Once upon a time, Worcester College Oxford was a place that proudly believed in free speech. Even in my student days, it offered sanctuary to those such as the great historian Norman Stone whose conservative views were considered as appalling and depraved by the Guardian readers who dictate what can be thought and said in the City of lost causes. How times change. Today Worcester has attacked the one minority considered by the liberal elite to be below the Untermensch of working class males, that is to say Christians.
Worcester hosted a conference organized by a group called Christian Concern. Around 100 believers in the old ways and values which are so thoroughly reviled by the liberal elites attended and the conference seems to have been a happy event with not one person from Worcester complaining.
However, someone from the Oxford University Students Union (OUSU) complained to college Provost David Isaac that students were worried that the conference was Islamophobic as it featured a discussion on the nature of Islam and also that some speakers were pro-conversion therapy.
Read that carefully. Someone not at the college and who had not attended the event notes that discussing another religion is on the agenda so insists that students might be offended by Islamaphobia of which there is no evidence. And some folks attending the event think that homosexuality is wrong. Given that more than half of British Muslims reckon homosexuality should be illegal, I guess the Students Union will be banning the Islamic society too as some of its members must almost certainly not be that keen on the LGBT community. But that will never happen and nor should it happen. However, Christians are there to be kicked. Other religious minorities – who are often less tolerant than followers of Jesus – are all beyond reproach.
In the old days, Worcester would have pointed out that the Students Union had no evidence of Islamaphobia or homophobia being aired and that it is unlikely that anyone who heard what was said would have been offended and that folks were entitled to their beliefs and free speech must be protected.
Instead, without any evidence of what was said to an audience where not one person complained, Isaac acknowledged the “distress” caused to students by hosting the Christian Concern training camp. Isaac said the profits from renting the room would be used for “diversity initiatives.” That does not, for the avoidance of doubt, mean fighting to get more of the most underrepresented group at Oxford (working class boys of all colours) into Worcester unless they can show that they are higher on the pyramid of victimhood by being gay, of colour or, best of all, by identifying as being a woman, preferably of colour and differently-abled.
Worcester has promised to carry out an urgent review of its booking process to ensure that no Christians are allowed to meet in its grounds or rooms again lest this gives offence to folks anywhere in Oxford. I guess when folks like Issac start organizing the book burning, the bible will be an early volume chucked onto the pyre.