Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sometimes the best compliments...

come from the enemies you keep. For example, Howard Dean has been collecting hit pieces from around the country. There's too many to mention, but let's lift up a few. There's this snide commentary on Howard Dean's election as Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and this typically sneering commentary from Albert Mohler. Seems that since Dean isn't manning the barricades for Operation Rescue, his statements that abortions are regrettable, yet legally necessary, can't be taken at face value.

(UPDATE: Forgot this link to a Forward article about the RNC trying to connect Dean to terrorists.)

Then there's this from Gary Bauer:
No progress yet in getting Professor Ward Churchill out of the classroom at the University of Colorado. You remember him – the America-hating fanatic who said the September 11th murderers of 3,000 of our fellow citizens made “gallant sacrifices” on that fateful day when they attacked us. In the same essay, written in 2002, Churchill described U.S. Air Force pilots as cowards and the Americans who died in the World Trade Center as “little Eichmanns” referring to Hitler’s henchman. As of this moment, he still draws his $90,000+ annual salary from the taxpayers of Colorado.

Conservative columnist Joel Mowbray just did some nifty investigative journalism on how far this hate America sickness has spread. He discovered that Churchill’s essay, which was adapted into a book, was actually given a human rights award from the Gustavus Myers Center in Boston. The Gustavus Myers Center is not on the fringe: on its website it lists “sponsors” including the United Church of Christ! And it receives money from the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros, of course, spent millions trying to defeat George Bush in the last election.

Someone should ask the Church of Christ, George Soros and the Ford Foundation why they are associated with a group that honors Ward Churchill – a man who celebrates the death of his fellow citizens.

The ultra-conservative Church of Christ will no doubt be interested to know that they've been lumped in with George Soros and Ward Churchill.

Bauer is passing on information from this report from FrontPage magazine, which tells us:
Churchill adapted his essay into a book, “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” which earned honorable mention for a human rights award from the Gustavus Myers Center in Boston—the third time the group had so honored the embattled professor.

Careful examination, however, reveals that the Myers Center is anything but fringe. Listed on its website as “sponsors” (a term that is not defined) are mainstream liberal organizations such as the NAACP, the Urban League, the Center for Democratic Renewal, and the United Church of Christ.

And the foundations that fund the Myers Center’s sponsors are key financial backers of the American left, such as George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Public Welfare Foundation (which contributed to the anti-Bush America’s Coming Together).

Mowbray's information is accurate, though decontextualized. The full name of the place in question is the Gustav Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.

Presumably, they're interested in Churchill's work from that angle, and it seems from a quick examination of the books they've honored in the past that they like to showcase work that moves the conversation along. That is to say, pushes the envelope a little.

Setting aside the question of Churchill's work (and we certainly hold no brief for him) and that of the role of academic work and how it ought to provoke thought, there's still the question of the appropriate standard here. Are we to tar and feather groups and individuals who gave grants (no doubt for basic support) to an institution that almost gave an award to the work of a scholar who wrote a single outrageous article several years ago?

What's next? Are we going to burn down the houses of Churchill's neighbors for the radically left-wing act of living next door to the man?

When is enough enough?

[UPDATE II]: Bauer has a correction:
Correction: At one point in yesterday’s report, I inadvertently referenced the Church of Christ along with supporters of the Gustavus Myers Center. I meant to write the “United Church of Christ,” referred to earlier in the report, which is obviously a liberal denomination. The Church of Christ has no connection to the Gustavus Myers Center.

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