Cowardly And Unethical College Administrators…Again

The ethics of this controversy are easy. How could Hamline College administrators screw it up so badly? That’s easy too.

An adjunct professor of art history at Hamline University (in Minnesota, where strange things are always happening), Erika López Prater, knew that Islam forbids depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, so before showing a 14th-century painting of Islam’s founder, she alerted any Muslim students taking her class through her course syllabus that images the Prophet Muhammad would be shown and studied in the course. She directed students with any concerns to contact her. No student did.

Before the class in which paintings of Muhammad were about to be shown, she again alerted students in case anyone felt they needed to leave. No student left. But after Dr. López Prater showed a painting featuring the prophet, a senior in the class complained to the administration. Then Muslim students who were not in the course argued that the class was an attack on their religion. Guess what?

Hamline officials told Dr. López Prater that she was out. Emails to students and faculty pronounced the episode “Islamophobic.” Hamline’s president, Fayneese S. Miller, co-signed an email saying that respect for the Muslim students “should have superseded academic freedom.”

No, it should not have, and the professor did everything possible to consider the sensitivities of the Muslims in the class other than censoring the course content to conform with a minority’s views. The New York Times reports,

Free speech supporters started their own campaign. An Islamic art historian wrote an essay defending Dr. López Prater and started a petition demanding the university’s board investigate the matter. It had more than 2,800 signatures. Free speech groups and publications issued blistering critiques; PEN America called it “one of the most egregious violations of academic freedom in recent memory.”

Well, good. Hamline deserves to be pilloried, as do the students, faculty and administrators who were responsible for the treatment of the professor. It can’t be defended, as the defense offered by Hamline’s president demonstrates:

“To look upon an image of the Prophet Muhammad, for many Muslims, is against their faith. It was important that our Muslim students, as well as all other students, feel safe, supported and respected both in and out of our classrooms.”

Oh, horse hockey! The Muslim students had the option to skip the class if they were unwilling to view the painting. “Safe” doesn’t mean that there is a right never to disagree with any class’s content, or that everyone in a community is obligated to observe your religious beliefs. The students were supported and respected by the fact that the professor gave them every advance warning about the art that was to be presented.

The senior who complained ( the head of the school’s  Muslin student association) to the college’s administration has not adequately explained why she had not raised concerns before the image was shown, as the professor gave her an opportunity to do. In an email statement, though, she said images of Prophet Muhammad should never be displayed, and that Dr. López Prater gave the warnings proved that she knew such images were offensive to many Muslims. “The lecture was so disturbing, she said, that she could no longer see herself in that course.”

Well, fine. Quit the course. She should have done that earlier. What her statement reveals is that this was a power play. Her objective was to single-handedly interfere with the teaching of art history so that her religious beliefs trumped scholarship, knowledge, and the education of non-Islamic students.

The painting shown, known as “Compendium of Chronicles,”  is “a masterpiece of Persian manuscript painting,” according to Christiane Gruber, a professor of Islamic art at the University of Michigan. Dr. Gruber wrote the essay in New Lines Magazine defending Dr. López Prater, and believes that studying Islamic art without teaching the image “would be like not teaching Michaelangelo’s David.”

The fiasco is identical to other cases in higher education where activists have bullied and strong-armed jelly-spined administrators to enhance their power over public discourse and language. Hamline apparently thought the path of least resistance was to capitulate to an unethical protest when the only cost was injustice to  of a mere adjunct professor. Such humanoid weasels cannot be trusted with the education of the young.

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Facts: New York Times

 

 

22 thoughts on “Cowardly And Unethical College Administrators…Again

  1. “To look upon an image of the Prophet Muhammad, for many Muslims, is against their faith.”

    Operative word: “many.” I would bet that this article of belief is just something some Muslims do to manipulate others.

    But, honestly, I do not know if that is true.

    I do not understand this belief.

    From what I understand, the claim is that a depiction of Muhammad (along with other Prophets, according to some) could lead to idolatry.

    In that way, the Muslim prohibition is similar to the Jewish prohibition on graven images..

    Sounds plausible, except that the Jewish prohibition was to prevent them for worshipping the idol. The Jews started worshipping the graven image as a god.

    The concern with images of Muhammad would be that he would be idolized. By prohibiting an image of Muhammad, though, they almost (I think they do) elevate Muhammad to a divine status that actually should be offensive to God.

