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E-Pluribus | January 25, 2023
Diversity, equity, and inclusion and religion; climate cultism; and how Harry Potter can get you fired.
A round-up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Eboo Patel: DEI’s Religion Problem
Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith America, has been talking about the absence of a meaningful inclusion of religion in many diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for a while now. The recent incident at Hamline University regarding images of Muhammad, Patel writes at The Chronicle of Higher Education, is just the latest example where a little knowledge (and common sense) could go a long way.
The United States is the most religiously diverse nation in human history, and the most religiously devout nation in the Western Hemisphere, so virtually every campus can expect to face conflicts around religious diversity. Will campuses be prepared to turn such controversies into opportunities for learning about the wideness of the world?
I believe DEI officers have a special role to play here. Religious-diversity issues do not fall neatly into the categories of “privilege” and “oppression” that are so often used to understand race, gender, and sexuality. Instead, they are more likely to be issues where the legitimate expression of one person’s core identity can feel like a violation of another person’s core identity.
When a Muslim tells a Christian that Jesus is not the son of God, but rather a revered prophet, he is not trying to oppress the Christian; he is simply articulating a central Muslim belief. And when a Christian tells a Muslim that Jesus saves people who believe in him properly, she is not colonizing anyone; she’s just being a Christian.
Read it all here.
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Zion Lights: Climate Activism Has a Cult Problem
Zion Lights, a member of the radical climate change group Extinction Rebellion, is not the first to liken climate activism to a religion or even a cult. But Lights is speaking, and writing at The Free Press, as an insider. Lights tells at length of her experiences with the climate change community that finally brought her to realize what she had become a part of.
I have two children. And I believe deeply in fixing climate change and saving our planet—I’ve dedicated my life to that cause. But in no universe do I believe that terrifying people with images of rape and cigarette burnings will do anything other than paralyze exactly the people we want to activate.
Here’s the truth: if we stopped using oil today, thousands of people would be thrust into an even worse energy crisis, and the wheels of society would stop turning. We do need to replace fossil fuels—but with real alternatives, not the radical erasure Roger wants.
Here’s another truth: Just Stop Oil has nothing to do with saving the environment or waking people up to the climate emergency. It’s about one man, his ambitions for revolution and power, and the innocent children he has brainwashed to do his bidding. One day, I hope the spell can be broken.
Read it all.
Caroline Downey: Video-Game Company Caves to Trans Activist’s Online Pressure Campaign, Fires Targeted Employee
In a story all too common in recent years, Kara Lynne, a manager at a video-game company, found herself the target of an online mob that ultimately cost Lynne her job. Caroline Downey at National Review reports how yet another J. K. Rowling-adjacent person fell victim to radical trans activism.
Kara Lynne, 30, believes that her public endorsement of the Harry Potter game caught the attention of the pseudonymous Twitter account Purple Tinker. According to the Washington Post, the account is run by Jessica Blank, a transgender woman and the founder of BronyCon, an annual convention for adult fans of My Little Pony, an animated children’s television series and toy line.
“There is a huge, huge discourse going on in the gaming sphere in which a lot of people are saying, ‘If you support this game in any way, you’re also supporting J.K. Rowling,” Kara Lynne said. “I have this feeling that this is kind of where it stemmed from.”
Combing through the archives of Kara Lynne’s Twitter, Blank found a seven-year-old tweet criticizing transgender-inclusive bathroom legislation and amplified it as an example of bigotry. Kara Lynne’s tweet read: “If you think the # of trans crying about using a bathroom is higher than the perves using the excuse, then you are what is wrong with the world.”
[. . .]
Kara Lynne noted that political content doesn’t even show up on her Twitter news feed because she engages with it so little. “I honestly forgot that I was following most of them,” she said.
She sees herself as a casualty in her employer’s attempt to minimize negative publicity — an approach that she believes will ultimately backfire as the gaming public wakes up to the toxicity of online political conformism.
“They didn’t want the bad publicity, and I can understand that. Unfortunately, I feel like that backfired on them.”
Read the whole thing.
An update from Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression on the case of a Texas journalist arrested for asking a question (with a December tweet for context):
Jonathan Chait and Matt Yglesias on Elon Musk’s acquiescence to India’s government:
And finally, also from India, speaking truth to power . . . and the power gets shut off: