Where Will Ben Stein Give a Commencement Address? April 6, 2009

Where Will Ben Stein Give a Commencement Address?

Ben Stein was slated to give the commencement address at the University of Vermont — but he was replaced by Howard Dean. This happened after school officials received complaints from Richard Dawkins and several others who didn’t want to see someone who has no regard for science addressing students who do.

Looks like Stein’s got another commencement gig now.

He’ll be doing the honors at… Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.

Yep. I know. Shocking.

At least UVM said they were bringing him in to speak about economics, not science.

Liberty is proud of the fact that Stein is anti-evolution and against science.

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. worked from a list of about 20 possible commencement speakers over the last several months to select the May 9th speaker, he said during Monday’s convocation.

“This list was compiled after input from seniors, faculty, staff, consultants and board members,” Falwell said. “Student Justin Scott was especially helpful as was online student Jill Hannity, wife of radio talk show host, Sean Hannity. Dr. Elmer Towns, Law School Dean Mat Staver and LU Provost, Dr. Boyd Rist, both vice chancellors, along with board members Mark DeMoss and Jerry Thorpe all played important roles in helping us reach a final decision.”

After the list of 20 speakers was narrowed to three, Falwell polled a group of seniors using text messages to ask which of the three finalists they preferred.

“He has served as a college professor, attorney, author, speechwriter, and even an actor but the most compelling reason for Liberty University’s choice this year is this man’s work in exposing the evils and dangers of Darwinism through the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” Falwell said. “This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and a fitting time to have Mr. Ben Stein bring our commencement address.”

Falwell, Jr. is even trying to show how his school’s selection makes them more tolerant than UVM:

“Like the University of Vermont, the Liberty University community does not share some of Mr. Stein’s theological and political views but, unlike the University of Vermont, I believe Liberty University will welcome Mr. Stein despite those differences,” Falwell said. “His work in exposing how fraudulent science is being used in this country to destroy freedom and advance tyrannical social and political agendas deserves our attention and respect.”

I’d like to know where they disagree. My guess is it wouldn’t be over anything significant.

Certainly, it’s not on Stein’s harmful and nutty views on evolution. Which means this is probably a fair coupling: ignorance meets more ignorance. Liberty students are the only group Stein can get to listen to his repeatedly debunked theories. They deserve him.

Reputable colleges, on the other hand, will find someone else — someone worth listening to.


Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nimitzguy

    I get the pleasure of listening to Mr. Stein speak at a conference in three weeks.

    I am considering wearing a Darwin fish lapel pin…or a UVA button…and go to pose for a picture with him (he’ll be hocking books afterwards).

    Any other ideas are welcomed and I promise to send Hemant the picture to be posted.

  • Richard Wade

    “His work in exposing how fraudulent science is being used in this country to destroy freedom and advance tyrannical social and political agendas deserves our attention and respect.”

    What is Falwell Jr. talking about? By “fraudulent” I’ve learned that he means anything contradicting a literalist reading of scripture. But what does he mean by “tyrannical”? does he mean maybe… disallowing the establishment of his personal theocratic state? Oh how despotic those evil liberals are, insisting on preserving that infernal Constitution, penned by the devil himself!

    These spoiled brats accept all the gifts of science even as they reject the principles and discipline that made those gifts possible. They also accept all the freedom and protection of the Constitution, even as they try to wipe their asses with it.

  • I’d like to know where they disagree. My guess is it wouldn’t be over anything significant.

    I suspect what Falwell was referring to is that Ben Stein is Jewish. Which really makes me hope that someone at Liberty congratulates him on how many souls his wonderful film Expelled is bringing to Christ.

  • Froynlaven

    I’m guessing that they’re going to tiptoe around the whole “jesus is the only way to salvation” thing while the Jewish apologist is in the house.

  • HP

    Yep. Just to reiterate what Ebonmuse (love your blog!) said — Ben Stein is a big ol’ Jewy-Jew-Jew. That is the sum total of their disagreement. Also, Ben Stein controls the banking and entertainment industries, eats the blood of Christian children on unleavened bread, and has a big ol’ hook nose.

    Of course, the fact that conservative Christians are able to overcome their rabid anti-Semitism as long as the Jew in question is a right-winger tells you everything you need to know about their religious beliefs in relation to their political beliefs. If it comes down to a choice between salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ and free-market absolutism, Liberty University knows where it stands.

    …..

    Oh, crap. This is supposed to be “Friendly Atheist.” And here I am being all “angry atheist.”

  • Jeannette

    wow, sad to think that when he hosted “Win Ben Stein’s Money” I actually thought he used his brain.

  • Jen

    I have a perverse desire to see this speech.

  • Christophe Thill

    Isn’t the use of the word “university” protected? Shouldn’t someone who thinks Ben Stein “deserves attention and respect” automatically lose the right to use it?

  • AJ

    I have to admit that I’m very disappointed in some of the responses on this page.

    If you are going to accuse Christians of being uninformed, then how about you not be hypocritical and actually learn a few facts yourself?

    I realize that I’m asking you to spend a few moments takes away from your hate-filled vitriol, but if you bothered to look up Liberty University, you would see that it does not have an anti-Jewish stance. In fact, it has a Center for Judaic Studies (CJS).

    “The Center’s goal is to continue to foster this significant relationship by helping Liberty students develop a positive understanding of the Jewish people by strengthening the relationship between the evangelical Christian community, the Jewish people and Israel,” Price said.

  • I realize that I’m asking you to spend a few moments takes away from your hate-filled vitriol, but if you bothered to look up Liberty University, you would see that it does not have an anti-Jewish stance.

    Ask the average Christian walking around the Liberty campus what is going to happen to Ben Stein’s eternal soul after he dies and they’ll tell you he will be tortured for that eternity in the fires of hell. Just for being Jewish, for following the faith of his family. Sounds pretty damn anti-Jewish to me. Liberty, like all pro-Israel evangelical organizations in this country have very little regard for the Jewish people or the nation of Israel outside of their perceived role in the apocalypse and the second coming.

  • Ben Stein is nutty. At least they have him at a school that supports his backwards views.

  • llewelly

    If Ben Stein ever gets a commencement gig a t a real university, they should be loudly and repeatedly reminded of this gig at ‘Liberty’ University.

  • kerita82

    I find this whole dialogue rather interesting. I’m *hoping* that all who have made such strong statements against Liberty have at least 1) been there or 2) been a student. Yes or no? I would hate to think that so many “openminded” people who have such a strongly, narrow view on a particular institution would have at least been there at one point or another.

    If not, there’s a book out there you might find interesting that came out recently…written by a Brown student named Kevin Roose who went “undercover” at Liberty University. http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Disciple-Semester-Americas-University/dp/044617842X

    I also find it funny how many people are railing against Ben Stein for having the audacity of not agreeing w/ the theory of evolution. For once, it would be refreshing for someone to admit, whether they buy evolution, or any controversial issue out there, or not, that when one strongly takes such a strong opinion against “the other”, they are just as guilty of being as narrowminded/fundamentalist/whatever you want to call it as the very thing they are railing against.

    A little consistency, that’s all I ask.