Campus News

Student org to bring controversial talk show host to campus

Image By: Andrew Bahl and Andrew Bahl

A UW-Madison conservative student organization will bring political commentator Dennis Prager, a talk show host who has drawn controversy over remarks criticizing gay marriage and the AIDS crisis, to campus next week to discuss Judeo-Christian Morality.

The event — hosted by Young Americans for Freedom — is scheduled highlight the foundational principles of Judeo-Christian morality including the Ten Commandments and how they have impacted the construction of Western culture.

The group selected Prager — a conservative radio and talk show host — to speak at the event due to his knowledge of religion and international relations, according to group chair Abby Streu.

Streu said YAF has not touched on the “traditional values” of Judeo-Christianity in the past. This inspired the topic of the event.

“We wanted to explore that topic and bring someone to the campus who would raise more questions and initiate discussion on it,” Streu said.

Streu added bringing Prager to campus will help expose students to issues of religious morality, something the group thinks is lacking on the UW-Madison campus.

Prager generated controversy in 2006 for criticizing U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, for using a Quran in his swearing in ceremonies because it “undermines American civilization.”

He also has drawn fire for comments suggesting legalized gay marriage could lead to allowing incest and polygamy, as well as remarks that the “heterosexual AIDS crisis” was “entirely manufactured by the left.”

While there have been some dissenting voices from the Madison community regarding the event, Streu said she has not received pushback from other campus organizations.

The group is not stranger to opposition. YAF hosted conservative speaker Ben Shapiro in 2016, leading to a disruption of the speech which influenced new regulations that can punish students for disrupting speeches.

“We haven’t had an event yet where people haven’t protested us,” Streu said. “I wouldn’t be surprised it happened [again].”

Despite the prospect of conflict, Streu said her organization is excited for the talk.

“We’re really excited to actually hear from him in person because he has specifically [influenced] a lot of members in my organization,” Streu said.

The event will take place on April 25 in Sterling Hall.

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