Engaging the Oklahoma Legislature on Its Decision to Investigate Richard Dawkins' Free Speech
By GREG LUKIANOFF
Added: Tue, 19 May 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Back in March, I uncovered that members of the Oklahoma state legislature had launched an investigation of a March 6 speech at the University of Oklahoma by noted evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. The investigation was preceded by an attempt by another Oklahoma legislator to pass two bills condemning Dawkins and proclaiming the theory of evolution as "an unproven and unpopular theory." Another representative, Rebecca Hamilton, followed up with a post-speech letter to the university demanding all e-mails and correspondence relating to the speech; a list of all money paid to Dawkins, public or private; and the total cost to the university, including, among other things, security fees, advertising, and even "faculty time spent promoting this event."
On March 23, I wrote the entire Oklahoma legislature explaining to them that such investigations have been rightfully deemed unconstitutional since the heyday of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. I asked them directly: "Does the Oklahoma House of Representatives intend to pursue this matter any further? Given the intense national and international interest in this case and because it implicates the most crucial of constitutional values, I request a response as soon as possible."
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