Oxford Students Want World’s Top Natural Law Scholar Fired for Religion

Students at Oxford University have launched a petition calling on the university to remove John Finnis, an emeritus professor of law and philosophy, from his academic position because of Finnis’ purported “discriminatory conduct.” The petition, which has garnered hundreds of signatures, claims the 78-year-old Australian “has a long record of extremely discriminatory views against many groups of disadvantaged people,” and “is known for being particularly homophobic and transphobic.”

Among other things, Finnis is accused of professing that “gay sex is like bestiality—having sex with animals;” that “being gay is ‘evil’ and ‘destructive;’” and that “approving of gay sex is like approving of killing innocent people in a terrorist massacre.” The Oxford Student published Finnis’ response to the charges:

The petition travesties my position, and my testimony in American constitutional litigation. Anyone who consults the Law Faculty website and follows the links in the petition can see the petition’s many errors. I stand by all these writings. There is not a ‘phobic’ sentence in them. The 1994 essay promotes a classical and strictly philosophical moral critique of all non-marital sex acts and has been republished many times, most recently by Oxford University Press in the third volume of my Collected Essays.

. . .

The Oxford petition seeks Finnis’ removal not for anything he has done as a professor, but based solely on his published work. On this point, the petition is clear, noting the university’s harassment policy is unhelpful: “Although it identifies the aims of promoting ‘a positive environment’ of fairness and respect, ‘free from harassment’, it does not provide guidance on how to deal with professors who target disadvantaged people more generally (e.g. through their published work).” . . .

First, the petition signatories view academic research, including scholarship published in top-tier journals and the upper echelon of university presses, as harassment. Second, the petition makes clear that the student signatories view natural law and the precepts of the Catholic church and traditional Christian churches as adopting homophobic, transphobic, and “extremely discriminatory views.” Third, the petition’s reference to awaiting a “person-to-person instance of harassment or victimisation,” exposes the students’ view that a classroom lecture that includes Finnis’ scholarship would be verboten. (Read more from “Oxford Students Want World’s Top Natural Law Scholar Fired for Religion” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE