVENINGS / DAYS Ad Resources needs self motivated people for telephone fun....(more)
NURSE NEEDED - LVN or RN. Call 749-0010 or fax: 254-752-9436 Dr. Doug....(more)
-View All Top Jobs-
-Place an Ad-
Waco Tribune-Herald Top Cars
Chevrolet IMPALA 2004. 3.4, 6 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, SILVER, Power......(more)
Lincoln LS 2001. 3.9, 8 Cyl., Tiptronic, Fuel Injected, Black Clearcoat, Po......(more)
Jeep Wrangler Sahara 1999. 4.0, 6 Cyl., Automatic With Overdrive, Multi-Pt ......(more)
Chevrolet Express G2500 2007. 4.8, 8 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, White,......(more)
Ford F-150 xlt 2006. 4.6, 8 Cyl., Automatic With Overdrive, Fuel Injected, ......(more)
Chevrolet 1500 SILVERADO 2005. 5.3, 8 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, BLACK......(more)
GMC Sierra 2500HD 2007. 6.6, 8 Cyl., Automatic With Overdrive, Duramax Dies......(more)
Chevrolet Tracker 2004. 2.5, 6 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, Black, Power......(more)
2006 RAM 2500 TRUCK TRUCK, 5.9L I6, $32000...(more)
Cadillac SEVILLE STS 1994. 4.6, V-8, Automatic, Fuel Injected, MAROON, Powe......(more)
-View All Top Cars-
-Place an Ad-

Copyright 2007 Waco Tribune-Herald. All rights reserved. - The Waco Tribune-Herald - Our Partners

By using this service, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement and privacy policy.
Registered site users, you may edit your profile.
Having trouble? Visit our help & FAQ.