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Black Christian says she was disinvited from Cornell debate for beliefs on ‘biblical sexuality’

Would be like having ‘pro-slavery’ person in debate

Cornell University’s Political Union believes abortion is an appropriate topic for debate. What is not: the limitation of sexual relations to traditional marriage.

That’s according to Jannique Stewart, a speaker with the Life Training Institute who says she was invited to represent the pro-life side in an April 23 debate. (There is no event on the Political Union Facebook page after March 26.)

In a Saturday Facebook post, Stewart wrote that she was first invited in January but disinvited once the organizers asked for her biography and looked into her background:

I was being DISINVITED because of my outspoken beliefs regarding biblical sexuality. Specifically, because of two main beliefs: 1. Sexual activity should be reserved for marriage 2. Natural marriage defined by God as the Union of one man and one woman. YES, it was made very clear to me that I was being DISINVITED invited because of my views.

Stewart said the organizers told her, in the first phone call disinviting her, that giving her a platform on an unrelated subject would be “tantamount to allowing a racist to speak who held pro-slavery and pro- holocaust views.”

This would prevent students from being “able to focus or listen” while she spoke. (The club’s format features a 30-minute talk by the guest speaker, followed by questions from the audience and then a 45-minute moderated “audience debate.”)

The club initially backed down when Stewart accused them of “overtly discriminating” against her for her views, but suggested that Stewart replace herself with a pro-life speaker “who did not hold such views.” She refused, and a few more weeks passed, at which point Stewart said she received another call disinviting her.

Stewart’s allegations got a megaphone three hours later when Princeton University’s Robert George shared her claims. The socially conservative professor and director of Princeton’s Madison Program asked where the “old fashioned, honorable liberals” had gone:

Evidently, no Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Orthodox Jew, or Muslim, who believes what his or her tradition of faith teaches about sex and marriage is permitted to engage in debate at the Cornell Political Union. Even someone who, following thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Musonius Rufus, Xenophanes, and Plutarch, holds to traditional morality on philosophical grounds without the benefit of scriptural revelation, is ineligible to be a debater. If Plato or Aristotle were around today, they would be barred. Think about that for a second.

George called for the “House of Intellect” to stand up to such “bullies” in the contemporary left who slur their opponents as “bigots” and “haters,” so as to shut down debate.

Stewart told PJ Media she didn’t have documented evidence of the disinvitation conversations with the Political Union because they happened over the phone. She only identified the club representative as a woman. Stewart told the woman that comparing her views to pro-slavery was a “deliberate distortion of the biblical position and is an attempt to silence a conservative and biblical view.”

Her organization Love Protects is a traditional Christian ministry, teaching “abstinence until marriage” as well as opposition to pornography and the “biblical view” on LGBTQ issues.

The College Fix has asked the Political Union to respond to the claims. A commenter on Stewart’s Facebook page, Cornell alum Brad Smallridge, accused her of lying about why she was disinvited but has not given an alternate explanation.

Read Stewart’s post and PJ Media coverage.

MORE: Political Union given $1,700 security fee demand to host Tea Party activist

IMAGE: Life Training Institute/Vimeo

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.