Allen West

College Republicans brought in former Congressman and Lieutenant Colonel Allen West to Gonzaga's Wolff Auditorium on Nov. 3rd. West’s talk was titled, “The Truth about Radical Islamic Terrorism,” where he discussed his views and allowed for a Q&A.

I, an executive board member of the Gonzaga College Republicans, write to object to the seemingly slanderous opinion piece written by a Gonzaga faculty member, Dr. John Sheveland, following our recent hosting of Lt. Col. Allen West. 

In “Open Letter to Muslim Students of Gonzaga University,” Dr. Sheveland maligned the motivations of West, the College Republicans and even the audience members and therefore his opinion deserves a vigorous response. 

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s rejection of West’s qualifications to address the subject of radical Islam. The canard that one must belong to a certain group or have mastered a certain ancient language to be qualified to speak about that group is ridiculous. Also, how does Dr. Sheveland know what West’s language qualifications are? Is he simply assuming?

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s numerous, silly and false “apologies” for acts and attitudes that aren’t his. This is virtue signaling at its best.

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s caricature of the world of Islam based on his own progressive, dangerous ideology. Radical Islam is incredibly violent and needs to be resisted by all men of goodwill everywhere. Perhaps he can apologize for the fruit of this dark ideology as seen at www.thereligionofpeace.com.

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s sly innuendo that dark forces were at work to prevent Muslims from entering the lecture room and asking questions of the speaker. He instead needs to ask the campus administration why a very well-known former U.S. congressman was relegated to such a small venue.  

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s disingenuous criticism of West’s attitudes toward Muslims. Long before Dr. Sheveland was comfortably studying religion and theology at Yale, West was risking his life during combat operations protecting the lives of Muslims in Kuwait against Saddam Hussein’s invading army. He has put his life on the line during combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s bigotry of low expectations concerning Muslims. If a person can be a Muslim and also embrace the basic standards of a civilized society, I don’t feel compelled to flatter them as having accomplished something beautiful.  

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s use of the absurd term, “Islamophobia,” which is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on anyone who would dare to question his progressive beliefs. Obviously, tagging an opponent with this label is a reasonable substitute in his thinking for rational thought and debate.

I reject Dr. Sheveland’s hostility to the free and open exchange of ideas. Like so many tools of the left, he would rather shut down debate than deal with the messy business of having a debate. 

I affirm West’s courage, wisdom and sacrifice in support of our nation’s highest values. I and the College Republicans are honored and grateful to have hosted him during his recent visit to our campus. 

Osborne is a junior a GU majoring in economics and is a member of the College Republicans executive board. 

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