    So, if I believed this position was authentic, it would seem not to make sense

    -Jut

      • This.

        The reason that Jews and Muslims have food laws and Christians don’t is that the New and Old Testament contradict each other, Christians have decided that the words of Jesus supersedes Leviticus, and Muslims and Jews don’t put stock in the new testament.

        But food laws are a poor example. The faithful pick and choose which parts of their book to put into action on a daily basis… Regardless of the specific religion, all three ostensibly abide the Old Testament.

        You should be stoning your unfaithful neighbors. And me, by the way. But that’s OK, killing people is illegal now. And give unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s, right?

        But I doubt very much that every time a woman has her monthly, the men in her life send her up to a corner of their roof to bask in the sun wearing a sack, and then let her down and burn the sack when she’s done. I also doubt very much that the woman then waits an additional seven days, catches two birds, and brings them to her local church for ritual sacrifice, one to cleanse the sin of her discharge and the other to give thanks for… something, before returning to her “normal” life the other two weeks. But there it all is… Leviticus 15:19-30. Do you? I’m sure the student in this story doesn’t.

        No one adheres to everything. So much of what was biblically required but inconvenient has fallen by the wayside over the generations, I mean… Really, when was the last time you sacrificed some livestock to the Lord your God, as is required in hundreds of different situations? Do you wear clothing that’s more than one color (Leviticus 19:19)? Ever had a buzzcut (Leviticus 19:27)? Ever shaved your beard (Same)? Bought a house (Leviticus 25:23)? Sat while talking to your grandparents (Leviticus 19:32)?

        How does someone reconcile that? Everyone has picked and chosen what parts of their religion to adhere to, making everything that they do adhere to a choice. What does it say about a person that chooses, as an example, to call for someone’s resignation for displaying a picture of the prophet Mohammad, while simultaneously choosing to fall short of hundreds of small, easy to accomplish if personally inconvenient things the book requires on a daily basis and not think twice about them? Remove that plank from thine eye.

        • The Old and New Testament do not contradict each other in regard to dietary laws. The New Testament expressly superseded the Old Testament dietary laws. Saint Peter had a dream documented in the Acts of the Apostles, where a great smorgasbord of meats of all the animal above, on, and under the earth appear, to which an angel pointed and told Peter to eat freely of. Following this dream, Peter lifted the Kosher obligations imposed by Moses, as Christian baptism made Jewish ritual cleanliness moot.

          • It does.

            Leviticus 11 expressly says that the food laws were told to Moses and Aaron by The Lord.

            “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you….'”

            And so on and so forth for 47 verses.

            Then in the Book of Mark 7:18-19, Jesus says “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”

            Then there’s The Acts, 1Timothy 4 and a few other references… But NT scripture doesn’t deal with the OT food laws. It doesn’t say that God changed his mind or that the prior interpretation was wrong, in fact, in the first time food and sin are mentioned in the NT, Jesus says that pork doesn’t give you sin because you poop. Just saying: I would bet my last drachma that Moses pooped. In fact, the book does not address the complete 180 on food, the church moved past the contradiction by saying, for reasons that I’m sure are perfectly acceptable to you… I really don’t care, that one instance of God’s words superseded the other. That doesn’t mean that the contradiction doesn’t exist, it means you found a way to live with it.

            All of which drastically misses my point, which is that while I might be wrong on some of these, the likelihood is that you shave, get haircuts, wear synthetic fabrics, bought your house, don’t follow your female relations around while they’re on their rag and throw away anything they touch, and I’d be willing to bet money that you’re far behind on your goat sacrifice quota. Faith in 2023 isn’t a pure adherence to the book, it hasn’t been for centuries, if it ever even was.

            Every part of the book that you choose to incorporate into your life is a choice made against the backdrop of all the other things you chose not to incorporate. And it says things about you.

            • It does not.

              Read and interperet for intent.
              The entirety of the Old and New testaments were not written as a mathematics manual would be written.

              Do you not know that the Law etc. was given to expose sin and agrogant ignorance of the heart of the Law… Love God with all your heart and like that, and likewise love your neighbor as your self.

              While we could chew the cud over translation, “it is unclean for you” does not read “it is unclean”.
              It implies for you to regard it as such, which is completely inline with Jesus correction.

              Thanks for playing.

