I usually stay as far away from campus as I can during the summer months, but I stepped foot onto what I expected to be a barren collection of sleepy buildings with overachievers clamoring to each other about differential calculus or the correct interpretation of Smith’s “invisible hand” while summer student workers gently gossip about interest rates doubling on their loans--not because they’re viscerally concerned, but complaining about the economy helps to break up the monotony of going through the motions as you await whatever special you found on Omahanightlife.com. But that’s not at all what I saw. While I admit there were a few tumbleweeds rolling across my path and I’m relatively certain I saw Sam Elliot with a mug of sarsaparilla in the cafeteria, what I saw was a collection of eager minds being led around campus. Maybe not necessarily eager for the perceptively rigorous (although in reality meager) schedule of a first-year student, but alive with a kind of momentum and lacking the general fatigue I see in myself and my peers. An impressionable, but invulnerable force is the open-mind of a student. After this I experienced elation with education that had escaped me for much of my collegiate tenure. A hope for the future, reason and learning, the powers that have overcome every exploitative regime in the short written history of our immense universe seemed endless and abundant.
That endorphin-laden idealistic Parthenon built in my neurochemistry was soon reduced to being used to serve Greek yoghurt with a note that says “please return container.” This campus, this place, this solace for reason, cogent argument, sound discussion, and tolerance would soon host the dogmatic regression and institutionalized hatred of Senior Pastor of Dominion Covenant Church, Philip Kayser.
It seems that every presidential candidate in recent years has had a controversial preacher haunting their trail. Not necessarily because he or she blurred the line between Church and State, but rather the line between moderate and fundamental extremist. Palin had a Kenyan witch hunter, Obama had Reverend Wright, Rick Perry had Robert Jeffries and Rick Santorum had, well, himself. Fundamentalism is only perpetuated under the publicly disapproving, yet privately validating hand of the moderate. There is no distinction in principle, only in practice. While Ron Paul supporters were posting in the YouTube comments section, the what should have been a momentous event for the Christian far-right as a Reverend who ironically both supports “Promoting and enjoying the dominion of King Jesus over every area of life” and restructuring society on principles that will not be satisfied “until our views on education, politics, arts, business, family, evangelism, journalism and every other area of life are claimed for Jesus and founded on the Bible” and a libertarian candidate went largely unnoticed. This, of course, because soon after touting the endorsement of radical Reverend Kayser, notation of the endorsement was removed from Paul’s website. The final straw was not in this biblical jihadist mindset, but rather Kayser’s publicly candid stance on homosexuality which surpasses even that of “gays cause natural disasters” Pam Olsen or “gays cause horrible acting” Kirk Cameron. Even “gays are barbarians that need to be educated” from Marcus Bachmann (who really just meant gays are gladiators in the sack) is a hand-woven basket of kittens floating down a slow stream and landing on the bank of Elysium compared to the stance of Philip Kayser.
In a quote: “Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just. But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.”
Ladies and gentleman, you heard that right. Hide yo’ kids, Hide yo’ wife, cause Kayser’s snatchin’ yo’ people up. I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at this sort of activity going on within the confines of some Harold Camping cult meeting, but every Sunday, our silence and indifferent consent allows his sort of hatred to be spewed at the William H. Thompson Alumni Center near the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus.
Let’s avoid the discussion on the separation of Church and State. Let’s avoid the discussion on whether you’re audacious enough to believe your anterior insula knows more about biology than hundreds of years of science culminating in the conclusion of homosexuality being the farthest thing from a “choice” (unless you’re in a frat, but it’s straight if you don’t make eye contact). Let’s even avoid wasting our time bickering about whether two people of the same sex partaking in an act over a billion years old and ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom is threatening an institution that already has a 50% failure rate. Instead let’s put aside our differences on this one issue of sadistic mania infiltrating our public institutions and indoctrinating children into a culture of hate under the guise of God or Allah or Carl Sagan’s love.
Think for a moment. You hear there is a Muslim resistance movement holding weekly meetings on campus. In the meeting, they advocate the killing of “infidels” to finally establish a supreme Muslim world. The difference between this scenario and what’s going on at the Alumni Center is… nothing. There is no difference, but you’d better believe if that were the case Tom Short and the local Tea Partyers would ride their Medicare scooters filled up with gas from their social security collection to wave their tiny little flags that say “We Support The Troops” like not sending them to get murdered in combat never could. It would never be allowed.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” This detracts from that quote only in that this isn’t laissez-faire homophobia like in the Michigan bullying laws, this is the direct advocacy of executing a group of people in the imposition of religious agenda. Anyone who lives in Nebraska knows that Omaha is different than the rest of the state. I wouldn’t dare say “better,” but definitely more progressive. Although both Lincoln and Omaha passed anti-discrimination measures, Governor Heineman wants to put the protection of gays up for popular vote. In other words, have a majority vote on the fate of a minority. What would have happened if women’s suffrage or interracial marriage waited on popular vote?
So let’s be that radiant house on a hill. Let’s stop the maintenance of hatred under the pretense of religious freedom and come together with a message of hope, love, and understanding—aren’t those humanist causes that we can agree on despite differences in religious ideology?
So e-mail Chancellor John Christensen.
Office Telephone: 402.554.2311
E-mail CEO of the Alumni Association Lee Denker.
End this hate.