Polish Catholic University Cancels Conference on Homosexuality After Leftist Paper Accuses Speaker o
By Hilary White
WARSAW, May 8, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An American psychologist and researcher who specializes in the medical and psychological harms of homosexual activity, has been turned away from speaking venues in Poland after attacks by a left-leaning newspaper.
Dr. Paul Cameron, the founder of the Family Research Institute (FRI), has said he is “deeply disappointed” that Warsaw’s Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University had bowed to political censorship and cancelled not only his lecture but an entire conference on homosexuality this week.
After the liberal newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza published an article calling it “homophobic” for hosting Cameron, the university cancelled the conference titled “Homosexuality from scientific and religious points of view”. Gazeta Wyborcza is the paper that last year was instrumental in a prominent case in which a 14-year old girl was pressured by a feminist activist to abort her baby.
Shortly after Dr. Cameron arrived in Poland this week, Gazeta Wyborcza published a second page article accusing him of misrepresentation of science, and portraying him as a bigot and unreliable lecturer. The paper called Dr. Cameron “a fierce homophobe” and openly called for the cancellation of the conference, suggesting that whoever might attend would be guilty of offending homosexuals. The paper suggested that “international human rights conventions which Poland signed surely forbid these kinds of speaking events from taking place”.
On the day Cameron was to appear, the university announced that the conference had been cancelled. Professor Marek Kowalski, Vice-Rector for Teaching Policy and Student Affairs, announced the cancellation, saying he did not want to damage the image of the university by having it labelled “homophobic”. At the same time, he said he regretted that the media had deprived students of their academic freedom.
The conference had been organised by the university’s law students’ society in coordination with the Association of Christian Culture, a Catholic family group. Organisers told LifeSiteNews.com that Dr. Cameron was later able to give his lecture “peacefully” without disturbance and that media publicity had raised the profile of the talk.
While organizers were able to find alternate venues, Dr. Cameron said in a television interview, “You would think that a Catholic university would honour the right to speak. And particularly to speak the truth about a controversial issue.”
Comparing his experience with that of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, whose chance of winning the title of Miss America was obstructed by a homosexual extremist, Cameron said, “Here [homosexual activists] are able to censure what is said on a Catholic university campus.”
“When any group imposes censorship, when any group doesn’t want to hear counter facts, doesn’t want to hear counter opinion, you know there’s something wrong. There is something fundamentally wrong with any group that has to censor in order to stay in control.”
He said the facts he was presenting were “very uncomfortable” for those who protect and promote homosexuality as normal. “After all,” he said, “those who engage in homosexuality do terribly dangerous things. They disturb society. And the things they do are so medically contra-indicated, so susceptible to the acquisition and spread of disease, that they cost us all money, and of course they cost themselves their lives.”
At the time of the cancellation, the student organisers quickly founded the “Students Committee for Academic Freedom of Speech” to protest and re-book Dr. Cameron’s appearances. The group held a press conference in which they decried the efforts by homosexualists and the leftist media to suppress the freedom of the university to explore controversial subjects. They said that they feared communist-style censorship was back in Poland, pointing to the lack of objection when universities host extreme leftist or communist speakers.
Polish media also broadly publicized the scandal. A weekly television talk show, “Warto Rozmawiac,” Worth Talk, that airs live on national television, devoted half of their time on Wednesday to the issue, featuring Dr. Cameron and cancelling the appearance of several major politicians.
The Catholic archbishop of Warsaw, Kazimierz Nycz, was quoted saying, “Everybody talks about autonomy, freedom, democracy, freedom of expression, but there is a group of issues, which in practice are excluded from this freedom, they are excluded from the public discourse.”
“Yielding to political correctness is not a good thing,” Nycz said, adding that he would not intervene, as he respects the autonomy of the university. He said it may be time to talk more about the problem of limiting freedom of speech.
The Family Research Institute focuses on empirical research showing the medical, social and psychological harms of homosexual behaviour as well as those of drug abuse and social policies encouraging sexual promiscuity.
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