There has been much discussion of late about hate speech on the UW-Madison campus and in the current presidential debate. In light of this, I wrote the following email to the Chancellor expressing my concern that the University has invited Pussy Riot to speak on campus.
This is why even though I have never been paid, I have been involved with campus ministry for the last 25 years. The Church’s intermittent presence, or worse absence, from college campuses is (in my view) a major reason we lose so many young adults.
We have to start funding campus ministry.
Dear Chancellor Blank,
I’m writing to bring to your attention that “Pussy Riot” will be speaking at the University Thursday evening, November 17 (here).
As an Orthodox priest and as the chaplain for Orthodox students at UW, I find this to be deeply offensive. Pussy Riot is an anti-Orthodox hate group who desecrated an Orthodox Church. I find it inconceivable that the University would invite a racist group to speak. Why then is an anti-Christian group provided a forum?
I appreciate that neither you nor your office had any involvement in the invitation. And while I understand that Pussy Riot has a First Amendment right to speak, I want to protest in the strongest possible terms their presence on campus.
It is simply inappropriate for a hate group to be sponsored by the University. That this was done without consultation, or even notice, to the Orthodox Christian community on campus merely compounds the offense.
Fr Gregory Jensen
Orthodox Christian Fellowship