Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rootless at the University of St Thomas

So the Catholic University of St Thomas has now reversed its decision to not allow Desmond Tutu to speak at the school. The decision shows what a complete rootless moral idiot the Rev. Dennis Dease, the guy who runs the school is, along with his puppet spokesman Doug Hennes. It seems Dease never says anything outright, only through Hennes, like some kind of ventriloquist.

I say "rootless" because Dease doesn't have a clue about real morality and is a terrible decision maker. You might remember that St Thomas in the past has allowed right wing bigots to speak with almost no problem - Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin (who defends the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II) are two of the biggest offenders. When they were warned before Coulter spoke they shrugged it off, only to have have to eat crow afterwards. Then when Tutu was invited to speak, they apparently - in contrast to when right wing bigots speak there - were inclined to ask people in the community about him, never mind that Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an internationally adored figure. How could anyone even think of dis-inviting Tutu?

So who did Dease speak to? He's not saying, but a good guess is that he knows some right wing Jews whose views mirror his own authoritarian view of life, who apparently told him the Nobel Peace Prize winner was some kind of anti-Semite. Of course Dease believed these as-yet unnamed Jews, so he dis-invited Tutu.

Many people (not me) expect high religious officials to have good judgment and exercise it wisely. It's clear, however, that the right wingers who run St Thomas are not only moral idiots, but have tin ears as well. They didn't, wouldn't, or couldn't recognize clear bigotry in Coulter and Malkin, even when warned. However, when a true giant of international morality presented himself they by then knew they couldn't trust their own judgment, so went to a natural constituency - right wing religionists of another sect- for advice. Of course those right wing Jews to whom Dease outsourced the Tutu decision - whoever they were (I wish they would come forward) - hate Tutu because he has the temerity to criticize the war criminals in Israel.

And the moral cowards at St Thomas, afraid of angering their right wing base, naturally caved. Now with pressure from every corner (excepting, of course, Doug Tice, the movement conservative acolyte in charge of political coverage at the Trib), and no true moral compass of their own except their drive for worldly power, Dease and his cohorts have caved yet again.

Now Dease, in a statement, says he hopes to foster an atmosphere of reasoned debate around contentious issues. That would be nice, but St Thomas has clearly demonstrated they are in no position to moderate such a discussion.

UPDATE: See Trashtalking Ché and necklacing Bishop Tutu (all in a day's work for the local right) from Mark Gisleson. And Spot tells us about Doug Tice and the Hitler brand. Abdi Aynte of Minnesota Monitor reports that it was "Jewish Community Relations Council" that originally "voiced concerns" about Tutu. Behind the Lines has the Dease letter.

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