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Texas Conference Cuts Christian Speaker After Local Group Gets Nasty

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Buzzwords like “tolerance” and “inclusion” are thrown around a lot lately, but more and more it looks like they only apply in one direction.

A communications director for a large church in Texas was recently disinvited from a conference simply because an LGBT-allied group also attending the event refused to tolerate his personal religious views.

To make matters worse, the conference has nothing to do with either religion or gay rights issues, but is a creative design forum for graphics and design professionals.

“David Roark, communications director for The Village Church, a Texas megachurch, was uninvited from the Circles Conference, a three-day event for graphics and user experience designers, because of his religious views,” Fox News reported on Friday.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of AIGA [American Institute of Graphic Arts] refused to partner with Circles Conference if Roark was on the roster,” the report continued.

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It might be one thing if Roark was some outspoken controversial figure or ranting extremist. But by all accounts, the main reason that the oh-so-tolerant group didn’t want him to attend an event about graphic design is because of where he worships.

“We feel it would be hypocritical of us to be involved in the conference and tacitly endorse the policies of The Village Church,” the local AIGA chapter wrote. “This would be a misallocation of our membership resources and a disservice to all members of our community against whom the organization discriminates.”

Ah, yes: Discrimination as a way to fight alleged discrimination. What was that about being “hypocritical?”

Ironically, a promotional banner on AIGA’s own website declares that “we come in all shapes and sizes.” The membership page for the same site promises that “no matter who you are, you’re one of us.”

Unless you happen to a design professional for a church. If that’s who you are, you’re not invited.

“Since the beginning, one goal of Circles Conference has been to bring people of different world views and creative backgrounds together,” conference organizer Ismael Burciaga said, apparently blind to the hypocrisy of his statement.

“While cultivating a collaborative and creative culture is our top priority, we also respect the concerns of our fellow creatives and we will always be open to dialogue and transparency,” he continued, before confirming that the conference had effectively banned Roark from speaking. So much for that dialogue.

It’s worth wondering if the conference would have had the same response if the speaker’s religion hadn’t been Christianity. Consider for a moment if he had happened to be Muslim, or perhaps Hindu. Would a design conference that claims to value diversity ban a speaker for being associated with one of those faiths? It seems unlikely.

Should this disinvitation be considered religious discrimination?

For his part, the disinvited speaker handled the matter gracefully on social media, taking a calm stance that makes the hysteria over his appearance even more ridiculous.

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“I believe that to end division and pursue unity in our world, we must be willing to listen well, enter into dialogue and understand that we can show love, honor and dignity to one another while still disagreeing,” he said, according to Fox News.

“I want the creative community to be a place where individuals of all backgrounds, beliefs and lifestyles can learn from one another, regardless of differences, not a place where we shut each other out,” Roark continued.

We’re rapidly approaching a strange time when words like “tolerance” mean the opposite of what they once did, and left-leaning groups pat themselves on the backs for how many people with different beliefs they can ostracize.

You cannot promote true inclusion by excluding everyone with whom you disagree. Doing so does nothing but create an echo chamber, a vapid place where real diversity of thought is rejected and everyone must parrot the same lines.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” used to be the proud maxim of intellectuals and classical liberals everywhere, but no longer. Up is now down, and diversity is being replaced by group-think.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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