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Counterpetition up and running

There is now a counterpetition available here on the subject Frank blogged about here and here. The counterpetition speaks for itself, and I will not recreate its points here. It urges that the APA continue its long-standing practice of accepting ads (without any special derogatory mark, either) from institutions that ask their faculty to refrain from homosexual acts. I urge all philosophers who agree with the counterpetition to sign it.

The counterpetition now has signatures from well-known philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga, Alasdair MacIntyre, Jay Budziszewski, and William Lane Craig. (I can attest to personal communication with Alvin Plantinga and Jay Budziszewski about the petition in which they stated that they signed it. Anyone who wishes to allege fraud in any of these cases, as one commentator at Brian Leiter's blog has done, is welcome to make contact with the philosophers in question and ask them if their signatures are genuine.)

Signatures are not limited to APA members but only to professional philosophers. The petition states, "All professional philosophers, including those affiliated with academic institutions or think tanks, independent scholars, and graduate students, are invited to sign." So if you possess a publication record or an institutional affiliation in Philosophy (including graduate student affiliation), you are a philosopher on this definition, even if you are not an APA member. If you are definitely not a philosopher, it would be better for you not to sign. Please, however, do pass on the information to any philosophers you believe will sign.

A word on anonymous signatures: I myself know or have been able to infer from personal communication who several of the "anonymous" signatories are. It is not correct simply to subtract these as if they did not exist; these are real individuals. My own very strong preference would be for people to sign with actual names (and institutional affiliation, if you have one) rather than as "anonymous." I understand however that vulnerable people in the profession are (ahem) concerned about professional reprisals from those who set up the original petition. If you insist on "signing" as "anonymous," I ask at least that you a) put information about yourself making it clear that you are a real person in philosophy in the comments section, and b) consider stepping forward and identifying yourself later since it is alleged that anonymous signatories are mere sock puppets and not real, separate, people.

Comments (3)

"If you are definitely not a philosopher, it would be better for you not to sign. "

It doesn't look like the original petition restricted its signers in this way.

Perhaps you could set up a parallel counterpetition for friendly laymen?

The original petition restricted its signers even more--to APA members only! They aim to delete your signature if you sign it and aren't an APA member. I don't know if they've been able to keep up with this intent, but that is their plan. In fact, they're making a great crow and cry about the fact that the counterpetition isn't restricted to APA members but only to philosophers. I suppose it would be possible to be a layman and APA member at the same time, but not likely. Why would one? Plenty of philosophers I know would rather not be APA members either, and they are, of course, only going to alienate more philosophers and make sure they don't join or join only for one year if they have to or whatever if they politicize the organization still further.

But please, if you know anyone who is a philosopher--grad student, independent scholar publishing in the field, prof. at small college, etc., etc.--urge him to sign. With his name.

While the logic behind the counter-petition is correct, on further reflection I don't think the petition it opposes is something to be too concerned about - it might even be helpful in the long run.

Consider: Why should a Christian institution be bothered if it is identified as "descriminating against" homosexuals? Admittedly, that's pukey liberal language, and we would have said something rather different, such as "reserves the right to consider character in hiring."

Their language does of course reveal their world view, that any remaining instance of people who disagree with them some how "hurts" them. Any remaining positions for Christians only, such as academic positions for priests or pastors, are stupidly thought to be diminishing their options, when in fact these positions were never an option for them anyway. But regardless, that's the language in which they're bound to describe us, and as long as it doesn't open up any legal liability, and it shouldn't given that it would be a statement by a third party with no real knowledge, I can't see why anyone should cower in fear over it.

The other disjunct of the ultimatum, that the APA should "enforce" their policy and disavow institutions
of which they don't approve, would likewise hardly have any negative effect - on the philosophers and institutions. The few positions available are probably best filled by networking among the like-minded, rather than open advertising. Homosexual candidates, especially self-identified political ones, ought to be warned to stay away from the outset, the better to avoid opportunistic lawsuits.

The third and major disjunct of the ultimatum, that the APA should revoke it's "sexual orientation" language, is also not something with which we need disagree.

Although the intent of the thing is pernicious, in the long-run it would have the salutary effect of making it clear(er) to all that this institution has not somehow remained uncorrupt in a corrupt and dying republic. Christian association with it is therefore only superficial and a matter of convenience. The real implication of the policy against institutions is that it implicitly already indicts individuals, and we should make it clear that if such a policy abtains in one way, it also obtains in the other. In otherwords, they are already just a step away from openly "descriminating" against us anyway. Therefore, the only likely party to be hurt is the APA, who don't deserve our membership or dues, if they persist.

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