Modern academia goes out of its way to shield Muslims from any offense. At the same time, it actively praises acts that offend Christians.
The relatively conservative National Association of Scholars reported on the plight of Dr. Erika López Prater. Until December 2022, she was an adjunct professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Hamline University’s “Global Studies”
Hamline’s website touts the praise that it has received from national media. U.S. News and World Report calls it “Minnesota’s best regional university.” Washington Monthly identifies Hamline as “The best Master’s university in Minnesota.” The site also quotes a 2022 graduate who said, “Doing summer research at Hamline helped me gain skills that are invaluable in a lab or in a field—how to be adaptable, flexible, how to problem solve and think critically.”
However, on the topic of Islam, Hamline is neither adaptable nor flexible. It is intransigent.
Dr. López Prater’s experience confirms this unfortunate conclusion. One of her assignments at Hamline was to teach an online course about global art history. One premise behind any humanities course labeled “global” is that students should study all cultures equally thus including Muslim cultures.
The Islamic Minefield
However, Muslim culture is an academic minefield, as Dr. López Prater discovered to her chagrin.
In the course syllabus, she specifically warned that she would present and discuss pictures of religious figures, including that of the founder of Islam, Mohammad. One of Islam’s superstitions is that any image of Muhammad is a form of idolatry. Even so, no students objected. When she later displayed the painting featuring Mohammad, she warned the students several minutes before she showed it. Again, no one objected.
However, after showing the picture to her students, one did complain. The student did not complain to the teacher but rather to the administration. Other Muslim students who were not in the class joined the complaint.
The National Association of Scholars described the administration’s response. “Dr. López Prater did everything she could to foster a respectful discussion on an important piece of art—and yet it still only took a single student complaint for her to lose her job.” They then added a touch of deliberate irony. “In a world where ‘inclusive excellence’ is valued above academic excellence, we should expect nothing else.”
This situation brought two stories with very different outcomes to mind.
In 2021, the “Catholic” Seton Hall University’s radio station WSOU broadcast several Satanic-oriented pieces of so-called music that offended many Catholics who have protested and complained. Describing the protest against the station, TFP Student Action member Domenick Galatolo listed and documented the offenses.
- “Blacken the Cursed Sun” from the album titled “Sacrament” by the band blasphemously named “Lamb of God.” The cover of the album features a sacrilegious mockery of the Holy Eucharist.
- “No Light Shall Save Us” by the band Carnifex. Its lyrics are clearly Satanic: “Blessed are the damned…This hell is home….” The lyrics continue: “We stole the stars from the sky. From the hand of God to death divine. We stole the light from their eyes. Condemning the world to eternal night.”
- “Make America Hate Again” by the band Thy Art is Murder. The lyrics read: “I want blood, I want chaos…More chaos, more chaos, more chaos….”
- “Necromania” by the group Electric Wizard. The title is bad enough, but the macabre piece describes a Satanic ritual murder.
However, the University did not publicly punish the students responsible for the broadcast. Perhaps a faculty advisor told students to refrain, but if that happened, no one ever announced it. Certainly, no one was fired or expelled. The outrages continue.
Another Professor at Another Minnesota University
However, another saga directly applies to Dr. López Prater’s situation. Not only did it concern another Minnesota professor, but it presented a religious sacrilege. However, unlike Dr. López Prater’s caution and concern for those who might be offended, this one was overtly sacrilegious, public and designed to create a reaction.
On July 24, 2007, Dr. Paul Z. Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota, committed a horrible blasphemy. He deliberately desecrated a consecrated Host. He described the sacrilege. “I pierced it [the Host] with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’ tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash.” At the time, TFP Student Action director John Ritchie noted, “No disciplinary measures appear to have been taken by University of Minnesota officials in response to the public sacrilege committed by Prof. Myers.” Not only was no action taken, but he is still on faculty at the University of Minnesota.
These are but two examples that come to mind. Many more could be cited. However, the sampling raises the question of why academia punishes when Islam is concerned and allows much greater offenses against Christianity to go unnoticed. There are at least two reasons.
The “Woke” Attack and a Frail Defense
First, the “woke” world believes Christianity, especially the Catholic Church, represents oppression. Its fulfillment of Our Lord’s command, “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (see Matthew 28:19), imposes the Faith upon pagan peoples. Christianity’s moral codes, they argue, crush the human spirit while anarchy and dissolution “liberate” it.
The second reason is that many Christians will not publicly defend the faith. Indeed, some Church officials are all too often willing to join the attack against true religion. Readers may remember the scandalous “gala” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. TFP writer John Horvat described the occasion, “The posh Gala gathering featured a fashion show in which famous women stars dressed in provocative and revealing versions of sacred vestments and symbols—including that of bishops and the pope.” The event was shocking enough. However, the real scandal was that the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Timothy Dolan was there to join and approve of the affair.
Saint John Bosco described Islam as “a collection of maxims drawn from various religions, which, if practiced, brings about the destruction of every moral principle.” Indeed Christians should defend the True Faith more vigorously than those of the Islamic sect.