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April 13, 2023

Judge Heckled and Insulted For Unpopular Views


By Anne Kerhoulas

On March 9, 2023, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan was invited to speak at Standford Law School. Duncan, a conservative judge who has opposed the right to same-sex marriage, ruled to restrict abortion, and held other views deemed unacceptable by Stanford students, was the recipient of heckling, threats, and insults during his talk. When Duncan asked for the moderator to intervene, the Stanford administrator took the side of the students, stating that his work had caused many of them harm. 


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Unfortunately, the events at Stanford are simply the latest incident that reveals a growing problem in both the university setting and the culture at large: free speech is under attack.  Beliefs that go against the majority are belittled, categorized as harmful, and eliminated. 


In this article for FIRE, Talia Barnes and Jessica Wills unpack the current situation at Stanford and explore how the incident is far more common than many would expect. Though many opinions have been logged in the past few weeks, the response of Stanford’s President, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, and Stanford Law School’s dean, Jenny Martinez, have garnered both anger and applause as they apologized to Duncan and put the moderator of Duncan’s talk on leave. Even more importantly, Martinez penned a ten-page response paper criticizing the student's behavior, reaffirming Stanford’s commitment to free speech and expression, and advocating for diversity initiatives. 


“Expression of the widest range of viewpoints should be encouraged, free from institutional orthodoxy and from internal or external coercion,” Martinez said in her statement. She went on to argue that inclusion initiatives that exclude certain viewpoints are not inclusive at all, and rather we must learn to disagree with respect and have open discourse.


As a leadership development ministry, Christian Union has trained Christian leaders at top universities like Stanford to think critically and pursue truth for the past 20 years. Fighting against censorship in today’s culture is a challenging, but worthy, endeavor that students must tackle in order to provide a faithful witness to God’s increasingly unpopular and offensive Word.


Read the full article here