NEW YORK – Conservative bestselling author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza will participate in a rematch debate Wednesday night with President Obama’s Chicago neighbor and colleague Bill Ayers, the founder of the Weather Underground, the leftist group that aimed to overthrow the U.S. government in the 1970s.
The event Wednesday – which focuses on the theme of American exceptionalism – is part of a national speaking tour of college campuses by D’Souza arranged by Young America’s Foundation, YAF.
Meanwhile, D’Souza faces a free-speech challenge on Feb. 24 at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, which is refusing to open his YAF-sponsored lecture to the public.
See D’Souza’s works at the WND Superstore, including “America: Imagine The World Without Her,” “2016: Obama’s America,” “God Forsaken,” “Roots of Obama’s Rage” and “What’s So Great About Christianity.”
Ayers’s Weather Underground, which he co-founded with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was blamed for dozens of bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructure of the U.S.
Ayers previously called the Weather Underground “an American Red Army” and said the objective was to: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”
In his memoir, he wrote: “Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.”
In a 2001 interview with the New York Times, Ayers said: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Accompanying the article was a photograph of him stepping on an American flag.
As D’Souza prepared for his rematch with Ayers, an old video of a left-leaning student challenging D’Souza during a YAF-sponsored speech in a packed lecture at Amherst College resurfaced on the Internet and went viral.
See the video:
Gonzaga shuts the doors
Officials at Gonzaga, a Catholic university, say the public should be barred from D’Souza’s upcoming speech because his message is “contradictory” to the institution’s “social justice mission,” explained Emily Jashinsky, YAF program officer for public relations, on the group’s website.
“Despite opening events to the public on ‘Islamophobia and Xenophobia,’ Native American mascots, the ‘International Day of Tolerance,’ a pro-Palestinian play, and more, Gonzaga officials claim D’Souza is a ‘nasty guy’ and do not want to the public to question why he was speaking at the university,” Jashinsky wrote.
Jashinsky told WND that Gonzaga had informed the YAF that D’Souza’s speech would be open only to students or faculty members who present identification.
Jashinsky quoted a student activist at Gonzaga who explained: “I was told that the reason that his speech is not allowed to be open to the public is because, through [the Director of Community and Public Relation’s] research, she determined that Dinesh D’Souza’s beliefs are contradictory to Gonzaga’s ‘social justice’ mission and they do not want the public to question why the school brought him in. For example, he is ‘homophobic’ and ‘anti-immigration.'”
After the publication of this article, Gonzaga sent WND a statement quoting Colleen Vandenboom, the assistant dean of student involvement and leadership, who explained that that the university’s events are primarily for the students.
“While we are very much a part of the Spokane, Inland Northwest and global communities, our events at their core are intended to advance an exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good,” she said. “We strive to invite the public to many student events, but as a practical matter we need to have reasonable limits.”
Vandenboom said the university has “heard from those who advocate Mr. D’Souza’s visit with the College Republicans be open to everyone, and we’ve heard from those who believe he should not be allowed on campus.”
“We believe this approach where members of the University community can hear Mr. D’Souza, ask him questions and have an open dialogue in a supportive setting strikes the right balance – particularly for students,” she said.
D’Souza told WND that Gonzaga’s actions don’t make sense.
“What makes the Gonzaga incident so hard to understand is that my speech in this series of speeches for the YAF is a patriotic speech designed to be an affirmation of American ideals delivered from my perspective, being a legal immigrant from India that has adopted America as his home,” D’Souza said.
“What it looks like is that you’ve got Bernie Sanders’ acolytes sitting in the administration building at Gonzaga University.”
He said Gonzaga officials seem to have no familiarity with his work.
“My work on America comes out of my immigrant background and in no sense of the word can I properly be described as ‘anti-immigrant,’” he said.
“The Gonzaga University administrators evidently also say I am ‘homophobic,’ but same-sex marriage is not a subject I write about,” D’Souza said. “I don’t understand why Gonzaga University is trying to shield the community against what I plan to say. What is Gonzaga shielding the Spokane community from – my patriotic defense of America, or maybe my views that America is an exceptional country?”
He noted Gonzaga is a Catholic university and he is a Christian speaker.
“I doubt that Gonzaga University administrators would be shutting my speech to the public if I were a famous atheist wanting to express my views on campus,” he said.
D’Souza noted Gonzaga is not even sponsoring the speech, arguing student organizations have a right to use college facilities.
“Gonzaga University is not being held responsible for what I say in the speech, and I’m not planning to say anything that is not mainstream patriotic,” he said.
D’Souza’s campus series, which began in September, has included Ripon College in Wisconsin, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. After the debate at the University of Michigan Wednesday, he will appear at Liberty University on Feb. 11, Iowa State University on Feb. 17 and Bucknell University on Feb. 18.
“It’s fair to expect that Dinesh will encounter hostility from leftists at most of the schools he will be visiting in coming weeks,” Jashinsky told WND.
“Radical leftist opposition to the principles of free speech is building on campuses,” she said. “We’re hopeful that Dinesh’s bold and articulate promotion of conservative ideas will disrupt the culture of political correctness on the campuses he visits.”