              • This breezes completely past my point, which is that you don’t really care what’s in the book anyway. I’m saying this bluntly, I understand that you probably adhere to some percentage if the things in the book, and this will surely raise some hackles but the reality is that you don’t adhere to all of it.

                Let’s say I’m completely wrong, I don’t believe that I am, but let’s say, rhetorically, that I’m 100% in the wrong and the food laws weren’t a contradiction. That Leviticus 11 was more an advisement that eating certain things was unsanitary, and not truly a command. Do you really care if the food laws were a divine advisement on sanitation or a direct commandment? It’s not exactly the last thing you need to bang out before you’re in compliance.

                • Oh but I do care, and your flatulence of the word “contradiction” breezes past my point that it is not in contradiction. Rather, you appear to me to be unreasonably stiff with your requirements for communication. God knows that interpretation is difficult, don’t you know… Even they did not understand, thus Jesus’ rhetorical question. He was proving a point of their hypocritical guilt, not proving a contradiction for 2023

                  • No no, I’ve already ceded (for the purposes of this discussion) that point because, again, it’s irrelevant.

                    What I’m saying is that it’s ridiculous to get so hung up on whether or not any specific behavior is in compliance with scripture because you have no intention of following through with all of it anyway.

                    Have you ever shaved? After shaving, did you ask forgiveness? Did you even feel just a little bit bad about it? Have you ever gotten your hair cut? Wore polyester? Bought a house? Sacrificed a goat? And even then, if the answer is yes to all of the above… Have you read the entirety of the Bible and are you sure you’re following through on everything?

                    Because cops and God have one thing in common: Ignorance is no excuse. The reason missionary work is so important to the Church is that the Church views the souls lost to damnation because people have never had the opportunity to hear the words of Christ is a tragedy. If God is willing to damn people who never even heard his name for eternity, what’s your excuse?

    • Yeah, it’s weird.

      This practice was discussed in my high school world history class. Plenty depictions of the Muslim prophet were shown, but the vast majority of them had a nimbus fog coveting his head.

      So yout can look upon him… Just not his face.

      Makes just as much sense as any other superstitious practice. Even today, Jews commonly write G-d, and Yahwey is a best guess of what was the pronounced name of God since it was also always written in their tradition without vowels.

  2. It seems to me that the people who are so sensitive to other faiths that they get all worked up at showing images of Mohammed never seem to have an issue with schools teaching evolution and the Earth as billions of years old.

    Weird.

  3. “Operative word: “many.” I would bet that this article of belief is just something some Muslims do to manipulate others.
    But, honestly, I do not know if that is true.”

    It is 100% true (I’m of Arab descent so I know), but that is irrelevant and should not matter. Education here in the West is (supposedly) predicated on free expression and exchange of ideas. Our society is, if not Christian, then at least secular and should not bow to any particular religion. Those complaining are doing it not out of true grievance, but as an exercise of recently established or emboldened power of victimhood; those accommodating or enabling such practices are either cowards or DEI “academics” and administrators that live for this kind of crap.
    As a final note, our higher education institutions, and society at large, will keep rotting as long as we continue to tolerate and accommodate this idiotic and vile notion of “not feeling safe” crap.

    • “As a final note, our higher education institutions, and society at large, will keep rotting as long as we continue to tolerate and accommodate this idiotic and vile notion of ‘not feeling safe’ crap.”

      NO KIDDING!!!
      The penalty cost for capitulating to fascist woke tactics must be considerably more severe than the fear of woke mob wrath, which usually amounts to name calling.
      Lawsuits, social media backlash, and physical protests/demonstrations, will begin to turn the tide.
      It is inconvenient to continually take the time and energy to actively resist the bad behavior of woke children (whoaresimplypawnsfortheirmasters), but the alternative is much worse.

      When you see something, say something, do something.

  4. FIRE has lodged a complaint with the University’s accrediting agency.

    In any case what are such easily offended Muslims doing at a place named Hamline?

  5. This is a 14th cent, piece of Persian art. I assume it’s artist was in fact a Muslim, will the complainant retroactively and posthumously issue a fatah against the artist!

  6. Of particular note: the campus-wide email declaring an unspecified incident (apparently this) was signed by someone with the title of Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence. Simple rule: if your university has this position, RUN, do not walk, away from this institution. (Wordplay on the final word purely intentional.)
    I’m running behind on meeting a publication deadline, but I hope to have a more comprehensive commentary up on my blog within a few days.

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