Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Freedom: use it or lose it

Forty years ago yesterday, Buzz Aldrin became the first man to serve holy communion on the moon. I wasn't aware of this until I read David Water's column this morning:

Aldrin's brief and private Christian service never caused a flap, but it could have. Aldrin has said that he planned to broadcast the service, but NASA at the last minute asked him not to because of concerns about a lawsuit filed (later dismissed) by atheist Madelyn Murray O'Hare after Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas.

Don't think that there are worse things than censoring national heroes while they are actually in the process of risking their lives for humanity? Think again! Australian historian Roel Van Leeuwen had his thesis, Dreamers of the Dark: Kerry Bolton and the Order of the Left Hand Path, a Case-study of a Satanic New-Nazi Society removed from the University of Waikato's library for 8 months because, and I'm not making this up, there was concern that he was not being fair to the Nazis. After suppressing the thesis for the better part of a year, Waikato's Chancellor, and again I point out that I'm not making this up, told reporters that his insitution "was a place of academic rigour which did not shy away from tackling controversial research."

Ugh. Thank goodness we still have freedom to speak and write in the United States, huh?


Anonymous said...

Actually, it has nothing to do with freedom of speech but academic rigour. The fact is the author, Roel van Leeuwen, has fabricated throughout the thesis. Do a bit of research, or better yet check a few of the references (if you can!) in the thesis. Follow the Waikato Times for updates.

Jeff Hall said...

I read his thesis before posting about it. I did not find any substantive claim about Mr. Bolton or his co-conspirators that would not be easily disproved if untrue.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it is shameful that a university would let you and your fellow slugs hide in the dark for 8 extra months.

Joe said...

I don't even understand why people are attempting to block religious speech like in these two cases (Aldrin, prison letters). How are either of these government endorsements of a religion? Your stance makes sense in this case.