Wednesday evening I spoke at East Tennessee State University in the most virulently hostile atmosphere I’ve encountered on any campus in the country, courtesy the school’s Muslim students and Muslim leaders from the local community. By tomorrow I hope to have completed my own report, but I just noticed this comment by an ETSU student named Ryan, and thought it worth putting up as a separate post both so that you don’t have only my word on how these things go, but also as a witness to, and a protest against, the atmosphere of thuggery and propaganda, and hostility to reasoned discourse, that increasingly prevails in American universities.
Succinct questions, intellectual honesty, and good manners somehow eluded the audience at East Tennessee State University on Wednesday night. I was appalled at the crass grandstanding of the attendees, who seemed to have had an immutable opinion and came only to heckle. Though perhaps understandably aggrieved by the information, the mob chose to flog the messenger instead of reevaluating the documents Mr. Spencer was referring to.
Any information coming to light that injures one’s understanding of one’s religious faith is going to trigger an emotional reflex in the innermost of one’s sense of existence. The factual accuracy of this new information to the believer is inconsequential in many cases; the only permissible behavior or interpretation is the one a person has been socialized and taught to accept as correct.
Mr. Spencer’s faux pas with this audience occurred precisely at the moment they noticed he was challenging their orthodoxy with their own texts. Instead of asking questions related to the lecture, the degenerates began frothing at the mouth with excitement and elected to respond without even a modicum of tact and assassinate Spencer’s character in the most insidious ways, referring to him as a “liar” while not offering even so much as an iota of textual substantiation. After a few schmucks gave ten to fifteen minute rambles on their personal lives, I began wondering whether those audience members venerated themselves or Allah to a greater degree, or if I should attribute the behavior to some inebriate condition.
The courtesy of letting Mr. Spencer address a certain point was thrown out the window as some inquirers opted for raising their voices, interrupting the speaker, and were apparently trying to goad those who did not agree with them into a shouting match. While the school may be a refuge for the area’s young, immature, and often harmless pinkos, the behavior of this audience was beyond the pale and was some of the worst mob mentality I”ve unfortunately had to experience anywhere.
In all fairness, this isn’t an issue relating to Islam; it is simply amazingly poor manners by an intolerant group of people. I am a student at East Tennessee State University and attended this lecture, and apologize to Mr. Spencer, the readers of JihadWatch, and all present who witnessed the thuggery. There are reasonable people everywhere, but a professional attitude and scholarly detachment are often drowned by de facto censures by the ideological public that is unwilling to delve into an issue beyond a stale talking point.