What do the Bible and the "The Vagina Monologues" have in common? Not much. But surely we can all agree that both are covered by the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
Well, that's not so at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At UWEC you can live in a dorm and watch a performance of "The Vagina Monologues," but you can't join a Bible studies group. Any resident assistant, or RA, as the live-in student counselors are called, can put on a performance of the play, and one has, but leading a Bible studies class in his or her own room and on his or her own time, is forbidden. Many students want such a class, but they're out of luck.
The director of university housing says the ban is necessary to enable the RAs to "share" the perspectives of the students, to make RAs "approachable." Vagina perspective trumps the perspectives of Moses and Matthew in behalf of "approachability." That certainly sounds postmodern enough.
Where have we found such empty-headed university administrators? This destructive silliness goes to the root of politically correct attitudes: Feminist ideology, good; the Bible, bad. Dismissing the begats so easily begets intolerance and ignorance. Reaching for moral equivalence, the housing director reassures critics that the Koran and the Torah are banned, too. The university is now considering an extension of the bans to forbid political and ideological discussions.
Such flouting of the traditions of free speech -- and good sense -- is typical of the disease of political correctness that in various forms infects many campuses, denying students a fundamental understanding of the meaning of free speech. "The First Amendment doesn't end with Bible study or with 'The Vagina Monologues' -- it guarantees a student's right to perform both," says David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a six-year-old watchdog organization and clearinghouse for the bad news of campus offenses against free speech.