Samford University disinvites pro-abortion historian speaker

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A Christian university in Alabama has disinvited a Pulitzer-winning speaker from the president’s inauguration ceremony after outraged students said his pro-choice beliefs contradict the institution’s values. 

Historian Jon Meacham had been invited to speak about social injustice at the Samford University president inauguration on Wednesday, November 3. 

But his appearance at a Planned Parenthood event in Texas – where abortions are banned after six weeks – sparked outrage among anti-abortion students, who called into question his fitness to speak at the Baptist university.  

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A petition that collected more than 1,000 signatures forced president Beck Taylor to withdraw the invitation. The petition argued that the invitation was ‘not only disappointing but alarming for the future of Samford – the top-ranked Christian University in Alabama.’

President Beck Taylor announced on Wednesday that withdrawing Meacham’s invitation was the best course of action because the matter was now ‘too divisive.’

A Christian university in Alabama has disinvited a Pulitzer-winning speaker from the president's inauguration ceremony after students contended his pro-abortion beliefs contradict the institution's values

A Christian university in Alabama has disinvited a Pulitzer-winning speaker from the president’s inauguration ceremony after students contended his pro-abortion beliefs contradict the institution’s values 

The petition argued that the invitation was 'not only disappointing but alarming for the future of Samford - the top-ranked Christian University in Alabama'

The petition argued that the invitation was ‘not only disappointing but alarming for the future of Samford – the top-ranked Christian University in Alabama’

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A petition that collected more than 1,000 signatures forced president Beck Taylor to withdraw the invitation for Jon Meacham to speak at the inauguration on November 3

A petition that collected more than 1,000 signatures forced president Beck Taylor to withdraw the invitation for Jon Meacham to speak at the inauguration on November 3

The change.org petition read: ‘Mr. Meacham is involved with raising money in support of an organization that does not value life in the same way the Christian faith does.

‘As Samford is the top-ranked Christian University in Alabama, the invitation for Mr. Meacham to speak is not only disappointing but alarming for the future of Samford.’

The petition went on to highlight Meacham’s ties with Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health services in the US.

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The historian has attended and spoken at many events organized by the non-profit.

‘Jon Meacham is significantly involved with the Planned Parenthood organization. He has spoken at their fundraising events, his book is used for the Planned Parenthood fundraiser, and overall his beliefs and core values do not align with those of Samford University, as it is a Southern Baptist institution,’ it concluded. 

Taylor, who became president of the university in July, tried to distance the institution from Meacham's pro-abortion beliefs

Taylor, who became president of the university in July, tried to distance the institution from Meacham’s pro-abortion beliefs

Taylor said he valued discourse and was disappointed by having to cancel Meacham's speech as it was going to be merely focused on social injustices

Taylor said he valued discourse and was disappointed by having to cancel Meacham’s speech as it was going to be merely focused on social injustices

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While Taylor, who became president of the university in July, tried to distance the institution from Meacham’s pro-choice beliefs, he said he valued discourse and was disappointed by having to cancel Meacham’s speech as it was going to be merely focused on social injustices.

‘Some in our community have assumed erroneously that Samford’s invitation by extension endorses any perspectives or viewpoints Mr. Meacham may have about the sanctity of life and abortion rights,’ Taylor said.

He added: ‘Although I am disappointed by the narrative that has combined important conversations about pro-life issues and Mr. Meacham’s planned appearance at Samford, it is vitally important to me that next week’s events unify and draw our community together to celebrate the history and future of Samford University, a place we love and for which we all care deeply.’

Meacham has written about several presidents including Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush

It was his Andrew Jackson's biography American Lion that earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Meacham has written about several presidents – including Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush – but it was his Andrew Jackson’s biography American Lion that earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

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Those who signed the petition shared their agreement with Meacham’s invitation to speak at the university.

‘Samford leadership proudly states that their decisions on ALL matters are guided first and foremost by the Bible and God’s teachings,’ Kirk Becker commented on the petition’s website.

‘The decision to invite this man to speak considering he supports Planned Parenthood and their 350,000+ annual abortions runs completely contrary to this commitment,’ she added.

Before withdrawing the invitation, the university described Meacham as a skilled orator with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs.

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In a statement on Friday, the university announced that Meacham will be scheduled for a conference at another date at the university,

‘Mr. Meacham, who is a noted historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer, has been invited to our campus to highlight his work in analyzing the current state of civility and discourse in our country. We look forward to hosting him at a later date,’ the statement read.

Meacham has written about several presidents – including Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush – but it was his Andrew Jackson’s biography American Lion that earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. 

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