A speaking engagement featuring gay conservative James Merse was cancelled by the New York University College Republicans because of his association with "an anti-Islamic hate group,” according to the organization.
Fox News reports that Merse, a former Progressive who is now a Daily Caller contributor and Trump supporter, had reached out to colleges and universities in the northern New Jersey area offering to speak for free. The NYU College Republicans responded and scheduled Merse to speak at a club meeting today -- until he received a message Monday night informing him that the group decided to cancel based on his association with ACT for America, the nationwide grassroots organization founded by outspoken anti-sharia patriot Brigitte Gabriel.
The club's message to Merse read, in part:
Hey James, unfortunately as we have a lot of press on our a-- right now, along with the administration (due to recent white nationalist events held on campus) and upon review of one of your group memberships (ACT for America) we thought it would be safer to not go through with this speaker event.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Merse told Fox News. “It’s just another instance of College Republicans not standing up for free speech and not standing up for each other.”
A NYU College Republican spokesperson told Fox News that "[t]he leadership decided it would be best not to associate with an organization that is widely regarded to be an anti-Islamic hate group.”
Widely-regarded as a hate group? By whom?
“Our club leadership did our own research on ACT for America," the spokesperson continued, "and came to its decision using multiple sources, including the [Southern Poverty Law Center], Anti-Defamation League, multiple news articles from numerous sources and comments made by the group’s leadership.”
Ah, the SPLC. Now it begins to make perfect sense, since the SPLC is a leftist hate group that demonizes conservatives like David Horowitz and Daniel Greenfield as anti-Muslim haters. It has been given legitimacy by a complicit leftist media as an authority on which organizations in the country must be ostracized.
Merse's perception of Islam was shaped by his experience as the son of a 9/11 cleanup worker. As a boy he saw his father come home "smelling like burnt hair and dusty chalk," and it inspired him to speak out as an adult. “That day had a really big impact on me as a 9 year old, and it really shifted my thinking,” he said. “These Islamic terrorists really hate us.” Indeed, but the Southern Poverty Law Center believes that the likes of Horowitz, Greenfield, and Gabriel are the real haters.
NYU spokesman John Beckman sent a statement to Fox News, which defended the school's commitment to free speech: “The free exchange of ideas is a bedrock principle at NYU, and if students or faculty members invite a speaker to campus, that speaker will be permitted to speak, other than in the rare instances in which there is a threat to public safety,” the statement read. “It is worth noting that last year, campus groups invited Charles Murray, Gavin McInnes, and Lucian Wintrich, and all of them spoke at NYU.”
Nonetheless, Merse called the NYU College Republicans “irresponsible” and he said he believes the group caved to political correctness.
It's disappointing, to put it mildly, that the NYU College Republicans took the SPLC condemnation of ACT for America as gospel. Merse says he’s “very proud” to be a part of Gabriel's organization. “I stand against Islamic sharia and that’s why I joined.” As a former lefty and an openly gay conservative, his voice can make a valuable contribution to the national conversation regarding the Islamic threat.